Tuesday, January 31, 2017
HGB Ep. 179 - UC Berkeley
Moment in Oddity - Centralia
Suggested by: Teresa Slaven
Centralia was once a small coal mining town found in Pennsylvania. Today, it is a wasteland that is nearly a ghost town with less than a dozen residents. What chased these people away is not a mystery, but it is a strange thing. In 1962, a heap of trash was set ablaze in an abandoned mine pit. This was the town's landfill and there had not been a problem with this practice. But on this particular day, a vein of anthracite coal was exposed and the fire ignited that vein. The surface flames were quickly extinguished, but unfortunately, this was a vein that crawled its way through the Earth and the fire fighters were unaware that the fire continued to burn underground. The fire burned into the coal mines and holes were drilled into the ground to figure out where the fire was burning and to determine temperature. These holes provided oxygen, and as you can imagine, the fire was fueled further. For years, residents and others tried different methods to put out the fire. They flushed the mines with water and excavated as much coal as they could. The fire continued for 20 years and then something else started to happen. The Earth started opening up with sinkholes. One young boy was almost killed. Experts believe that the only way to fix the issue would be a massive trenching operation that would cost $660 million. So the government opted to relocate the residents. The fire continues to burn under 400 acres of surface area and it continues to grow. Estimates claim that it could burn for 250 years. The town is a virtual ghost town that people are detoured around and modern maps do not include the town anymore. The fact that a city was destroyed by a fire that has continued to burn for decades below the earth, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Galileo Discovers Jupiter's Moons
In the month of January, on the 7th, in1610, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei discovered four moons orbiting the planet Jupiter using a telescope he had made himself. On first observation, he thought that the planets were just a group of stars. After he watched the star cluster for a while, he realized that they were moving in a regular pattern and that movement was against the laws of nature as Galileo understood them at that time. The direction was wrong as far he was concerned. After a few weeks, he surmised that these objects were not stars, but moons that were in orbit with Jupiter. This discovery was further evidence of the Copernican theory on the universe, which stated that everything in the universe did NOT orbit the Earth. This would launch the world into modern astronomy. Today, we know Jupiter's satellites as Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto and they are referred to as the Galilean Moons in honor of their discoverer.
University of California, Berkeley (Suggested by and research assistance from Kat)
The University of California, Berkeley is a research university at its heart. Many discoveries and innovations have their origins at this university. From earthquake detection devices to nutrition to deep sea diving chemicals to prevent the bends to the Atomic Bomb to biotech and biofuels, all of these inventions were developed at UC Berkeley. The university was founded back in the 1800s and has played witness to decades of history. It is one of the top schools in America and in the world. The university has known its share of controversy and although the university most certainly does not embrace this, it is quite haunted as well. Join us as we discuss the history and hauntings of UC Berkeley.
The city of Berkeley was the territory of the Chochenyo/Huchiun band of the Ohlone people originally. They left behind shellmounds and pits in rock formations. They lived mostly along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay at the mouth of Strawberry Creek. The first Europeans to arrive and settle came with the De Anza Expedition in 1776. This expedition led to the founding of the Spanish Presidio of San Francisco at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. One of the soldiers at the Presidio was Luis Peralta. The King of Spain granted him a vast stretch of land on the east shore of San Francisco Bay for a ranch, much of which is today's City of Berkeley. The city is named after the 18th-century Anglo-Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley.
The California Gold Rush began in 1848 and brought hundreds of thousands of people to California. Henry Durant was born in Massachusetts and studied for the ministry at Yale College. He became an ordained minister, but also a headmaster. He eventually came to Oakland, California and in 1853 he founded the Contra Costa Academy, a private school for boys. Two years later, the school was chartered as the College of California. Another school known as the Agricultural, Mining and Mechanical Arts College merged with the College of California in 1868 and the University of California was founded. Durant was elected the first president of the University of California. The University's beginnings were modest to say the least. Initially there were only 10 faculty members and 40 students.
By 1873, the University had 200 students and there was a need to move to another campus at this time. They moved to a new campus in Berkeley on land adjoining Strawberry Creek. In 1882, UC Berkeley’s first sports team was established on campus and it was a rugby team. Beginning in 1891, Phoebe Apperson Hearst took the University under her wing and started funding a number of programs and buildings. Phoebe had married George Hearst, her distant cousin who was 22 years older, and gave birth to their only son, William Randolph Hearst in 1863. She also sponsored an international competition in Antwerp, Belgium in 1898 for a campus master plan. French architect Émile Bénard submitted the winning design, which was called Roma.
The backstory here is an interesting one about two powerful and rich families in the Bay area competing against each other. The Stanford Family had founded Stanford University and the Hearst Family responded by adopting the fledgling University of California and guiding it to become a world-class institute. It was a classic one-upmanship move. Emile Bénard didn't like the culture of San Francisco and he refused to revise his plan to fit the University, so he was replaced by fourth-place winner John Galen Howard. Howard became UC Berkeley's resident campus architect. He built in the Beaux-Arts Classical Style. Characteristics include flat roofs, statuary and sculptures, arched windows and doors and decorative garlands, balustrades and pilasters.
Howard designed much of the classic historic buildings on campus and most of them are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These included the Hearst Greek Theatre, the Hearst Memorial Mining Building, Doe Memorial Library, California Hall, Wheeler Hall, Le Conte Hall, Gilman Hall, Haviland Hall, Wellman Hall, Sather Gate, the Sather Tower - which was inspired by St Mark's Campanile (CAM-PA-NEE-LEE) in Venice - North Gate Hall, Dwinelle Annex, and Stephens Hall. In 1919, a southern branch of the University of California was opened in Los Angeles, which began the expansion of the University in a statewide system that now includes 10 campuses across California.
Berkeley faculty started something new on the campus in the1920s by establishing an Academic Senate, which gave them an unprecedented role in the governance of the Berkeley campus. It was described as a faculty revolt, but it is a tradition that has kept the faculty independent and outspoken. The 1930s was another time of diversity and expansion with the opening of International House. John D. Rockefeller Jr. funded the construction and soon thereafter the University of California enrolled nearly 10 percent of all international students in the United States. This was the first coeducational residence west of the Mississippi and housed men, women, foreigners, blacks and whites under one roof. It was not a popular move and many objected.
By 1942, the American Council on Education ranked UC Berkeley second only to Harvard University in the number of distinguished departments. The innovation coming out of UC Berkeley was amazing. A device to create cleaner smokestack emissions that is still used today was developed in 1907. Vitamin E was discovered in 1922. Berkeley Chemist Joel H. Hildebrand formulated a mixture of helium and oxygen for deep-sea diving that would enable divers to explore deeper than ever before without experiencing "the bends” in 1924. Using iodine to diagnose and treat hyperthyroidism was developed here as well. Nutrition Science got its start here and speaking of food, fruit cocktail was created at UC Berkeley by William Cruess. There was also the flu vaccine, plutonium produced for first time, the Atomic Bomb was developed, wetsuits were invented, the first cancer causing gene was discovered, biofuels were developed and the list goes on and on.
Eventually, Berkeley would become a scene for campus protests against the Vietnam War, but the military once had a huge influence at the University. Military training was compulsory for male undergraduates and Berkeley housed an armory for that purpose. The ROTC program was established in 1917 and the School of Military Aeronautics trained future pilots that included Jimmy Doolittle. In 1926, future fleet admiral Chester W. Nimitz established the first Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit at Berkeley. The military increased its presence on campus during World War II.
During the McCarthy era in 1949, the Board of Regents adopted an anti-communist loyalty oath. They required that all the faculty and student employees declare in writing that they were not members of the Communist Party. Many of the faculty formed a resistance movement and they were dismissed. The regents eventually rescinded the oath and the California Supreme Court sided with those employees who refused to sign. They were reinstated with back pay. In 1952, the University of California became an entity separate from the Berkeley campus. Each University of California campus was given autonomy and its own Chancellor. Then-president Sproul assumed presidency of the entire University of California system, and Clark Kerr became the first Chancellor of UC Berkeley.
While the University has been known for its innovations and protests, many may not know that the University harbors many spirits. Several locations are haunted. The first is the Faculty Club. These were the dorms that housed the faculty when the University first opened. The dorm is now an on-campus hotel. One of the professors, Henry Morse Stephens, lived at the Faculty Club for 20 years until his death in 1919. Supposedly, he still haunts his room because he loved the University so much. Guests report things being moved to a place where they did NOT put it when staying in that room. His apparition has been seen sitting in his favorite chair and reciting poetry. Cold spots have been felt and people see indentations on the bed by something unseen. There might be more than just a love of the school here. Stephens' life’s work was collecting more than 800 individual accounts of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He was going to create a complete archive and give it to the Bancroft Library. He died before that happened and today, his work has been lost. Could this be why he is still around in the afterlife? Maybe he feels his work is not finished or he is upset that it is lost.
The Daily Cal reported, "In 1974, the Berkeley Daily Gazette ran an article in which Noriyuki Tokuda, a visiting Japanese scholar, reported seeing Stephens’ ghost. After waking from a nap, Tokuda saw a well-dressed gentleman sitting in the chair opposite him. Then, much to Tokuda’s surprise, the man flew across the room and disappeared. The Gazette reported Tokuda as saying, 'I opened my eyes then and saw a funny picture — two heads with a body passing out of my sight and disappearing.' Later, when shown a photograph of Stephens, Tokuda confirmed a striking resemblance." Psychic Charles Peden claims that the captain of the 1920s football team is the one haunting the Faculty Club. He died of pneumonia apparently. Peden wrote of his encounter with this ghost, "In a matter of moments, I felt the energy in the room shift and I felt the presence of a spirit from the other side. After speaking with him for a moment I determined that they were connected with the 1920 football team. I thought that it was most likely the captain of the team. He informed us that he had passed due to pneumonia and then he spoke about the football team of this time period and how they were a bunch of sissies having to wear all the extra protective gear and face masks on the helmets. Even though he ripped the team a bit, he ended up the interview with a hearty 'Go Bears!”'"
Kroeber Hall houses the Anthropology Department. We can already imagine that this place would have some weird stuff going on just based on the types of artifacts housed in the building. The Hearst Museum of Anthropology is located here as well. Kat told us, "This was a story from one of my friends, and this involves her professor. While she was taking an Anthro class, the class had a chance to go into the basement level of the Anthro museum, which is normally off-limits to students who aren't working there. Before the professor went down the stairs, she was apparently praying this weird spell. One of the students asked her why, and she replied, 'Oh, I was pushed down the stairs when I was alone. When I spoke with a Native American elder, he told me to wear this necklace and say this prayer. It's to appease the spirits of Native Americans that are attached to the artifacts here.'"
One of Kat's friends had a friend that worked in the museum and she claimed that she saw dark shadows in the corners of the basement lurking and shifting around and felt cold spots when she was working there alone.
Barrington Hall is privately operated student housing, but initially it was a student housing cooperative when it opened in 1935. During the sixties, it got a reputation as a drug den and eventually riots in regards to the building caused it to shut down in September 1990. It was reopened as the privately owned student housing and residents claim that the building is haunted. Some claim that there is a spirit of a student who hung himself in the hall, now haunting it. A weird shadow figure has been seen climbing the stairs up to the third floor. This figure enters each room and stares for a bit as though checking on the students. This has led to the theory that the spirit belongs to a former third floor resident. During the riots of 1990, Juan Mendoza, a 20 year old student and resident of Barrington Hall, fell off the roof of the building and sadly died. Could he be one of the spirits as well?
Evans Hall is the Math and Stat Department building and it is one of the tallest on campus. A junior majoring in math had a very low GPA. This can be a common occurrence at Berkeley because of grade deflation. Kat said that most of the kids who go to UC Berkeley were valedictorians or top of their classes in high school and the transition into Berkeley academics can be tough. It was for this kid and he ended up committing suicide over that low GPA. When you are studying math on the basement floor of Evans Hall alone, in one of the classrooms and if you get a problem wrong, you will hear an insult that will tell you that you got the answer wrong and it will tell you the correct answer. Of course, when the student turns around to thank them/insult them back, no one is there.
The Hearst Gym is a location where Kat has felt weird and uneasy. The reason could be that in the 1960s, the remains of about 12,000 Native Americans were dug up on campus and stored in Hearst Gym under the swimming pool. The basement apparently has cabinets and drawers full of these Native American bones. The building has haunting experiences that range from flickering lights to feelings of unease to strange tapping noises. The University has tried to return the bones to their tribes of origin, but the process has been slow and arduous and it is felt that the spirits of the natives that are at unrest will be sticking around.
Then there is Sather Tower, which resembles the Campanile (CAM-PA-NEE-LEE) in Venice. This is the most famous structure on campus and has been a spot for suicide. At least until the anti-suicide bars were put up. Inside the tower are 61 bells that make up a full concert carillon with bells ranging in size from nineteen pounds to a 10,500 pound one called the Great Bear Bell. The Great Bear Bell has carvings of bears as well as the constellation of Ursa Major. It is rung once an hour. Sather Tower is the third tallest bell and clock tower in the world standing at 307 feet. It was built in 1914 and opened in 1917. The observation deck at the top is where two people committed suicide by jumping. Richard Saphir was the first to jump in 1958. He was a retired attorney who had relocated from Chicago. Instead of going to his psychiatry appointment, he climbed the tower and leapt to his death.
The other was a man named John Patterson who was a 19 year-old sophmore at the University. He jumped in 1961. It is Patterson's ghost that people claim haunts the tower. His apparition has been seen in the tower and around the grounds. In fact, a legend claims that a photographer was taking a picture of the lawn and captured a ghostly hand reaching out of the ground.
Are the spirits of former students and professors still roving the halls and campus of UC Berkeley? Is UC Berkeley haunted? That is for you to decide!