Secret Passageways at Ames High

You’re a sophomore and it’s fourth period. This is your one study hall a week and you managed to get out on the pretense that you were “using the bathroom,” when you actually wanted to purchase some delicious Hawaiian punch down by the activities entrance. You’ve successfully retrieved your tasty beverage without detection, but now you have to make it back to your study hall in the math hallway without being caught. You duck around a corner and pull out your Marauder’s Map; your three-dimensional diagram of the school including the real-time whereabouts of all students and staff. You see that James is lurking in the hallway opposite you, and is drawing closer to your coordinates. However, your map also indicates that there is some sort of tunnel behind the wall you currently face. Without thinking, you dart towards the wall and tumble through a large tapestry. You look around, you’re in a narrow, winding passageway. Your map indicates that this corridor leads underneath the school back to the math hallway. You race down it and manage to beat James back to the room and utterly avoid detection. Unfortunately, we do not attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but has anyone ever stopped to think that our humble Ames High School doesn’t differ that much from the famous wizarding school? The current Ames High building was built in 1961. Fifty years to accumulate secrets and forgotten history! Fifty years of rumors circulating through the school. And perhaps the most interesting rumor is that of secret, ancient passageways hidden within our school beneath- or above- our very noses. Could our school possibly be home to such dark forgotten corridors? One substitute teacher, Mr. Dave Duit, certainly thinks so. “In the *CENSORED* room. There is a storage type square concrete room,” Duit said. Due to safety issues involving threats like asbestos, the locations of these secret rooms cannot be revealed in this article, however I will provide photographic evidence that they do exist. “It was found 4 years ago by the students in the room I was subbing.” Duit said. Since Duit had actually been there to see the exposure of that secret room, there was concrete proof that it existed. I decided to go there myself and follow his directions to find the room. It turns out that there is a certain ceiling tile in the corner of this unnamed room that is very easy to remove. Behind it is a small ladder that leads up to a metal door with a red lever. However, behind the door was an opening above the ceiling about 10 feet long, not exactly a “concrete room.” The base of the opening did not seem very steady, so I didn’t venture into it. It was essentially just an opening filled with ceiling insulation. Though Duit’s concrete room didn’t exactly turn out to be as exciting as previously thought, it did show that there are passages in this school that few know about. Another lead was brought to me by senior Grace Stephenson. “There’s just a little ladder that leads up to the trapdoor above the *CENSORED* room,” Stephenson said. “It’s like a really big tunnel. I’ve been in it before, but I didn’t really explore because it’s dark and scary.” I asked Stephenson if she could show me where this trapdoor was; her “tunnel” seemed much larger and safer than the ceiling room. I followed Stephenson to the alleged location last Monday immediately after school. She has special privileges that allow her to explore certain bowels of the school. Sure enough there were 7 or 8 bars jutting out of the wall leading up to a trapdoor. We climbed up through the opening and found ourselves in a large, dark concrete tunnel. The ceiling was about 12 feet high. The tunnel was very dark and filled with obscure macabre machinery. Who knows how many ghosts lurked in that dark passageway. The tunnel turned a bit and went back several yards; it was large enough to be considered a passageway. I had only managed to explore two actual passageways, but some claim that many more exist. “Supposedly in *CENSORED* rooms downstairs you can lift up the corner of the carpet and there is a 2ft. x 2ft. trapdoor.” Mr. Duit said. Secretaries Barbi Greenlaw and Wendi Reger in the main office confirmed the accuracy in Duit’s claims. The tunnels downstairs were apparently once used by janitors. I asked principal Spence Evans for permission to explore the service tunnels, and he gave it me, but later informed me that it was too dangerous due to asbestos.