The 7 Most Haunted College Campuses
Writer & Editor
Writer & Editor
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- Many older U.S. colleges and universities are said to be home to restless spirits.
- Students have reported moving objects, eerie sounds, and ghostly apparitions.
- Some of the most haunted campuses include Ohio University and Gettysburg College.
In addition to educating millions of students over the centuries, some of our oldest universities may play host to a different kind of school spirit. Attending a haunted college can be quite exciting as Halloween approaches. And if you haven't yet decided where to attend school, maybe some local legends will tempt you.
We've tracked down some of the spookiest stories from colleges across the country.
1. Ohio University — Athens, Ohio
Ohio University is considered one of the most haunted universities in the U.S. Until 1993, the Athens Lunatic Asylum — known for procedures like lobotomies and electroshock therapy — operated right across the street from the university. It has since been the source of many strange sightings and tales of hauntings.
The university is also known for a haunted dorm in Wilson Hall. Room 428 was home to several deaths, a rumored astral projection, and poltergeist activity. Students who stayed in the room reported objects flying off shelves and shattering against walls, and the door slamming open and shut repeatedly.
Not only has the room sat unoccupied for decades, but it's also sealed shut and declared uninhabitable.
2. Smith College — Northampton, Massachusetts
This New England college has been around since 1871 and still maintains Colonial-era buildings. It's the perfect setting for ghost stories, and the local lore is full of them. Smith College even has an online encyclopedia cataloging its ghost stories.
The most famous story takes place in Sessions House, built in 1751. During the Revolutionary War, a British Army general was held prisoner at the house by an American lieutenant. The general fell in love with the lieutenant's daughter, and they met on a staircase hidden in the house.
Though they were parted during their lifetime, rumor has it that the ghostly lovers can still be found on the secret staircase. It's a Halloween tradition at Smith for new students to find the staircase — a real feature of the home.
3. University of Notre Dame — Notre Dame, Indiana
Washington Hall at the University of Notre Dame is said to host the ghost of a former student, George Gripp, who died in the 1920s. On a cold winter night, Gripp had been locked out of the dorm after coming home past curfew. He slept outside and later died from pneumonia.
On his deathbed, Gripp gave the Notre Dame football coach a speech ending in "Win just one for the Gripper." It wasn't long after that the students of Washington Hall began hearing strange noises like music at odd hours, phantom footsteps, random horns, and rustling.
4. Gettysburg College — Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Souls from the Battle of Gettysburg are thought to haunt the Gettysburg College campus. The oldest building on campus, Penn Hall, served as a morgue and hospital for wounded soldiers during the battle. People have reported the elevator door opening to the Penn Hall basement and seeing a working Civil War hospital full of soldiers.
Additionally, Stevens Hall is known for being haunted by a ghost called "blue boy." He is said to have been an orphan that some of the girls who lived in the hall snuck into their room on a cold winter night. When their house-mother came in, the orphan snuck onto the window ledge to hide. But when the girls went to let him in again, he was nowhere to be found.
Residents have reported seeing his blue face pressed against the window and hearing strange noises in the dorm.
5. Kenyon College — Gambier, Ohio
The haunted reputation of Kenyon College is prolific enough to warrant its own haunted tour.
The most significant story is based in truth. In 1949, the Old Kenyon dorm building burned down in a fire that killed nine students. The building has since been rebuilt, but many residents have reported seeing ghosts walk the halls or knock things down. Some students claim they've been woken up by people screaming to get out or warning of a fire.
Another haunted spot is the Caples Residence. In 1979, a student fell down the elevator shaft and died from his injuries. Many students who have since resided there have shared stories of sensing a ghost sitting on their bed, lights and showers turning on and off, and screams.
6. Fordham University — Bronx, New York
Fordham University is home to several tales of haunted halls, catalogued by its library and made more eerie after "The Exorcist" was filmed in the school's Hughes Hall. Students have claimed to see a small boy wandering the hall and locked doors regularly swinging open.
Another dormitory, Finley, was once Fordham's Medical School. It had lofted rooms where medical students could watch cadaver dissections. Those cadavers were also held in the basement. Students who have lived there since say they've woken up in the night feeling as if they were a cadaver being tagged — a tugging on a toe, or someone grabbing at their throat.
Residents also say they've seen ghostly students peering down from the loft.
7. Huntingdon College — Montgomery, Alabama
Huntingdon College is haunted by a ghost called the Red Lady, who resides in Pratt Hall and is known to be a rather vengeful spirit. Students have seen a ghostly woman in a red gown with a red parasol gliding up the corridors. The ghost is said to be a former student named Martha who was very fond of the color red and became increasingly isolated from her peers.
After failed attempts to befriend others at her school, Martha's behavior grew odder. She would roam the halls late at night and open the doors to other students' rooms. One evening, Martha was found dead in her room. Legend has it that her spirit continues to wander Pratt Hall, warning students not to mistreat their peers.
Frank, the library ghost, is also quite the legend at Huntingdon. The Houghton Memorial Library staff have said they'll often leave rooms and come back to find them rearranged. Books will fall off shelves and doors left closed are suddenly reopened a moment later.
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