Leslie Chambers, who's death at Roosevelt
High School has spurred a ghost story that's
lasted over 40 years.
I've written over dozens of articles on haunted locations throughout the Fresno area and beyond. But that's what they have always been, stories. You are never really sure of the truth behind the names and events that are said to have occurred that created the haunt.
One of the more popular articles that I've done is the one on the ghosts of Roosevelt High School, especially the story of "Lester". For those who aren't familiar with the story, it's said that in 1977 a student named Lester was performing on the stage in the auditorium and collapsed there and died from either dehydration or possibly a heart attack. Ever since then people have felt his presence in the auditorium in one way or another.
Being the skeptic I am, I wasn't quite sure on the truth to this story. So imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail the other day from someone saying they were Lester's cousin and was then able to verify what happened. Turns out the story is true in most regards as a student did die due to a congenital heart defect while performing on stage. His name was Leslie Chambers and was born on October 16, 1944. On October 10, 1960 (just 6 days before his 16th birthday) while performing a cheer on stage as part of a school assembly, Leslie collapsed mid-performance and died. At that time his mother and grandmother were out shopping for his birthday and were quickly notified by the school. He was well loved by both his family and classmates and after his death the school created a memorial on one of the trees at the school where Leslie and his girlfriend met for lunch each day.
Now I don't know if Leslie haunts the stage where he died, and now that this story has both a name and face to go with it I certainly hope not as the story seems more personal now. But this is one of those times that the legend has some truth in it. Now it's possible that someone just made up the entire story of "Lester" haunting the auditorium and used the known death of a student to give it an apparent kernel of truth, but that's uncertain.
What I do hope is that the students at Roosevelt (current and future) that hear the story of Lester read this and find out the truth about Leslie Chambers and don't remember him for being a ghost that haunts the auditorium, but of a young life cut short.