Smile Politely

A Spooky Building, An Eerie Feeling, and A Creepy Latrine

If you ask a local, they will give you a healthy list of spooky, weird, and supposedly haunted sites around Champaign-Urbana. I however, being a stubborn individualist and noted maverick, wanted to find my own unsettling places to write about in this Halloween edition of A Building, A Feeling, and A Latrine. Thus, I set out alone on a frightful adventure a few nights back when the moon was full and the wind was gusty.


The Grain Silo Thingy on St. Mary’s and 4th, across from the State Farm Center

By day, this building is a normal enough agricultural edifice, well-worn, but benign. By night however, it transforms into a terrifying ghost castle where terrible things obviously go down. Just look at these pictures! (I’d apologize for the shitty photos taken on my shitty phone with it’s shitty night vision feature, but I think they all actually enhance the results so I won’t.)

The highest room is illuminated at night. Presumably by an oil lamp burning human oils, or maybe just a single naked filament bulb. Regardless, the room is clearly inhabited by some kind of mad nocturnal corn doctor, whose dark obsession is concocting new and terrifying varieties of corn to unleash upon an unsuspecting world.

The spookiest part was yet to come though. As I circled the building, passing a number of shadowy entranceways complete with water dripping noises, I came upon a raised roadway facing a demonic red light. When I approached the light from atop the road, the light changed…

“Are those… numbers?”


But I knew as I ran away with tears of shame and fright sprinting down my cheeks, that it was true. The hateful red number box was giving my accurate weight in pounds. Truly, what we fear most is hidden deep inside us. Well, in my case, actually kinda on the around the middle on the outside in for form of a beer/Twix belly. I like to believe that if some other person were to step on the hellish roadway, the light would say something like: “she doesn’t really love you,” or “they’re lying to you, it was your fault this whole time,” but maybe it just does weights, which is still pretty terrifying to a statistical majority of Americans.

VERDICT: Bonafide spooky at night. Also, I used to weigh 180, I swear. I dunno what happened (craft brews mostly).


Getting lost in Noyes Laboratory

In my quest to find creepy bathrooms around C-U, I was told by a friend to check out a particular Men’s room in the Noyes Laboratory of Chemistry on campus. Before I could find the bathroom however, I became quite lost in the musty basement of the lab. A space from another time … 

Every turn in the Noyes basement gave me a powerful feeling of being in a deserted Cold War era bunker situated deep underground. Specifically, the kind of bunker where people were once hard at work developing new and exotic ways to kill people once the nuclear winter had set in. Most every door was marked to show how deadly the equipment behind them were. Also, a couple of darkened hallways were strewn with imposing but dormant equipment (at least I thought they were imposing. They probably just do some mundane chemistry type thing like efficiently converting argon into high pitched beeping noises).

Just when I thought I understood this basement, with its many mystery pipes and Eisenhower-era doors, I came to a side hallway leading deeper down into the earth.

I gathered my courage and walked delicately down 200 feet or more of hallway, following the two largest mystery pipes I had yet encountered.

At a bend in the hallway, the pipes diverted to the surface. A final door faced me at the end of this second stretch of hall. I heard a faint hum emanating from beyond it. I did not venture through the door though as I was quite certain I would never be able to venture my way back out.

The only thing that kept me from going insane during my journey was the pervasive smell of day-old pizza that filled all but the deepest spaces and reminded me of the modern world awaiting me above.

VERDICT: 7/10 on the eerie basement scale. Really needs more unidentifiable sounds and questionable puddles.


Basement Men’s room in Flagg Hall Art and Design Building

Whilst exploring a place known as Flagg Hall
I found a bathroom with three sinks, three urin’ls, and three stalls.
As I sits down to peesies,
the furnace coughs and it wheezies
it sounds quite like it’ll burst through the walls.

I realize I have to poop too.
Frantically, I attempt #2.
I must be quick with my dooky,
for this bathroom is spooky.
Why oh why is this such a long poo?

I can’t help but feel I’m being seen,
as I finally pull up my jeans.
I turn back to check on my brown,
but my work is nowhere to be found.
I’m scared though I know not what it means.

“YOUR CRAP’S MINE BOY,” cries a voice from no one.
A cackle rings out while I break into a run.

VERDICT: Not actually too terrible unless you hate art students or witches that steal your excrement.

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