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The curious case of the Anderson Stuart building

The (semi) true account of Erin Jordan’s ghostbuster investigation into USyd’s eerie Anderson Stuart building.

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The Anderson Stuart Building, the University’s version of the infamous Bran Castle, is known to be haunted.

Allow me to present the facts: Thomas Peter Anderson Stuart was an unhappy man. As an only child and natural academic, he was thought to have lived a solitary life right into adulthood. When he was studying, he was labelled a recluse. His doctoral chums did not share in his enthusiasm, and dubbed the building, his pride and joy, as ‘Andy’s Folly’. His situation at home was equally dire. Anderson Stuart was a strict, distant father. His marriage was not a happy union and tragically ended when his wife passed in 1886. He died after discovering a tumour in his abdomen. Does his soul haunt the halls of his namesake building?

Three nights ago, I was browsing the depths of the internet, when I lost my way in a thicket of Reddit threads, and stumbled upon some shocking testimonies:

“I generally just get kinda creeped out whenever i’m in that building,” one witness confessed. “I guess there could be something there, idk.”

“[T]he wifi is fucked, probably haunted or some shit,” another victim revealed.

“There is a ghost that gropes PhD students stuck studying in the labs at night…” said a third.

I left Reddit shaken, and emboldened, and so  took it upon myself to investigate.

Patsy*, a sidekick of sorts, accompanied me on the investigation. Patsy had long been perturbed by the “weird vibes” coming from the building. She was new to the business of ghost hunting, but what she lacked in know-how she made up for in dedication to the cause.

Arriving at nightfall, which was technically still light because of daylight savings, we found ourselves mysteriously locked out of a high-security building. Patsy and I examined the fortifications for weaknesses; there were none to speak of, except perhaps that of our own minds.

“We have several options,” I explained to Patsy as I drew a grand plan in the dirt with a fine, pointy stick.  Patsy stubbornly opposed to all: the suction-cup wall climb, tunnelling with spoons, the makeshift trebuchet. We settled on simply walking into the building with a professor or student.

I took a swig of liquid courage from my Kmart water bottle and steeled myself for what was to come.

Quite suddenly, a pair of students appeared – this was our chance. We shuffled into the building after them, and Patsy and I quickly set about searching for signs of ghostly interference.

Ignoring the better judgement we had acquired from watching many ghost hunting films, we decided to explore the creepiest place first – the basement.

We descended slowly, resting at each step, craning our necks in an attempt to not actually descend further. Upon catching a glimpse of a row of refrigerators, and imagining the horrors that must lie within, we promptly trotted back upstairs.

Next, Patsy led us upstairs. As a precaution, we took some holy water from our kit and sprinkled all over ourselves in case a of a–

“You shouldn’t be here!” a deep voice echoed throughout the corridor.

We flinched, gulped, and braced ourselves to enter the spirit world. In a bizarre turn of events, the door flung open and what can only be described as an ‘angry dude with an iPod’ emerged.

And so, only twenty minutes into the investigation, we found ourselves banished from the premises.

Desperate to interact with a spectre of some sort before starvation set in, Patsy and I decided to change tack. We would have to communicate with the ghosts of Anderson Stuart from outside the walls.

Against our better judgement, we attempted to construct a ouija board. After attempting to carve the alphabet on the back of a chip packet, but finding it too greasy to be workable, we ventured to Fisher Library to fashion a ouija board from scrap paper.

Upon returning, we laid out our ouija board on the steps of Anderson Stuart. We substituted the séance candle for the torch setting on my phone, and clasped our hands together, chanting something we looked up on Wikipedia. Mixed in with our chants was the oddly comforting sound of heavy metal music, wafting over from Manning Bar.

The planchette, which was made from a bottle-top, started to move. C-A-W.

“Caw?” I repeated.

C-A-W, C-A-W.

“Caw caw?” I repeated.

We appeared to have made contact with Anderson Stuart himself — albeit,  in his raven form. He seemed angry.

Unable to understand his cooing and cawing, Patsy and I severed the psychic link with the professor and fled from the university grounds.

We were forced to conclude that we will only ever learn the secrets of the Anderson Stuart Building if we opt to donate our bodies to the medical building.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.