Friday, February 7, 2014

Gorman School: Harriet’s Ghost

This Spanish style stucco school sits at the base of the Tehachapi mountains 65 miles north of Los Angeles in the small community of Gorman, California. This school services students from the surrounding isolated ranches.

Where Gorman Elementary School sits used to be a family’s farm field in the early 1930s. This family experienced a tragedy when their young daughter Harriet was crushed accidentally by her fathers’ tractor. Her body was laid to rest on the property.

Most believe when the school was built its auditorium was placed over this grave. Ever since Harriet’s ghost has been manifesting and making appearances at the school.

One of the earliest witness accounts happened in the 1940s. An elderly lady, Marie Ralphs who had just attended a Women’s Club meeting was leaving the auditorium when a child’s apparition appeared before her. This child then warned her she must not exit through the front door.

Ralphs ignored her-- thinking she must be a hallucination--she walked out the front door and slipped on the newly fallen snow. She broke her hip in two places.

Many teachers, students, and custodians have encountered Harriet’s ghost at the school over the years. One new Kindergarten teacher, Joanne Yolton Pouder heard stories about the ghost but didn’t believe them until something quite unique happened.

She had 19 students in her class-- she had all of their names written on apples on a paper tree that stood in a corner of her classroom. One morning as she sat at her desk she glanced up and counted 20 apples, she walked over and found the extra apple had “Harriet” written on it.

Other teachers have returned to their classrooms to discover their doors are locked. What is unusual is these doors no longer lock in this 76-year-old building--the school does not even have keys for these old locks.

Students over the years besides reporting hearing knocks and seeing doors close also report seeing a young girl in a pale blue dress.

Two seventh graders, Lisa Graham and Stacey Hoosier spent an hour one afternoon at the school helping by stacking books neatly in a closet. When they returned shortly afterward they found all these books dumped and scattered across the ground. It was Stacey’s aunt who had fallen and broken her hip in the 1940s.

In the auditorium, Mary Jane Fuller the school's maintenance supervisor has heard footsteps and seen doors slam shut near the stage. Fuller states that she felt someone was behind her one afternoon only to discover when she turned around no one was there.

Despite its age, Gorman Elementary is one of "California's Distinguished Schools" it is ranked in the top 4 percent of all elementary schools in the state for student performance.

Gordon is also known for its spectacular wildflowers.

Here is a video with Gorman Elementary School employees who share stories about Harriet’s ghost.

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