There’s hardly a campus in America that doesn’t have at least one ghost prowling around. From lonely library stacks to creepy clock towers, there’s no limit to the imagination when it comes to these hauntingly scary stories.
For example, at Washington and Lee University, the spirit of General Lee’s horse Traveller walks the grounds and takes up residence in his former stable each night. The College of William and Mary boasts of having several ghosts on campus, one of whom has haunted the hallways of the Christopher Wren Building since the Revolutionary War. And Georgetown University’s twin Victorian spires set the scene for a number of ghostly stories one of which involves the gruesome death of priest who was crushed while working on the clock at the top of Healy Hall.
College tour guides are often well-briefed on these legends and will usually share them with their groups. Be sure to ask because these stories often reflect the rich tradition or history of a college or university. And besides, they’re just plain fun!
While visiting colleges and universities across the country, independent educational consultants (IEC’s) routinely pick up campus ghost stories. Here are a few favorites from members of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA):
Chatham University, PA
“Chatham [University] has a gorgeous campus in the heart of Pittsburgh, with many of the buildings having been donated to the college by the robber barons and steel magnates of the past who once resided there. Fickes Residence Hall was built in 1927 for Edwin Stanton Fickes, ALCOA founder. It became a Chatham dorm in 1946 and over the years was rumored to be haunted.” Helane Linzer, Pittsburgh PA
More information: http://hauntsandhistory.blogspot.com/2007/11/chatham-college.html
Eastern Connecticut State University
Eastern Connecticut State University, CT
“At Eastern Connecticut State University, the all girls freshmen dormitory, Burr Hall, was claimed to be haunted by Gertrude Louise Beer. At the time of her attendance, the school was a teacher¹s college. It is believed she jumped, or fell, to her death from the third story of the building.”
More information: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-in/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=46636511
Gettysburg College, PA
“When I visited Gettysburg College, I heard stories about how it is haunted, since it is located right on a Civil War battle ground. Penn Hall was actually used as a hospital. There have been sightings of Civil War soldiers wandering campus and also a bloody civil war operating room.” Sue Luse, Eagan MN
Harvard University, MA
“Widener Library is the signature library of Harvard and boasted when I was there in late 80s of having the largest collection of books of any college in the world. The only problem with having so many, is that they had to dig deep into the earth below the library to build enough space to store everything! So we as students had to get on these creepy, small elevators that went into the dark bowels of Widener, several floors down sometimes, to do research. It really was like a dungeon down there—-dark walls, small carrels, tiny circular staircases—and often you did not see or here anyone else on the floor with you.
Widener was funded by the mother of a freshman who drowned at Harvard. We had a mandatory swimming test for freshman, as a result of the gift. People swear the ghost of the child can be seen wandering through the lower stacks, looking for students who tried to evade the requirement. Every time I heard a creek in the floor when I was studying there, I just knew it was the kid getting ready to tell me I better go fulfill Harvard’s mandatory freshman swim test (which I never did!).” Jacqueline Hicks Grazette, Annapolis MD
More information: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/10/harvards-haunted-houses/
“When I visited Pacific in June they talked about the admissions office being haunted. Specifically, there is a story about ‘Vera’ who plays with the doors so you are locked in, locked out, etc.” Wendie Lubic, Washington DC
More information: http://www.oregonlive.com/forest-grove/index.ssf/2013/10/ghost_of_vera_haunts_pacific_u.html
Rutgers New Brunswick
Rutgers New Brunswick, NJ
“Creepy stories haunt the Rutgers New Brunswick Campus, especially the College Avenue and Cook Douglass campuses in New Brunswick. Late evening TAs and RAs stay away from the old buildings on College Avenue like Miller Hall (a former mortuary). Students have reported creepy noises, lights going on and off and odd feeling of being tapped on the shoulder or being nudged.” Archana Sudame, Fremont CA
More information: http://www.dailytargum.com/article/2013/10/ghost-legends-continue-to-haunt-rutgers-campuses
University of Virginia
University of Virginia, VA
“My father, Fortescue W. Hopkins who graduated from UVA undergrad and law lived (well , I know he lived on the Range but he may have embellished the Poe room part!) in Edgar Allen Poe’s room at 13 West Range which was supposedly ‘haunted’ by Poe.” Susan Meyers, Houston TX
More information: http://uvamagazine.org/articles/ghoulish_grounds