Dead nuns and other unsettling things

I was left alone in a crypt last week and it was just as scary as you can imagine being left in a crypt would be.

I had been interviewing the director of the CES program at the U of Maastricht were I take my classes about a story concerning the Bonnefanten building. The Bonnefanten building is the building where the CES is housed and it has a considerable amount of historical context; it was originally built in 1627!

After the interview he asked me if I wanted to see the crypt under the building, which was originally a cloister. He told me the crypt held the tombs of the nuns who first built the cloister in the 17th century.

Naturally I was interested, especially after he mentioned that the crypt was hardly ever shown to the public.

He took me downt he front entrance hall, which is now the reception desk and Coffee Lover coffee shop and veered to the right just before exiting out of the sliding glass doors. He stepped behind a display of U of Maastricht sweatshirts and removed a security rope from in front of a tiny stone staircase leading down into a pitch black opening.

Following him down the narrow staircase and carefully batting at the cobwebs above my head, I stepped into complete darkness.

“There is a light somewhere on this wall,”  said the director. I could hear his hands scraping along the wall to the left of me.

“I have a cellphone,” I said pulling it out of my bag and flipping it open to shine an eery light into the gloom.

The crypt extended several yards or more to my right and down the wall opposite of me I could barely make out the coffins of the nuns set into the stone. I stepped out tentatively to read the name on the one nearest me when the director spoke.

“I am going to ask about the light,” he said and then turned and vanished without a word, leaving me in the dark crypt by myself.

For several moments I just stood in the dark looking at the bluish light shining on the stone coffin in front of me. Then I began turning all around me and walking the length of the room to make sure nothing was hiding in the corners. Satisfied, I stood in the middle of the room waiting for the director to turn on the light.

He came back about five minutes later apologising nonchallantly for the lack of light and helping me out of crypt as if it had been completely normal to leave a young american girl underground in the dark with only dead nuns for company.

I emerged from the crypt into the front entrance of the CES building with its bustling students and lingering coffee drinkers and laughed at the completely surreal experience I just had.

~Claire

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