The Haunted Elevators at the University of Maryland

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The Haunted Elevators at the University of Maryland

The following story was told by a University of Maryland senior, told to her before moving into her dormitory freshman year. The girl, an Indian born and raised in Maryland, now twenty one years old, recounted the story in a coffee shop in a dimly lit corner over a cup of black coffee late at night.

I heard this story at orientation, when coming into Maryland. We were in Denton hall when the tour guide started telling us this story about a girl that used to live in Denton a long time ago. We were waiting for the elevators, because it was taking a long time. Out of three elevators, two were broken so we had to wait for the one. “You know there’s a reason that these elevators aren’t working,” the tour guide said. She told us there was a girl that lived there. One day this girl was going into the elevator to go downstairs and leave the building because these other people were making fun of her. She was crying, couldn’t see straight, and was so distraught that she was wiping tears off of her face, leaning forward, when her head got caught in the elevator doors. For some reason the doors didn’t open back up because of a freak malfunction, not completely uncommon when it comes to dorm elevators. It crushed her head and her brain juices somehow got into the electrical wiring of the elevators. Things were sparking, her arms were flailing wildly, and lights began to flicker. A combination of her rage and loneliness remained in the elevator wiring, and to this day the elevators in Denton still don’t work sometimes. When this happens, it’s her rage coming back to haunt the residents.

The story was told in a completely believable tone of voice. The narration was not s...

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...there is no specific evidence to support this story (other than the elevators breaking down), approximately 30 people die in elevator-related incidents annually in the United States. One death was an actual decapitation, suggesting that the accident depicted in the legend is rare but not impossible. These elements are what draw a complete picture of this story’s cultural symbolism. At the center of an entertaining urban legend are deeply rooted, yet easily accessible social implications and fears.

Works Cited

Mikkelson, Barbara. Urban Legends Reference Pages: Elevator Decapitation, Lift and Separate. Jan 18, 2007. Accessed at

Schlossman, David, ed. "Metaphorically Haunted Elevators." University of Maryland Legends Collection. 2004. Accessed at

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