Photo of spooky Mesa Building
Disclaimer: this is satire, happy Halloween!

If you’ve ever found yourself alone in the halls of the Mesa Building at night you might have felt a presence, heard a noise, or even a whisper. 

It’s a UTPB tale that spans decades. In an article published by the Odessa American on October 31, 1997, the author shared “students have claimed to have seen a young girl with blonde hair, wearing a white dress, dancing or walking on campus.” 

The UTPB ghost, more commonly known as Matilda, has many legends on why she lurks in the halls. 

“I first heard about Matilda during Orientation in 2007 when I was a student. The orientation leaders said that when the Mesa was being constructed, one of the construction workers buried his wife at the bottom of Stairwell 6. The orientation leaders said her ghost often visited what was then the Student Union, now the Student Success Center,” shared Mattie Cottrell, Assistant Dean of Students. 

For UTPB’s Graduate Studies Outreach Coordinator, Kaden Hayes, the story is similar. 

“One evening while Matilda was studying alone, she decided to take a break to review the progress of the Mesa building. She had to walk by the construction site to get to her car, so she figured she would just observe the building's progress. That’s when she felt like she was being followed so she decided to take a detour. This would prove to be her downfall as she wasn't aware that the concrete foundation was just poured that day. Matilda began to struggle as she could barely shift her legs through the thick concrete. The last thing that she saw were the whites of her husband's eyes.” 

Some have even had encounters with Matilda who, from what we’ve learned, is a friendly ghost. 

“I was a student employee in the Student Union and there was a piano in the multi-Purpose Room,” explained Cottrell. “I'd often hear it played, but when I would go to the bathroom or go into the MPR, there would be no one there, and the lights would be off.”  

“I don't remember if it was the late 70's or early 80's. I had been given a Sari by one of our students. I didn't take it home because another student was going to come to my office and show me how to put it on,” said Vicki Gomez, Retention Officer in the Office of Undergraduate Success. “I distinctly remember leaving it on top of one of the filing cabinets in my office. Later that week, it was nowhere to be found. I was devastated. I believe it was the next day when I pulled open one of my desk's drawers AND THERE IT WAS! I know that I would not have placed it in that particular drawer. At any rate, I believe it was Matilda playing games with me! That' s my story; and I'm sticking with it! 

While we may never know the truth behind Matilda, it’s certainly a fun or should we say spooky tale to share with our new students, faculty, and staff.  

So, the next time you’re in the Mesa after dark and you hear an unfamiliar noise, say hi to our friend Matilda. She’s a Falcon after all!