It was a rare sunny Rochester day when I arrived at Riverknoll Apartments (RKA) for a tour. Abigail Smith, a third year Wrench 'n Things student and RKA resident since early last year, was kind enough to agree to show me around her apartment.

“Riverknoll gets a bad rap,” Smith said as she let me into her apartment, “but I really like it here.”

I stepped into the living room, which was decently-sized and decorated with standard college kid fare: a purple shag butterfly chair from Target, a coffee table Smith and her roommates had scrounged from the side of the road and a series of bottom-shelf liquor bottles lined up on the windowsill.

“Riverknoll is pretty close to campus, which is really convenient,” said Smith. “Plus the rent is reasonable, especially compared to some other housing options.”

Smith shrugged when asked if there was anything she disliked about RKA.

"I mean, it's not exactly the Ritz Carlton," she said. "The ventilation in the bathroom is terrible. Plus it's annoying whenever threatening messages written in blood appear on the walls. Oh, and the internet is a lot slower than the RIT network. But, all in all, it's a fine place to live."

The ventilation in the bathroom is terrible. Plus it’s annoying whenever threatening messages written in blood appear on the walls.

When pressed about the threatening messages written in blood that mysteriously appear on the walls, Smith continued: “Oh yeah, it’s weird. They just kind of appear sometimes, usually in the dead of night. They say cliché spooky things like, ‘BEWARE,’ ‘GET OUT’ and ‘WATCH YOUR BACK.’ It’s a huge hassle because we have to clean it up right away or it’ll stain the wall."

“Other weird things happen here too. The lights flicker on and off. The kitchen cabinets slam for no reason. Sometimes I think I see a shadowy figure in the corner of my eye, but when I turn to look, no one is there. Also, late at night, I hear all these guttural moans and tortured screams.” Smith paused and then added, “But that last one actually turned out to be my neighbor having loud, weird sex.”

When asked how she could possibly live in such a terrible place, Smith replied, “It’s really not so bad! You get used to it. And you really can’t beat how convenient it is to walk to campus.”

I gathered my things and left immediately.

HousingOperations to get some explanation for what I had seen. No one was available to speak with me on such short notice, but I was referred to RIT’s Department of Swamp Development and Burial Ground Repurposement, a small department headed by Anita Driscoll. Driscoll sat down with me to discuss the history of RKA.

“As you may know, Riverknoll was initially constructed as temporary housing back in 1968,” Driscoll said. “It was a different time back then. The administration was filled with all these silly, starry-eyed notions of ‘investing in infrastructure.’ How young and foolish we were back then!

“Anyway, the only reason that Riverknoll was able to be built at all was because RIT already owned the land, which actually used to be a burial ground,” she continued.

A burial ground?

“Yes, a burial ground,” Driscoll said. “It’s where they buried students who died during finals, mostly for Organic Chemistry and University Physics.”

Suddenly a lot of things started making sense to me.

"Riverknoll is highly, highly haunted," continued Driscoll. "Think about it — the students who endured those courses are some of the most tortured souls in all of human history. The things that happened to them ... the things they must have seen ...” She shuddered.

Think about it — the students who endured those courses are some of the most tortured souls in all of human history.

 When asked how this could possibly be safe for the residents of RKA, Driscoll responded, “The ghosts from this burial ground are harmless for the most part. In fact, some of them have re-enrolled at RIT.”

After a bit of research, I learned that one student in my English class, Ernest Fenton, was actually a ghost. I had thought it was strange that he was see-through, but I just assumed he was a Computer Science major and was very, very pale from never going outside.

“I died in 1954 when my physics professor announced we wouldn’t be able to use an equation sheet on the final,” Fenton said. “Last year, I got tired of haunting Riverknoll, so I decided to go back to RIT to get my posthumous degree.”

When asked what challenges he faced as a student who happened to be a ghost, Fenton responded, “Being dead is not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, so RIT doesn’t have much to offer me in terms of accessibility, which is a shame. Also, the high winds frequently blow me away since I technically have no corporeal mass. But overall, I’d say I actually have an unfair advantage compared to the other students. For one thing, being able to go through walls is cool as shit. But the biggest advantage is that I’m already dead, so I can’t die again."

“For example, there was only one question on our physics exam last week, worth 90 percent of our final grade, and it was a question that has yet to be answered by science. 10 or 11 students just keeled over immediately when they saw it. Obviously that didn’t happen to me. I did black out briefly, but I came to with just enough time to earn a couple points of partial credit. I actually got the highest grade in the class!” Fenton beamed with pride — a truly inspirational story for undead students everywhere.

    My review of RKA led me to some strange places, and introduced me to a population of students that I had no idea even existed. In conclusion, RKA is decently affordable, conveniently located and horrifically haunted — 3 out of 5 stars.