The Ghost of the Drywall

Bruised Knuckles. Broken Bones. These are the issues currently plaguing editors of Main Street Magazine, the student-run UNH organization. It started with Main Street Content Editor Evan Ringle. Known as an even-keeled and happy-go-lucky member of the group, many were shocked to hear that Evan broke his hand punching a wall. I caught up with Evan to try to understand how and why he chose to do something so extreme...or what came over him.

“I’m not really sure what happened. It was like I wasn’t myself. One minute, I was sitting on the couch, and the next my fist was colliding with a wall. Unfortunately it was concrete, so I ended up with a pretty bad break that needed surgery. I don’t know why I did it. But not only that, since then I still feel the urge. Even now some part of me wants revenge on that wall.” The concern in Evan’s face was evident; it worried me.

What happened to Evan was weird no doubt, but nothing that couldn’t be explained away. I assumed it was an isolated incident. That is, until the fateful night of February 19, 2021, when fellow editor Caroline Fitzgerald found herself in an unsettlingly similar circumstance. Upon first glance, this can be chalked up to your typical college white boy rage, but then the same thing happened to Caroline, and things got more complicated. Two people in the same organization involved in this out-of-character action? Something didn’t sit right with me.

“This isn’t something I’d do. I really can’t explain it. It started out as a typical night, just hanging with my roommates, when suddenly, I found myself standing on a chair in the apartment across the hall with my fist going through the ceiling. I don’t know how I got there or why I did it.” She got quiet, and something was clearly troubling her. I urged her to share her story, knowing that the only way to understand these puzzling circumstances was to piece together all of the available facts.

“This is going to sound crazy...but I know that wasn’t me. It was my body and I have the cast to prove it, but that wasn’t me who punched the ceiling that night. And since then, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, standing in that same room with my fist ready to go through that wall again. I don’t have an answer to why this keeps happening.” The distress in her eyes was visible. I knew she was telling the truth. It was clear that Caroline didn’t go there on her own volition. One might guess that, perhaps, there was an obvious explanation that wasn’t as bizarre as it seems. A good amount of college students can attest to not understanding their own foggy actions after a night out on the town. I asked Caroline about the likelihood of this possible influence thinking it was the simple answer to the perplexing event. Her answer surprised me. “I’ve never had a drop of alcohol in my life. I live a life of stone-cold sobriety.” But if that was the case...then what happened?

I was becoming increasingly concerned. I had heard similar tales before, but was hoping these two incidents had other explanations. At this point in the investigation I had to come to terms with the fact that my fears were likely true. I was getting in deep over my head, stepping into the realm of the paranormal. After going over the facts with both Evan and Caroline, the answer was crystal clear in front of me, and couldn’t be easily explained away as I had hoped. It was a classic case of possession, but not just by any malignant spirit. This was no poltergeist; this possession was by The Ghost of the Drywall.

Art by Alyssa Doust

I had heard legends of UNH students experiencing this same phenomenon in years past. And not only is it bone chilling; it’s bone breaking. It all starts with the story of a young man named Ebenezer “Knuckles” Thompson, born in 1846. He was a member of the first class of UNH in 1866. Some called him by his name Ebenezer, but most knew him by “Knuckles,” because the guy was known to throw a punch or two.

He may have physically left campus, but his ghost has remained for almost two centuries. Students claim to feel the punch of a hand that isn’t there, or hear the unmistakable sound of knuckles crashing through drywall only to look and see a fully intact wall. But why is he still around?

Now having confidently identified the phenomena as a possession, the next step in my investigation was to make sure that The Ghost of the Drywall wouldn’t be making a return. I contacted local priest Father Stromboli about his work with exorcisms and possession. Father Stromboli explained to me his work and prior run-ins the community has had with this particular ghost.

“Oh yes, Ebenezer,” he sighed. “It’s been a while since anyone has come seeking my services, but I knew he would be back. He’s not an easy ghost to get rid of. There’s a lot of energy there.”

I pressed on. “As an expert in this field, why is it so hard to get rid of him? Can you get rid of him?”

Father Stromboli took in a meaty breath, and let out a meatier sigh. “Well, it’s a complicated process, but having researched possessions such as these for some time now, I am confident that I can rid UNH of this spirit once and for all. In the past, I’ve used my own hypotheses and experimental methods, which most of the time prove successful, but he almost always returns to claim more victims. But with my carefully seasoned meaty methods, I think he’ll be gone for good.”

The certainty in his voice was reassuring, and time will only tell how Evan and Caroline will fare in the future. Will the exorcisms work? Can Father Stromboli truly banish this spirit?

Evan and Caroline have scheduled exorcisms with Father Stromboli to be sure they are rid of the ghost of Ebenezer “Knuckles” Thompson. I have planned follow-up interviews with them to check in and see how they’re doing and whether or not they’re still experiencing these paranormal encounters. “Knuckles,” I’m afraid, has a meaty date with destiny.