On the morning of March 9, the Health Services Office (HSO) was met with an influx of distraught students and faculty claiming to have witnessed unnerving events unfold when they passed through the various bridges, colloquially known as “warp zones”, that connect buildings on campus. HSO staff reported that a majority of them seemed visibly shaken as they recounted their experiences, with some breaking down in tears. Two students attested that they had caught the bizarre circumstances on camera, but when asked for evidence, they could not provide any.
Soon thereafter, the Building and Grounds Maintenance Office cordoned the bridges involved, installing signs that prompted people to leave the immediate area. This move stirred up commotion both online and on campus, with students and faculty alike seeking explanations. Many turned to unverified rumors posted on social media that leaned into ludicrous tales of paranormal activity, supplanted by a narrative blaming the whole incident on a gas leak.
Alaska* (II, AB-LIM), in an interview with The LuhSallian, narrates that she and her girlfriend were on their way to a 7:30 am class when they walked through the warp zone connecting Gokongwei Hall to St. Miguel Hall. “We didn’t notice anything different naman,” she recounts, adding that “pero halfway through, napansin namin na parang like we were walking na paikot-ikot lang, as per Sarah Geronimo. Char.”
(But halfway through [the bridge], we noticed that we were walking in circles, as per Sarah Geronimo.)
After a long pause, she recalls, “It felt parang like one of those horror movies talaga, where the characters are stuck in a gubat, tapos na-realize nila na they were walking paikot-ikot pala the whole time. We didn’t know kung gaano katagal na kaming naglalakad kasi it just went on and on and on.”
(It really felt like one of those horror movies where the characters are stuck in a forest, then they realize that they have been walking in circles this whole time. We didn’t know how long we had been walking because it just went on and on.)
On how they eventually made it the ground floor of Br. Connon Hall, Alaska explains, “‘Yung part na ‘yun, I don’t know, kasi nabura na sa isip ko kung how we got there sa clinic. Parang, anong tawag doon, amnesia? Where you forget anong nangyari.”
(That part, I don’t know; it has been erased from my mind how we got to the clinic. It is like, what do you call it, amnesia? Where you forget what happened.)
She claims that they don’t remember walking to the clinic, and it was almost as if they had instantly arrived. She further expresses that she felt lucky to have only been minorly bothered by the experience, as other students were not as fortunate.
A dark presence
One of those unlucky ones was Brian* (III, AB-CAM), who relays a more distressing encounter. To him, the event felt like a strange, waking nightmare—as if he had lost control of his body and was forced to experience the whole ordeal.
“Thereabouts hovered an undoubtedly, indubitably, unequivocally otherworldly presence,” he affirms, describing the experience as being akin to “the wormhole scene in Interstellar, where Dr. Amelia Brand makes visual and physical contact with beings reaching out to her through warped space-time.” He also recalls being surrounded by a vague and ethereal notion of maliciousness, as if he were a “lamb to slaughter”. There were also, he notes, multiple wispy, ink-black hands drifting down from the ceiling that seemed to phase through him.
An unsatisfying answer
To allay concerns about the event, the University decided an hour before noon to suspend classes campus-wide for the rest of the day, citing a need to ascertain the safety of the premises. A Help Desk announcement later that day stated that the University had conducted a chemical and radiological assessment of the incident bridges; while there was no gas or chemical leak, the background radiation in the area was found to be extremely low, almost as if something was absorbing it all. The warp zones would thereafter be closed to the public indefinitely, as more tests are needed to be carried out.
*Names with asterisks (*) are pseudonyms.