Hodgin Hall is the University of New Mexico’s oldest building on campus. On Oct. 25, UNM Trailblazers – UNM’s student alumni ambassador organization – worked together to create Haunted Night.
Before entering the haunted house, visitors are greeted by one of the alumni students with a brief history about the house, and hear whispers of speculation that it may be haunted.
“Welcome to Hodgin Hall. Be prepared, for our presence has stirred Irma’s relentless spirit. Proceed with caution, for you are about to embark on a spine-tingling journey,” the tour guides said.
In each room, attendees are greeted by people in spooky masks and the tour ends in the last room as one of the Trailblazers shouts the scariest part of all – parking tickets.
The spirit – Irma Bobo – is said to “wander through the halls, caressing keys and pianos and staircases,” though she is only believed to be a myth.
Students who attended the event said they had a blast, even if some didn’t believe in the paranormal. Maysa Khan, a UNM student, who doesn’t believe in ghosts – attended the event with her friends anyway.
“I’d call the professionals in on it. … There’s fun in believing in it though I’m a super skeptic,” Khan said.
Even then, she and other students had fun being spooked on the tour, with free Sueno’s coffee and popcorn provided.
Daniela Millan – Trailblazer’s Vice President of Membership – also shared history about the Hall. It was built in 1889, a year after UNM was first established as a university. First regarded as the University House or Main Building instead of Hodgin Hall.
The building itself went through some trials and tribulations, as Millan pointed out its renovated look. During the 1900s, it caught fire – forcing them to renovate the entire building to keep it intact.
“If you come back on a normal day, you can have a tour of the regular house. On the second floor, there is a little building model,” Millan said.
That model shows what was once the original design of the house, which had more of a Victorian-style.
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“When they renovated the whole building, they did more of this adobe-style to match the (modern) New Mexico aesthetic,” Millan said.
The Trailblazers wanted to make a fun event for all to attend, while simultaneously sharing knowledge and awareness about the building and its history in general.
“Most people drive by, they see the ‘U,’ and they really don’t think anything of it. They don’t think, ‘Oh, this is the oldest building on campus’... Most people don’t step inside the building and see all of the rich history that there really is,” Millan said.
UNM’s Hodgin Haunted House event may have not turned skeptics, but it may have given students – new or not – an opportunity to appreciate the campus’s oldest building a little more.
Kat Gomez is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. They can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyLobo