New Mexico Military Institute

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New Mexico Military Institute

New Mexico Military Institute
New Mexico Military Institute

(images:flickr/48088553@N03)

New Mexico Military Institute is a state supported educational institute in Roswell, New Mexico.  NMMI is one of only five military junior colleges and accepts between nine hundred and a thousand cadets each academic year to provide training and experience past that of a normal high school or college.

Initially, New Mexico Military Institute was founded as the Goss Military Academy, named after Colonel Robert S. Goss, who started the school with Captain Joseph C Lea in 1891.  The original land was donated by rancher James J Hagerman, the namesake of the main barracks.  Each had made quite the presence in his time and was excited to give back to the next generation of proud community members and the armed forces.

Eventually added to the National Register of Historic Places, the camp surely maintained a history that no cadet was ever quick to forget.  This was no ordinary school, each cadet lived their lives by tours and demerits and was quick to be punished or have privileges revoked for stepping out of line in any way.  They were not even allowed to leave post unless for some special occasion or the random weekend or holiday.

Many notables participated in school and military training at New Mexico Military Institute.  One well known hotelier who attended was Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotel chain.  Another well-known student was Sam Donaldson, ABC news anchor and reporter.  Other students went on to become pro ballplayers, judges, attorneys, governors or actors.

While the institute had a proud history and had an extensive list of cadets, programs, and success to brag about, there were also plenty of stories, students and instructors that were kept under wraps, for fear of ruining the reputation of such an upstanding and specialized institution.  Unfortunately, it did not take long for stories of the nearly forty purported ghosts to make their way out into the public.

New Mexico Military Institute

(images:flickr/reefbum333)

One of the stories involves the Blood Tower.  The Blood Tower is a three story tower located by the gymnasium.  It was initially intended to serve as an office area, but mostly just houses storage.  The story came as a result of the standard rigorous inspections that occurred every third Saturday for cadets.  Some students were notorious for sneaking off to the Tower to avoid checks.  One set of students set out to teach them a lesson and rigged the tower with booby traps.  Unfortunately, one trap failed, killing a cadet and sending the rest of the fugitives out into the middle of checks, terrified.

Another tower has cadets showing great respect.  This story stems from a polo match where some cadets were tragically killed when one of the horses got out of control.  A bell tower was erected near the site to honor them, complete with a locomotive bell.  Cadets tell stories of hearing the bell ring without warning.  The next day, a cadet dies.

Other stories involve a first Sergeant who roams the barracks.  Stories have it that he was murdered by a cadet who could not deal with the increasing number of demerits and punishments he was receiving.  The Sergeant seems to continue looking over his camp, even into death.  Police and security refuse to go near the auditorium and gymnasium after dark due to weird occurrences.  One report involved seeing wet footprints near the indoor pool, despite the building being locked and dark.

Megan Borchert
Megan Borchert
Lover of all things unusual, Megan is a staff attorney for the state of South Dakota. When she's not stuffed in an office writing case synopses, you can find her at home with her army of Schnauzers, snuggled up with some strong wine and a good book.

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