Post by Joanna on Jan 28, 2014 0:06:20 GMT -5
Mysterious Heartland's Top 10 Most Haunted Colleges in the Midwest
All colleges and universities have their lore – haunted stories that are passed down through generations of students. But one Minnesota college has made a list of the Top Ten Most Haunted Colleges in the Midwest. Mysterious Heartland lists St. Olaf College in Northfield sixth on its list. St. Olaf was founded in 1874 and it isn’t short on ghost stories. According to Mysterious Heartland, in 1887, the college newspaper, The Manitou Messenger reported two ghosts were seen gliding through the upper floor of Ladies Hall. Today, several residence halls, the library and the theater all have ghost stories attached to them. There are reports about a boy in a red cap who appears in Thorson Hall, a woman dressed in lavender known to hang around the Kelsey Theater or various other stories affecting several of the campus buildings. The school’s Vice-President for Student Life, Greg Kneser, has been active in most of the documentation of the incidents over the years. Kneser has kept a ghost file containing many of the reported instances. He also has been known to hold campus tours of residence halls and other areas of campus where the hauntings have been known to occur. The hauntings have become more fun than fright now, but Richard Hagen is a paranormal investigator from Minneapolis and a St. Olaf graduate. He has conducted investigations in a few buildings on campus. He told the Northfield News the school is “ripe with spirits.” In the report, Hagen says the activity seems to increase in the fall when students return to school because the spirits want to make their presence known.
Here’s the list of the schools and their haunts:
10. Northwest Missouri State University (Maryville, Missouri). The spooky story of Roberta Hall (above) has been told many times by students and faculty at Northwest Missouri State. In fact, the ghostly tale has been featured both in books and on television and incorporated into the school’s official history. The tragic story of Roberta Steele is recounted in Northwest journalism instructor Jason Offutt’s book Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State’s Most Spirited Spots. In 1951, Steele was an undergraduate living on campus in what was then known simply as Residence Hall. On April 28 of that year a gasoline storage tank adjoining railroad tracks running behind the dormitory exploded, sending a steel beam crashing into the building and causing a fire. Steele was among the worst injured among 30 students hurt in the blast. She never really recovered and died of her injuries a year and a half later. Ever since, her spirit is said to haunt the building named in her memory, and students still share stories about strange goings-on – chairs moving on their own, televisions malfunctioning and doors closing as though by a ghostly hand. “Northwest has appeared in several books about haunted haunted colleges in the U.S. and haunted places in Missouri,” Kleen said. “Most of my information came from Haunted Schools by A. S. Mott. His description of the ghost in Roberta Hall and the incident that led to her death really struck a chord with me.” Offutt, who has written four books about paranormal phenomena, has interviewed both students and alumni about their experiences in Roberta Steele’s old dorm. “I talked to a student who was here in the late ‘90s,” Offutt said. “She was in bed and woke up and saw a girl walking around the room. She thought it was her roommate, but turned and saw her roommate was in bed. She then looked back at the girl (who had) disappeared.”
Roberta Hall isn’t the only supposedly haunted building on the Northwest campus. Ghostly sightings at Wells and Franklin Halls have been reported as well. Because of his interest in the subject, students sometimes seek out Offutt to tell him stories about ghosts they have seen. The Wells Hall ghost is usually described as a student-like apparition with dark hair and a blue shirt. He has been seen both in the basement and in the studios of Public Radio KXCV on the top floor. In Franken Hall, a summer residential assistant was reportedly preparing the building for students when he saw a young person sitting on a bed. When the assistant entered the room the temperature in the un-air-conditioned building turned ice cold. The RA turned and ran.
9. Michigan State University (Lansing). Mary Mayo Hall is widely regarded as the most haunted place on the MSU campus. Mayo is said to be inhabited by a strange presence in the basement corridor and a female figure has been seen in the West lounge. Also, the piano in the East Lounge plays by itself and some swear the phantom pianist is none other than Mary Mayo herself. Students have reported seeing a male figure enter the elevator on the sixth floor of West Holmes Hall. Immediately after the door closes it reopens revealing an empty elevator. Appliances have also been known to turn on and off by themselves on the sixth floor. In South Hubbard Hall, Students have seen the apparition of a man walking into the 12th floor elevator of South Hubbard Hall and riding down to the ninth floor. When the elevator gets to No. 9, the door opens and passengers feel a cold breeze pass them. Everyone on the floor has experienced doors slamming, appliances going on and off of their own accord and windows opening and closing unaided by human hands.
8. Millikin University (Decatur, Illinois). Named for the James Millikin, the man who bankrolled the school, it opened in 1903 and was dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt. Classes begin September 15 of that year. Its numerous ghost stories have their origins early in its history. One story, involving the light of a long-deceased railroad watchman named Tommy, has been told on campus since the 1930s. The old gymnasium, now used primarily as a storage area, is the scene of echoes from days gone by. According to ghost-hunter and author Troy Taylor, students have heard the sounds of sporting event while alone in the abandoned gym. Aston Hall, formerly an all-female dorm, is reportedly haunted by the spirit of a young woman named Bernice, who committed suicide there in 1927. She roams the third floor, but for some reason, only her upper body is visible.
7. Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Marquette, situated near the heart of Milwaukee, was founded in 1881 as a Jesuit, Roman Catholic university and named for 17th Century missionary and explorer Father Jacques Marquette. Johnston Hall, the oldest academic building on campus, was reportedly built over an American Indian settlement (some say over a burial ground). The hall originally served as a home for Jesuit professors and a priest allegedly hanged himself in his room on the fifth floor. Glenn Humphrey Hall, a student apartment complex, was originally the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Marquette acquired it in 1988 and students who live there have reportedly heard the phantom screams of children. On the fifth floor, the spirit of a young girl has been seen, but she is shy and vanishes when approached. “Whispering Willie,” a boy who drowned in the pool when East Hall was home to the YMCA, haunts that building.
6. St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota). Named for the Patron Saint of Norway, King Olaf II, St. Olaf College was founded in 1874 by Lutheran Norwegian immigrants. Its scenic campus is home to two buildings on the National Register of Historic Places: Old Main and Steensland Library. The college is also known for its scholarship on Danish existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Throughout its history, St. Olaf College has embraced its otherworldly residents. In 1887, the college newspaper, The Manitou Messenger, reported that two ghosts were seen gliding through the upper floor of Ladies Hall. However, most of the ghostly activity at St. Olaf centers on Ytterboe Hall. Originally called the Boys Dormitory, it was built in 1900 on what was reputed to be sacred Indian land. Professor Halvor Ytterboe died attempting to disinfect the hall with formaldehyde during a scarlet fever outbreak. The hall was later named in his honor, and his ghost is said to dwell there. In Thorson Hall, a young woman was awakened one night by what sounded like the screams of a child. After checking with other residents, she learned she was the only one who heard the strange cries.
5. Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa). Founded in 1858 as Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, the school became Iowa State University of Science and Technology in 1959. It is now a large public university with a student population of more than 33,000. While known for its degree programs in agriculture, engineering, and science, ISU is also home to less rational elements. Fisher Theater is said to be haunted by the spirit of Frederica Shattuck, whose contributions to the theater department led to Shattuck Theater’s being named in her honor. The theater was later torn down, and according to Cynthia Thuma and Catherine Lower’s book Creepy Colleges and Haunted Universities, Shattuck’s took up residence in Fisher Theater. Students hear disembodied voices and on occasion, a wheelchair that belonged to Shattuck reportedly moves about of its own accord. What are described as “low moans” are sometimes heard in Gold Star Hall, which memorializes ISU students who died in the service of our country. One former alumna, Hortense Elizabeth Wind, became a Red Cross nurse in World War I and staff claim her wraith is responsible for the moaning sounds. The Farm House Museum is believed to be haunted by the spirits of two sisters.
4. University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana). Notre Dame was founded in 1842 by Father Edward Sorin, a Catholic priest, and operated as an all-male institution until 1972. Notre Dame, of course, is famous for its football team, the Fighting Irish, and it is this athletic legacy that has given birth to the school’s most enduring legend. In 1920, George “The Gipper” Gipp was selected as Notre Dame’s first All-American football player. Unfortunately, he died on December 14, 1920, at the age of 25, of a streptococcal throat infection. Students say the ghost of Gipp still haunts his old room in Washington Hall (above), which is now home to the university’s drama club. The poltergeist activities include falling props and phantom music and one school janitor reportedly encountered the apparition of an elderly, balding man, who asked for help opening a window before vanishing into thin air. According to legend, the spirits of American Indians roam the grounds in the vicinity of Columbus Hall, which was built on land formerly owned by the Potawatomi tribe.
3. Benedictine University (Lisle, Illinois). Founded in 1887 as Procopius College, Benedictine is a private, Catholic university with a student population of approximately 5,000. Originally located on Chicago’s Lower West Side, the current campus dates to 1901, the beginning of the Edwardian era. The school changed its name to Benedictine College in 1971 and to Benedictine University in 1996. Students are convinced the university’s imposing halls, woods and cemetery are haunted by tortured ghosts. They speak of rituals in the woods where a woman’s body was once discovered and of the death of a student who committed suicide by lying in the street. Lake Saint Benedict, a swampy, kidney-shaped slough next to the cemetery, adds to the spooky atmosphere. According to both Ursula Bielski and Dale Kaczmarek, ghost-hunters/authors, several students have attempted to contact the spirit of a former monk via the Ouija Board, with disastrous results. For example, a young woman living in Neuzil Residence Hall blamed a séance gone wrong for a fire that started in her room, and several boys were scared witless after using a Ouija Board to the cemetery. These events took place during the early 1990s as the school entered its second century.
2. Ripon College (Ripon, Wisconsin). Ripon is a small liberal arts school with a student population of only 930. Founded in 1851, the college has a number of notable alumni, including Harrison Ford. For such a small institution, Ripon seems to have more than its fair share of resident spirits and oddly, most of these ghosts are heard, but not seen. On one occasion, an injured football player was lying down resting in Room 104 of Brockway Hall, when he was interrupted three times by phantom knocks on the door. Another football player heard his name being called and awakened to see a grey apparition in his room. In Hughes House, a group of freshman girls heard wailing sounds emanating from the upper floor and saw shadows moving about. One of the most well-known campus ghosts is that of Raphael, who began haunting the Red Barn Theater in 1964. He makes his presence known through phantom footsteps and sometimes wails and makes other mysterious noises.
1. Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio). Founded in 1824, Kenyon is the oldest private college in Ohio. In 2010, it was named one of the most beautiful colleges in the world by Forbes Magazine for its stunning Gothic revival architecture and picturesque campus. Kenyon also has more ghosts per capita than any other school in the Midwest. One of the most notable hauntings occurs at Old Kenyon Dorm, which burned down in 1949. Old Kenyon was originally built in 1827, making it one of the oldest Gothic revival buildings in the United States, and was immediately rebuilt. The legless ghosts of nine students who died in the fire are said to haunt the first floor of the new building, while Stuart Lathrop Pierson, a Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity pledge, who died during his initiation has been seen on the fourth floor. According to legend, Pierson was struck and killed by a train on October 28, 1905, and appears in a window of his old dorm on the anniversary of his death.
According to Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard, there are no less than seven other haunted buildings on campus, including Norton, Lewis, Manning, Caples, Werthheimer and Shaffer Halls, as well as the Hill Theatre. The theater is said to be haunted by the spirits of two individuals who were killed in a drunk driving accident. Poltergeist activity in Lewis Hall is attributed to a student who allegedly committed suicide. Other ghosts are said to appear throughout the campus, making Kenyon College a very haunted place!
Sources: Kevin Birdsell, Maryville Daily Forum; Aaron Ziemer, BringMeTheNews, January 25, 2014; MSU Ghosts; and Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin.