Friday, September 9, 2011

Update to the Roosevelt High hauntings

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.

5 comments:

RSA Kid:) said...

Wow! Being a theatre/performing student at Roosevelt, we've heard about lester really often. It's crazy to finally see him, after spending so much time in the library trying to find him in old yearbooks.

Lester is still a big part of RSA. For every theatre production to this day, his name is listed on the cast/crew sign in sheet. Us students have been told a million stories about how things to missing, and how lester pulls harmless pranks on people (granted, these are told to us by teachers and faculty so they might be just messing with us and getting a good laugh out of it) but Lester definitely lives on in the theatre, around so much performing, which he loved :)

Anonymous said...

Verenize Garcia(Roosevelt high school class of 2011) i was in RSA for just my freshman year, i was performing a folktorico dance inside the auditorium, i was in the last row and last student to enter the stage, the song started playing witch meant it was time to pick up my skirt, so i did, but then suddenly something/someone snatched the skirt off of my hand, i looked beside me but there was absolutely no one around, i started my dance as i walked on stage and infront of evryone my skirt get snatched out of my hands again! I look to my dance partners but they dont even realize anything.i keep dancing and the night goes on, but one thing is forsure i wont forget that day ..

Anonymous said...

OMG !!!! I SO CLEARLY REMEMBER ABOUT LESTER, IN FACT I HAVE SO MUCH TO TELL WHAT I WITNESS AND WHAT I SEEN . IT WAS A WENSDAY AFTER MY MATH CLASS WITH MR. ARCHULER I THINK I SPELLED IT WRONG BUT ANY WAYS I HAD A REPORT THAT WAS DUE AND LIKE MOST OF US WE DO REPORTS AT THE LAST MINUTE. ANYWAYS I WENT TO THE LIBRARY AND I WAS LEANING ON THE WALL NEXT TO THE ARTS AISLE AND AS I WAS RESEARCHING THINGS FOR MY REPORT I SAW A YEARBOOK DROP FROM ABOVE THE SHELF I WAS LIKE WTF, SO I WENT AROUND TO SEE IF ONE OF MY FRIENDS WERE PULLING A PRANK ON ME AND IT WAS CLEARLY I WAS ALONE THEN , AS I WENT TO PICK UP THE BOOK THAT WAS FACE DOWN I TURN IT AROUND AND I SAW A KID WITH HIS OUTFITS AS IF HE WAS GOING TO DO A PERFORMANCE BUT THE FACE WAS BLURRY COULDNT TELL WHO HE WAS BUT I CAN RECALL READING UNDER THAT PICTURE STATED MOST TALENTED OF THE ARTS. SO, THEN I FREAKED OUT BECAUSE I AUTOMATICALLY THOUGH OF LESTER. SO, AS I WAS LEAVING I FELT A RUSH WIND FROM THE BACK AND WHEN I TURNED DUST HIT ME ON THE FACE AND AS I WAS RUBBING MY EYES I SAW A BLURRY IMAGE . I DIDNT WANT TO TELL ANYONE UNTIL NOW I CANT BELIEVE THE THINGS I WITNESS AND FELT . AND I WAS CLASS OF 2001 AND I SPENT ALL 4YRS AT R.H.S SCHOOL OF THE ARTS. YES I WAS PART OF THE ARTS .

I WAS IN FOLKLORICO AND MARIMBA AND WHEN WE DID OUR WINTER DANCE SHOW IN THE AUDITORIUM I ALWAYS FELT AS IF SOMETHING WAS FOLLOWING ME EVERYWHERE I WENT WEATHER IT WAS IN THE HALLS OR THE SIDE STAGE. BUT WHAT FREAKED ME OUT WAS WHEN I WAS PERFORMING A SOLO ON STAGE I LOOKED DOWN IN THE PIT AND I SAW THE SAME PHOTO THAT YOU SEE ON THIS BLOG EXCEPT HE WAS JUST WATCHING US ALL DANCE BUT WHENN I SAW HIM WATCHING ME I HAD A SHORTISH OF BREATH, AND DIZZY AND I SAW HIM STARE UP I FELT AS IF THERE WAS SOMETHING HE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO , AND WHAT I AM THINKING WAS LESTER WANTED TO BE A DIRECTOR AS A PERFORMER THAT HE WAS I BLEIEVE HE HAD A BIG HART IN THE ARTS THAT AFFORTUNATE HE COULDNT EXPERIENCE. ANY WAYS THOSE WHERE THOSE MEMORIES I WONT EVER FORGET . AND JUST BY LOOKING AT HIS PICTURE I AM STILL FREAKED OUT BY IT .

Anonymous said...

I never really believed in ghosts until I began working security in late 2004. I worked for a local security company which did the patrols for Fresno Unified. While I was working security I got many calls to various schools for alarms and "voice" etc... Roosevelt was one school that I could be sure I would get a call to. I grew up not to far from Fresno but never heard any of the stories about any of the schools being haunted, and as I said I never really believed in ghosts before this, but after the many many calls and incidents at Roosevelt I do now. I didn't find out about Lester or the other 7 ghosts that haunt that place until after I began asking the other guard about strange events that happened to me while I was on the patrol calls. Lester was a regular offender of setting off alarms. One of our guards actually got his arm broke one night for yelling at Lester to "knock it off". But many people tend to overlook the girl who jumped out of the tower or the boy in the east hall bathroom, the phantom of the west hall (which scared the heck out of a Fresno PD dog one night so bad it bit its handler) or the girl by the baseball field, or the couple who resides in the east hallway. I will say that it's kinda eerie to see Lester's face so clearly. Many of Fresno's schools are haunted and the encounters I've had are too many to count but the one school other than Roosevelt that really sticks out in my mind is Sunnyside high school. Every December around this time really strange things happen, The call I got that night in December 2004 I will never forget.

Anonymous said...

Tell me about sunnyside high^^^ school very interesting..