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El Paso High hosts annual Halloween tunnel tours

Pricilla Gomez

For the ninth year in a row, the El Paso High School alumni association hosted their annual Halloween Tunnel Tours that takes visitors on a trip through the basement of the 102-year-old school.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, guests got an inside look to the tunnel that runs beneath the floors of the oldest high school in El Paso, while learning about the history and legends that haunt the halls of El Paso High School (EPHS).

“People are always excited for the tours and most people have never been down there,” said Christina Favela, E.P.H.S. alumni association member and tour guide. “I like to point out spots where people have seen ghost and the history behind it.”

EPHS was built in 1916 with two basements, which are now used for the tunnel tours and a sub-basement that is now closed to all.

Tour guides take visitors through the basement above the sub-basement that once stored bodies because of its constant cool temperature.

“Nobody has been allowed into the sub-basement except in the very beginning,” said Linda Troncoso, president of the El Paso High alumni association and tour guide. “There are rumors that the school was once used as a morgue and that’s true, it was.”

During the tour, the guides address stories about an abandoned classroom and other ghosts hauntings. 

“The part that creeped me out the most was the story about the abandoned classroom that has backpacks and notebooks,” said Vianni Paquian, organizational and corporate communication student at UTEP. “They showed us a blocked off wall that seemed like it could have been a classroom at one point.”

Although tours do not guarantee ghost sightings or supernatural encounters, many visitors have noted sightings of orbs, figures and faces, some even caught on camera.

“The building is 102-years-old, of course there are ghosts,” Troncoso said. “We have never had a bad ghost story though.”

All along the tour guests are not only taught the haunted legends of EPHS, but they are also told the history of the school by those who love and know it best.

“I enjoy sharing the history and love for my school,” Favela said. “It’s a storytelling time and basically EPHS history in a nutshell.”

While guests waited for the tour to begin they had the opportunity to visit the EPHS Museum, located inside the building. The museum will soon be relocated to the old custodians’ house across from the high school next spring.

After being elected president for the second time for the UTEP alumni association in 2009, Troncoso began the Halloween Tunnel Tours as a fundraising project.

“I had to come up with a fundraiser and decided to do a history tour for former alumni and I started adding the tunnel stories and that’s when we started the tunnel tours,” Troncoso said.

Proceeds made from this year’s Halloween Tunnel Tours will go to the construction of the new alumni museum that will continue to tell the history of EPHS.

Catherine Ramirez may be reached at [email protected].

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El Paso High hosts annual Halloween tunnel tours