The first floor of the Brande, an apartment building located at 1001 4th Ave. Apt. A., houses Bogdan Krstic ’12, Hannah Shepherd ’12 and Phoebe Currier ’12. As I walked to the house, I passed a platform with a wooden staircase built onto it. Shepherd would later describe it as “the stairway to heaven.” This peculiarity, however, was just the first of many.
As I walked into the basement, I was met with a piece of graffiti on the wall proclaiming: “The Pussy Cat.” In response to whether the first floor has a title, Krstic replied steely, “The Gun Club.”
I opened the door to the basement/The Gun Club and stepped into darkness. After wandering around for a few minutes, I was truly spooked. While home to some fantastic parties, the basement is a completely different story in the dark.
“During a party it looks different because the lights [are] on,” Shepherd said. “But the basement is terrifying.”
While the basement spooked me out, I realized I was not the only one getting a Poltergeist vibe from the house. When I asked if the floormates believed that the house was haunted, Krstic responded with an immediate “yes.”
“Do you guys hear the wind?” Shepherd questioned. “The howling?”
Haunted? Howling? Suddenly, I had shivers down my spine. I should have brought my holy water to this interview. Apparently, the wind blowing through the first floor teases wails out of the creaky walls. The three nodded as they remembered the noisy squatters.
“The wind howling sounds like people wailing and crying,” Shepherd said. “You can hear it all the time when it’s windy.”
I wondered how the inhabitants of the Brande dealt with such strange events. But I then discovered that the Brande is replete with such occurrences.
“[For] our previous appearance in the S&B, we nearly burned down the Brande,” Krstic said. “There was smoke drifting past the window and my roommate goes in the kitchen and says, ‘Oh snap the couch is on fire.’”
I had known that the Brande was a hotspot for after-parties, but this was something else entirely. Despite talking about this event lightheartedly, the housemates recall the event with legitimate concern.
“We were saying how nice the smell was and how it smells like Fall,” Shepherd said. “Then when we saw the fire we were like, ‘Holy shit!’ Then we were like ‘HOLY SH*T.’”
Was the burning couch just another coincidence or actually a warning from the netherworld? Are the rumors of the 4th floor inhabitants practicing witchcraft true? Are they really responsible for attracting ghouls who light couches on fire? Despite these possibilities, the housemates believe the real cause is more mundane.
“I think someone dropped a cigarette and it just lit up overnight,” Shepherd said.
While other people may be disturbed by the house’s history, the three tenants speak about the past events with a comfortable sense of familiarity. Be it a burning couch or a screeching wind, these are simply two more features that make up the Brande.
Yet, their familiarity and camaraderie in discussing the past betrays the real nature of their relationship—the housemates have had little interaction with each other. But there have been a few memorable run-ins. Like the time Currier’s cat, Enzo, was sneaking across the hallway to inspect the other side of the house.
“This [was while] a friend of ours was sleeping on our couch,” Currier said.
Krstic finishes the story, “He walked across the hall, into our apartment, next to my room said ‘Hello’ and he said ‘I don’t think I’m supposed to be here!’ and he booked it. I only saw his shadow and his profile.”
“It was 4 a.m. He was looking for the bathroom,” Shepherd explained.
Despite first floor’s rough and tumble past, the residents have maintained a level-headed and pragmatic sense of mind and seen the humor in the sometimes-unnerving events. After all, one needs a cool head to shoot straight, and The Gun Club faces phantoms and flaming furniture alike with their own brand of gumption and guts.
Edit: A previous version of this article contained several misspelled names. The S&B apologizes for this error.