An ancient and storied institution such as Vassar inevitably entices a variety of spirits still lingering in certain corners of its campus. None is quite as disruptive as the spirit in Strong House, who identifies herself simply as “Kathy.”
Students have made numerous attempts to contact Kathy by Ouija board, but the ghost proves consistently uncooperative. What paranormal investigators and various students who have encountered her do know is that Kathy is the restless soul of a student who attended Vassar in the mid1970s. Little personal information is known about Kathy beyond this, but she has cited numerous reasons for returning to Vassar, including her latest quest to burn all bras in Strong House.
In fact, one of Kathy’s latest obsessions has caused quite an issue over the course of the semester. Every single one of the fire alarms activated in Strong House has been connected to a sighting of a woman in a button-down, high-waisted jeans and an earth-fiber vest sprinting down the hallway with a flaming bra screaming “Porn is the theory! We don’t need men!”
This past week, Kathy dragged Strong House resident Mykel Leese out of bed by the hair, screaming that it was high time they created a society without men.
“It was a little disconcerting,” Leese said of the experience. “So much of what she says is geared toward white, cis women.”
Other Strong residents observed similarly upsetting shortcomings and blind spots in their paranormal visitor’s ideology.
“She’s not even a little intersectional,” complained a sophomore living in Strong. “Like, she keeps writing ‘W-O-M-Y-N’ on the bathroom signs. And it’s super hard to explain the spectrum of gender through a medium. We’ve tried. She just screams ‘down with the patriarchy,’ and then usually the fire alarm goes off, but sometimes she arranges all the furniture in the MPR into the shape of a vulva. Also, no one here cares who wears a bra and who doesn’t. Like, that’s not an issue for us in Strong.”
Kathy’s most irritating habit, beyond frequently setting off the fire alarm late at night, stems from her love for Aretha Franklin.
“I love Aretha Franklin as much as the next guy,” said Leese, “but I’m tired of waking up to a punk metal cover of ‘Respect’ blasting in my ears. Also, I thought she was a 1970s lesbian separatist, not a ’90s Riot Grrl. Why does she scream everything? What era of feminist ideology does she come from?”
Kathy also targeted Student Fellows in Strong with what seems like a protest against penetrative sex.
“All of the condoms we keep on our doors were cut open. It looks like they’d had the tips cut off, then been cut down the side to make dental dams. Also, she’d arranged them to spell ‘Ban Penises,’ which was a little much,” said Student Fellow Jenji Warner.
To address the interruptions and safety concerns, Vassar College brought in a team of Catholic exorcists from New York City. Their efforts seemed only to provoke Kathy’s ire, however, inciting a rash of fire alarms going off and the sounds of “Respect” blasting through the dorm for a solid 48 hours.
Strong residents are consulting other spiritual leaders, but considering Kathy is often seen burning her own ghostly stick of sage, hopes remain low that her spirit can be put to rest anytime soon.