Roger Williams hates Roger Williams

Talking to university namesake from beyond the grave

As we enter into the early weeks of November, or as most people call it, “pretty much Christmas,” we seem to gloss over just how important Halloween was for that one night on Oct. 31. Whether we were gathering treats in our baskets, TP-ing “Old Man Jenkins’” house, getting the police called on us by Old Man Jenkins, or spending the night in the county jail because Old Man Jenkins is friends with the sheriff, Halloween is a special night for everyone. As a 19-year-old “man,” society looks down upon me for dressing as Princess Elsa and asking an old lady down the street for some Milky Ways. Ergo, I must resort to contacting the deceased. 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this All-Hallows-Eve season I decided to test my luck with a good old Ouija board. Not to mention, I fooled around with one of these boards live on my radio show, The Bowden Breakdown on 88.3 FM WQRI, which you can catch on Tuesday nights from 8 to 10 p.m.

As my colleagues and I entered the cold, dark booth on that fateful night, I began to think about the movie I saw a year ago called “Ouija.” In this cinematic masterpiece, every time a character used one of these spirit boards, they would contact an evil demon spirit…. spooky! Well, at some point, that character would be brushing his teeth and popping his or her pimples in the mirror and suddenly they would look down and back up again, and their mouth would be stitched together. And I thought getting my wisdom teeth out was bad.

My fear settled in and I was ready to back out, but I thought to myself, “calm down, everyone here is safe and smart, you’ll be okay. Just put on some good music to start the show.” 

I began my radio program with a song from the soundtrack of “It” called “Every 27 Years,” which I recommend anyone to listen to if you want to struggle with sleep for the next 27 years. Once the song was done, I was hesitantly ready to place my hand on the planchette and begin the séance. We contact a few spirits, one evil, one I’m not allowed to speak about in this article out of fear of being haunted, and we also talked to everyone’s favorite Roger Williams University spirit, Banquo. 

For those of you who don’t know, there is a spirit that lives in the Performing Arts Center named Banquo who likes to play tricks during rehearsals and productions put on by the theatre and dance programs. Banquo is famous for his chair, which is on the second floor of the barn. It is said that if you sit on the chair, something bad will happen. After my first contact with Banquo, I realized he was misunderstood. Banquo is a pretty cool and funny guy. If you don’t mess with him, he won’t mess with you. In our conversation, Banquo confirmed to us that theatre kids (such as myself) are nerds, I was the most annoying person in the booth, and that occasionally evil spirits hang around the barn. Thanks for the insight, Banquo. 

Finally, we were about to wrap up our use of the Ouija board when we got in contact with a man who everyone on this campus knows. He began to tell us that he worked around Bristol, Rhode Island for a time but did a lot of work in this area. As we gathered more information, we had a sneaking suspicion we were talking to the man himself, Roger Williams. He claimed he was Roger Williams, but, a spirit can always lie. We then asked Roger some quiz questions that only he would know, and long story short, our group was in contact with the man himself, Roger Williams. 

We asked Roger if he liked that the university was named after him. He did not. We asked Roger if he liked that he had a statue of himself on campus. He did not. Then we asked Roger if he liked the fact that famous Red Sox baseball player, Ted Williams, was the basis for his statue. He definitely did not. 

In our brief encounter with Roger, we learned that he was a humble man that did not care for personal vanity and narcissism. Roger cared about others and regretted presiding over the selling of Native American slaves. He doesn’t like being romanticized and wanted his legacy to be carried on through ideals like separation of church and state and good deeds. 

We asked Roger if we could ever contact him again and he hesitated before saying no, meaning that it would be very difficult to talk to him again. It was easy for us to do so because Halloween is, after all, the day where the veil between the living and the supernatural is very thin. So, Roger, we’ll see you next year! But for now in November…. Merry Christmas!

Have you ever talked to a ghost? Is Roger Williams your best friend too? Should we change the name of the University, per request of Roger Williams? Email [email protected] with any questions!