Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado, Boulder (Room 304)
Wednesday, May 14th, 200820:00MT until 23:30MT
Calm and cloudy between
40-60 degrees with a light rain during the last hour
phase:Waxing gibbous with 75% of
the Moon's visible disk illuminated
Macky Auditorium has a colorful
history that spans most of the twentieth century. The building underwent thirteen years of construction, culminating in a
1923 opening. Boulder-based gold prospector, pioneer, and banker left $300,000 to the University
of Boulder in his will. Macky was a self-made man of humble origins, who believed
passionately in the value of education.
Over the years, a plethora
of big names from the worlds of entertainment and culture have appeared at Macky. Rather than provide an exhaustive history
here, readers are referred to visit http://www.colorado.edu/macky/history.html for further information.
Sadly, Macky is renowned
for a tragic event that has spawned an urban legend. Elaura Jaquette, a deeply religious 20-year-old zoology student, was
known to her friends and family as “Lauri”. She was last seen alive during the summer of 1966, eating lunch on
the CU campus grounds.
Her body was found later
that day in room 304 of Macky auditorium’s western tower, used as a practice room for music students at that time. Reports
state that the walls were covered in blood, reaching a height of seven feet. The murder weapon was believed to be a piece
of wood which was also found at the scene. Subsequent autopsy by the Boulder County Coroner determined that sexual assault
had taken place. Elaura had been repeatedly battered with the wooden board, sustaining numerous skull and facial fractures,
and losing several teeth. The Coroner also recorded contusions and lacerations on Elaura’s neck, throat, and buttocks.
Based on blood trails, detectives concluded that Elaura had tried to crawl out of the room, but was swung by her feet, striking
her head on the walls.
Following an extensive investigation,
police arrested a Longmont man named Joseph Dyre Morse, aged 37. Morse was employed
at the CU campus as a janitor. Suspicion first fell on Morse thanks to his own daughters, who witnessed him carrying bloodied
clothing in a bucket on the day of the murder. Once Morse was in custody, a palm-print made in blood on the murder weapon
was found to be his. Morse was convicted and sentenced to 888 years in prison, where he died in 2005. Despite protestations
of innocence, Morse confessed to the crime in 1980.
These are the facts of the
case, as far as they go. At this point, we enter the realm of urban legend, rumor, and fanciful storytelling. Ghost stories
have sprung up around the murder, including claims of organ music playing from the deserted music room in the dead of night.
When asked about such claims, Technical Manager J.P. Osnes soon set us straight.
Mr. Osnes has worked at Macky
for many years. During his time spent in the building, he has never experienced
inexplicable activity in the building, nor does he know of anyone who has. The stories of “ghostly goings-on”
at Macky seem to be the usual myths that spread among new student intakes at educational institutions around the world, attempts
to scare and chill those of a nervous disposition. Osnes stated that squatters and students have been found attempting to
break into room 304 (now serving as an office), particularly around Hallowe’en.
A visit from
the C.U. Police, who were extremely helpful and supportive of our research efforts, corroborated this information. Although
lights had been reported on in the building during night-time hours, the source frequently turns out to be a break-in of some
kind, carried out by thrill-seeking students. Macky Auditorium staff are quite understandably tired of hearing about the so-called
haunting, and of dealing with illegal incursions.
Our investigation began at
hours. Campus police provided access to the locked western tower. A touching
memorial message to Elaura Jaquette is scrawled on the wall outside room 304 in pencil. The room itself is stacked with boxes,
cartons, and various storage containers. It is extremely dusty. The room does have a live power supply.
We carried out baseline readings
and photographs first. Temperature readings were consistently in the 72-75 Fahrenheit range. EMF readings were normal throughout
the course of the investigation, with apparent anomalies being traced to the electrical wiring. Geiger counter readings for
alpha, beta, and gamma particles did not exceed background at any time. At no point during our investigation did any of these
measurable parameters exceed normal tolerances.
Several EVP sessions were
conducted. Our first session involved all members of the group. The second was composed of only the female investigators,
whereas the third and final session involved only the men. A possible EVP captured on the 3rd session saying “Hello”
14.31 minutes in on the recording has been traced, we believe, to being Nichole’s voice. A whistling which was captured
on several digital voice recorders was traced to being the voice of J.P. Osnes, who entered the building at the end of the
investigation to conduct a guided tour for us and to answer questions.
Nichole believed she experienced
a cold spot on two occasions, but we were unable to verify this objectively as our thermometers detected no variances in the
air temperature around her or on her skin itself. Even should such changes have occurred, the most reasonable explanation
would have been a draught in the room.
Our investigation closed
at approximately with no appreciable results. We uncovered no evidence whatsoever
of paranormal activity taking place in room 304, which is hardly surprising when taking into account the flimsy testimony
and “friend-of-a-friend” eyewitness accounts on which the legend has been based. There is not a shred of objective
data to support the contention of this room being haunted. Despite this, the ghost story continues to proliferate across both
the C.U. campus and the Internet. Flamboyant Boulder tour guide Banjo Billy incorporates
the story into his guided bus tour. In reality, this is almost certainly nothing more than a fireside ghost story that has
grown up out of a very real tragedy. Our deepest sympathies lie with Elaura Jaquette and her family, and we would like to
extend our thanks to Mr. Osnes at Macky Auditorium and to the C.U. Police.
A frontal view of the main auditorium entrance.
A view of the tower and connecting room in which the murder took place.
A nocturnal view of the front, or "A", side of the auditorium.
Richard is rather disconcerted to find a 1980-vintage copy of "Prison Life" magazine.
Residue of the crime can still be found on the walls.
A touching and poignant epitaph, scrawled on the wall outside room 304
Looking down the tower staircase from the doorway of room 304
Loud rustling and scratching noises from outside the building indicated the presence of an uninvited guest...
Room 304 is kept locked, and used primarily for junk storage.