Is Chopticon High School Haunted?
A Ghost Haunts Chopticon High...
About a year ago I wrote an article on the Ten Most Haunted Schools on the US East Coast, and it got quite a response due to a particular section written about a ghost haunting Chopticon High School. I am an alumni of Chopticon High School, and while I went to Chopticon High School I would hear many stories of a female ghost that was said to be the unsettled spirit of a woman who once taught at Chopticon High School...a woman by the name of Mrs. Heater.
The story varies from person to person, and many of the accounts told debate the true occurrence surrounding the untimely and tragic death of Mrs. Heater, but one thing mostly everyone agrees on is the fact that Chopticon High School is most definitely haunted by someone...or something. Is the ghost that haunts Chopticon High School the ghost of Mrs. Heater or is this "hogwash" as some might claim?
Mrs. Heater's Death
Mrs. Heater was a teacher at Chopticon High School. The topic that she taught is debated by the Chopticon High alumni now, but she was either an English teacher or a Business teacher for Chopticon High back in the 1980s. Mrs. Heater was a teacher that was well-loved by much of the student population, and everyone knew who she was. When she was murdered, the student body and surrounding citizens in the town were quite shaken...not to mention her family was thrown into a battle of emotions and imminent mourning.
A man by the name of Lester Broome (no it's not a made-up name as some claim) was Mrs. Heater's murderer. Apparently Mrs. Heater was at Chopticon High School one day when a disturbed individual took a knife to Mrs. Heater...taking her life. One source says that she was working at the school during the summer of 1983 when this Lester Broome who was a part of some work-release or handicapped program of some sort was cutting grass at the school. The story goes that Mr. Broome hated Mrs. Heater and wanted to take her out...and so he did. Some say that he stabbed her many times and dragged her body from a classroom to the nearest bathroom on the second floor. Other sources say that he tried to hide her body in the ceiling of the bathroom.
Where were the other teachers that day? Didn't anyone hear this going on or see something strange? One Chopticon High alumni says that a music teacher named Mr. Jester was also at Chopticon High that day but was in a totally different section of the building, thereby disabling him from hearing any of the activity. When Mr. Jester went to close up the school and check on Mrs. Heater, he found a trail of blood leading from Mrs. Heater's classroom to the bathroom. That was where Mr. Jester found Mrs. Heater's body.
Lester Broome was tried as a competent adult for the murder of Mrs. Heater and is apparently still in jail to this day. Some references state that Lester Broome's lawyers tried to get him off of the charges with an insanity plea...but that plea was said to have been thrown out by the judges.
Now, I have to stop here and say that I truly feel sorry for the victim in this story and her family and my heart goes out to them, even to this day. My stepsister knew Mrs. Heater's children well and confirms that this story is indeed truth...and a very sad truth at that.
Now legends and stories circulate St. Mary's County and Southern Maryland about a very haunted Chopticon High School. Could these hauntings be the ghost of Mrs. Heater? While we'd like to think that Mrs. Heater is in a better place, it is sometimes true that ghosts reside in places where their lives were tragically taken...so it is quite possible.
A Haunted Chopticon High School
So what sorts of creepy things occur at this haunted Chopticon High School in Morganza, MD? Footsteps are among the most common occurrences and paranormal experiences documented about Chopticon's haunted hallways and classrooms. One source even claimed that she and her friends were standing in one of the hallways of Chopticon High School when they heard phantom footsteps...footsteps sounding like high heels clicking down the hall and walking right up next to where the girls were standing. Needless to say, they were all very spooked and fled the hallway immediately.
When I went to Chopticon High School, I spent the night the smaller auditorium during a cheerleading fundraiser night. The girls and I were very creeped out to stay at the school, even though the stories of hauntings weren't quite so popular back then...the school still carried an air of "something isn't right here" and tended to creep most of us out to the point where we didn't want to leave the auditorium without a large group of girls present. I never experienced footsteps or any paranormal activity directly, except the feeling of something being around us...a feeling that I never quite shook from that night.
Feelings of impending doom and an air of uneasiness are quite often felt by students and even teachers that go to Chopticon High School to this day. Could these feelings of discomfort and phantom footsteps be attributed to Mrs. Heater's ghost? They could very well be; however, I am also a believer that sometimes imprints are left on the land...so it is possible that the land that Chopticon High School sits upon is actually haunted...and not necessarily the school itself. If you think about the history of St. Mary's County, then you would know that much turmoil has left its energetic imprint on the land.
Before and during the time that the English settlers came and began building in St. Mary's County, there were Natives living in this area of Maryland. Most of these Natives were eventually driven out or have since died...so is it possible that the Natives could be haunting the land where Chopticon resides? What about the battles between the Catholics and Protestants in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries? If one is to do research on the troubles between the Catholics and Protestants in Maryland, one would see that much fighting occurred between the English settlers...possibly causing a residual haunting upon the land of Southern Maryland...and possibly the land where Chopticon High School sits.
What do you think? Is Chopticon High School indeed haunted by the ghost of the woman who died tragically in the summer of 1983 or are these hauntings simply residual energetic imprints left behind by more tumultuous times in Maryland's thick history?
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© 2012 Kitty Fields