Hya, the ghost haunting building 20
October 27, 2017
For the hundreds of students who frequent the Ohlone campus every day, Building 20 appears no different than any other building.
However, between its columns hides a decades old ghost legend, mingling Ohlone’s rich history with urban legend and mystery.
While the details of the legend vary depending on who you ask, the ghost that haunts Building 20 is known to most as Hya. According to legend, Hya was a maid who worked for the owners of the house. When Hya and the owner had an affair, the owner’s wife killed Hya in jealousy and hid her body in a closet somewhere in Building 20.
As with most legends, Hya’s story predates most employees working on the Ohlone campus today. Despite having worked for the college for 18 years, Nam Hoang, senior accountant at Ohlone, admitted she had only worked in Building 20 for one year before her department moved out of the building. She recalls hearing tales of the ghost handed down in snippets, with brief personal experiences and stories from coworkers forming the puzzle pieces to an only partially realized fixture of Ohlone ghost lore.
Hoang described encounters with Hya that she had heard in passing: doors slamming, typewriters moving on their own, and floors creaking when no one was walking on them. But in departure from most traditional ghost tales, Hya has never been associated with any violence or ill-will toward Ohlone employees. At most, Hya has been described as an annoyance. While actual sightings of Hya are few and far between, she has been described by some as a woman in white. Some have even said they heard footsteps on the stairs and in the parking lot, as Hya followed them to their cars.
Building 20’s colorful past isn’t limited to ghost tales and hearsay. In 2000, an electrical fire ravaged the house, burning it to the ground. Shortly thereafter, no encounters with Hya were recorded . Ohlone renovated the house and moved the campus police into the new building.