A Day with Margaret Williams

Safa Mostafa

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Safa Mostafa

A Day with Margaret Williams

Theaters are for watching shows, rarely is the show the theater itself.

The Margaret Williams Theater is located inside of Hepburn Hall at New Jersey City University. Hepburn Hall was the first and only building of the University; it started as a gym and auditorium. Eventually, the school converted the gym/auditorium into a theater and was later named after Margaret Williams, who was a long time faculty member who passed away while working at the school. Some of the University’s students say she never left the school. According to NJ.com, you can see her walking at the top of the tower on some nights.

Music education major, Freshman Gabriella Ferraro, has only been in the auditorium once for freshman orientation but never thought that the place was scary.

“I just thought that the theater was really big and that the seats were a little creaky, ” said Ferraro.

Some NJCU alumnus have heard about the ghost theory. Samantha Minor, who is both an alumnus of UACHS and NJCU, is among the few who have knowledge about the theory and rumor itself.

“I have never experienced anything but being backstage for a while makes me feel a very eerie feeling,” said Minor. “ I don’t know if it’s because it’s old but it definitely has a paranormal feeling.”

Theater Manager, Anna Carhart is fairly new to the campus since she became employed in the spring of 2017. Carhart spends a lot of time alone managing the theater and has heard of the ghost theory but does not believe in it.

“I don’t necessarily think that the theater is haunted,” said Carhart. “I think I haven’t been spooked by any ghost because I respect the idea [of Margaret being there].”

Although Carhart does not believe in the ghost theory, she does take note of a few odd things about the theater.

“I haven’t had any encounters with Margaret,” said Carhart. “There are a few various things about the space. There’s these three lights that won’t ever turn off all the way.”

I thought it would be best for myself to see if the Margaret Williams Theater was actually haunted. On November 13, I came in at 9 a.m. and automatically noticed that the theater was freezing cold but chose to blame the low temperature on the weather that morning. However, the temperature remained the same from morning to afternoon.

For the first half-hour I spent my time in the theater, I analyzed the entire place and realized that it was extremely old. The lobby of the theater gave off a medieval times theme along with its dim lighting and brownstone bricks, vintage details were decorated around the stage, and the chairs themselves made noises as if someone was opening them. The walls were also so thin that I hear doors constantly closing in the lobby and the stomping in the hallways. Clearly, the theater had not been updated since 1931.

I constantly got goosebumps and thought I heard strange noises but it was probably just my paranoia settling in. Overall, I do not believe the Margaret Williams ghost theory is true — I just think the theater is dated.

 

Junior year student, Safa Mostafa, stands with uneasiness on the stage inside of the Margaret Williams Theater at New Jersey City University.

Photo credit/attribution to Jhon Samson

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A Day with Margaret Williams