SUNY Geneseo ghost ready for his close-up
CORRECTION: Our story originally listed the SyFy Channel episode Wednesday as starting at 9 p.m. EST. It’s actually starting at 7 p.m.
Believers in the paranormal acknowledge a now famous encounter with a ghost which took place in Erie Hall on the SUNY Geneseo campus in 1985.
The so-called C2D1 Haunting, named for the number of the dorm room in which the strange occurrences supposedly took place was, for all practical purposes, unknown in Geneseo at the time.
Except for a small group of students and adults who were privy to the reports of the ghost, no other local persons, college staff or students in Geneseo (including this reporter, who took three courses at the college that year) were aware of the alleged haunting in 1985.
However, over the years, among those who give credulity to stories of ghostly encounters with sarcoid spirits, the dormitory ghost which harassed and terrified SUNY student Chris DiCesare and two other fellow students has gained a wide audience.
This month the C2D1 haunting is being featured as an episode on the SyFy Channel’s series ‘School Spirits.’
In its first season, the show documents and re-enacts encounters which young persons in academic settings have allegedly realized with entities from ‘the other side’ of life’s doorway.
Episode 102, entitled ‘Dorm Room Nightmare,’ has DiCesare telling the story of himself as a young college athlete with aspirations to become an Olympic runner. Because he comes from a proud family with beliefs based in scientific rationality, DiCesare naturally concludes that his initial encounters with the ghost must be a practical joke being played by his colleagues or, more frightfully, his own psychic malfunctioning. Flashbacks with young actors bring DiCesare’s recollections of 27 years ago into vivid perspective.
When DiCesare’s roommate is driven to abandon his studies and leave Geneseo by the very same tormenting voice and strangling sensations which are haunting him, DiCesare himself has no choice but to conclude the phenomenon has some kind of objective reality.
DiCesare finds some solace by confiding to his friend Jeff Unger — who appears in the show giving his own perspective of events.
Jeff is willing to accept the reality of paranormal phenomenon. He makes a studious record of DiCesare’s descriptions and sensations, while attempting to record and photograph the ghostly being — with seeming success. In particular, one photograph seems to have been taken in the early stage of the ghost ‘taking form,’ showing what looks like a skeletal hip and ribs.
DiCesare is also helped by his father Vito, who drives to his aid one evening and spends the night with his son in the dorm room, armed with a baseball bat and pistol. Even as a skeptic, Vito confesses on the show that he felt a strange presence in the room — yet also instinctively knew that, whatever the presence was, it was something DiCesare needed to come to grips with on his own.
Further help comes from a local priest, who believes DiCesare’s story to the extent that he performs a prayer-accompanied exorcism in the dorm room.
Horribly, while the ritual seems to apparently work in driving the ghost from dorm room C2D1, the ghost then makes its presence known in the room of DiCesare’s good friend, Beth Kinsman. DiCesare and Jeff discover Beth in a state of frightened, almost unconscious shock on the floor of her dorm.
Realizing that the ghost has no qualms getting at him through his dear friends, DiCesare is driven to the brink of complete mental breakdown and possibly even suicide. He makes the decision to ‘call out’ the ghost in a face-to-face encounter in hope of at least determining what it wants.
In his final encounter with the ghost, DiCesare sees him as a solid physical presence, tortured and tormented, with his head pulled toward his right shoulder, and seems to hear the ghost ask for his help. DiCesare speaks to the ghost, advising him, ‘You need to rest.’
DiCesare will regain his composure and peace of mind. Given what he perceives as a ‘second chance,’ DiCesare goes on to live a normal life.
Yet, to this day, DiCesare has not forgotten the experience or denied the reality of the encounters.
‘Dorm Room Nightmare’ will be broadcast on SyFy Wednesday, July 11, at the show’s regular 7 p.m. time and be seen in reruns throughout the following week.
The SyFy presentation is not the only major media adaptation of DiCesare’s encounter with the C2D1 ghost.
The story is being recreated as a full length feature motion picture entitled, ‘Please, talk with me,’ subtitled, ‘The true story of the C2D1 Haunting,’ produced by Mara Katria.
While she was the first to embark upon the project, Katria has cooperated with the SyFy producers, realizing that the wide exposure on SyFy will enhance interest in C2D1 when the move is released.
For the movie version, Katria promises to recreate the “weight, warmth and nostalgia” of the mid-1980s period in which the story takes place, integrated with elaborate special effects to bring the scenes “towards artistic realism.”