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Jun 11 2017
by Meghan Field

15 of the Most Haunted College Campuses in the US

By Meghan Field - Jun 11 2017

Have you ever wondered if there were some evil spirits wandering your college campus back in the day or even currently? While a lot of colleges have a positive vibe and outlook today, they have some pretty deep, dark histories that give the college their identity today. While not every incoming student is worried about ghost stories per se, it is always important to note that even today some students are still feeling the wrath of some ghosts of the past whether it is superstitions or if it is actually real.

1. The Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA)

Even as a well-respected school that is home to 47,000 students, Penn State has its share of scary ghost stories. Old Coaly, a mule, was the original Penn State mascot. He was rumored to help build Penn State back in the 1850s by pulling around carts on campus. Once he died, he was taken to a taxidermist and was placed in Watts Hall. Currently, his original bones are in the HUB behind a glass display case. Room 318 in Runkle Hall is also reported to be haunted by various students throughout the years. A cottage on campus dating back to 1909, known as the Old Botany Building, houses the ghost of Frances Atherton, the widow of former Penn State President George Atherton. When George Atherton died, he was buried outside of the Schwab Auditorium, which is directly across the street from Old Botany. Frances Atherton is rumored to look over her husband’s grave each night. George Atherton is said to haunt the Schwab Auditorium. In 1969, a student named Betsy Armada was stabbed to death in the Stacks, a popular study space for students in the Pattee Library. Her murder was never solved. Penn State also has a Paranormal Research Lab, which eventually turned into a reality TV show on A&E called Paranormal State, so even today there are some pretty avid ghost hunters at Penn State.

The Pattee portion of Penn State's Pattee and Paterno Library, where Betsy Armarda was murdered. Photo Credit: Lawrence Rice via Flickr Creative Commons

2. Ohio University (Athens, OH)

Ohio University is known as one of the spookiest college campuses ever. Before becoming a university, it was an asylum where primitive treatments took place on its lunatic patients. Currently, room 428 in Wilson Hall is closed off because of its sketchy history. One day, a female student in the room starting acting odd. She spoke in tongues and then plummeted to her death. Even though the room has been sealed and no one can go in it, students living in surrounding rooms have reported hearing unexplained voices and flying objects. Students have also said that in another residence hall they see a ghost of a student who was once a huge Bob Marley fan and can hear her getting upset over the song “Laura.” In a separate dorm, students claim that it is haunted by a basketball team of Ohio University’s past. Pretty creepy.

Photo Credit: eric81979 via Flickr Creative Commons

3. Boston University (Boston, MA)

Once home to Eugene O’Neill, a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, the fourth floor of the Shelton Hotel was his home for the last two years of his life until he died from bronchial pneumonia in 1953. In 1954, Boston University took ownership over the hotel and named it Shelton Hall. Students have reported some eerie happenings in Shelton Hall, such as the elevator randomly stopping on the fourth floor, dimmer hallway lights compared to other floors and students willingness to want to connect with O’Neill’s ghostly spirit.

Photo Credit: Pearce Levrais via Flickr Creative Commons

4. Fordham University (New York City, NY)

Some scary events have taken place on Fordham University’s campus. In addition to parts of the movie “The Exorcist” being filmed on Fordham’s campus, ghostly sightings and paranormal activity have been spotted in Keating Hall and Findlay Hall. Students in these halls have reported that they have been woken up by ice cold hands gripped around their neck, cold spots in the lobby, a blonde-haired ghost in the showers, chairs slamming against the wall when no one is around and doors shutting randomly. These dorms were built atop a morgue, nonetheless.

Photo Credit: Ying Chan via Flickr Creative Commons

5. Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA)

A college built atop the famous Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War screams ghosts, am I right? During the war, the Union Troops and the Confederates used Pennsylvania Hall at the college as a hospital and signal post. One night back in the 1960s, two campus staff members went on the elevator in Pennsylvania Hall and instead of going to the specified floor the elevator took them down to the basement where they saw a hospital scene from the war with many dead soldiers. Currently, some favorite ghosts of the students include “the Blue Boy” who is a young orphan boy whose face is frozen, “the Lone Sentinel” with an old-fashioned gun and a female ghost who loves current fashion.

Photo Credit: Stephen Lady via Flickr Creative Commons

6. Kenyon College (Kenyon, OH)

The Gates of Hell. Did you think that was only a rumor? Well, at Kenyon College, it is believed to be a truth by many. In 1949, nine students died in a fire and now haunt the campus. The ghosts are said to let out crying screams, jam furniture against dorm room doors so there is no escape, turn on showers, leave wet footprints along residence halls and even flush toilets. The Gates of Hell are located at Kenyon’s South entrance and it is believed that if someone passes through the gates at midnight the bells at the nearby Church of the Holy Spirit ring and the passerby goes straight to hell.

Photo Credit: davenport_6 via Flickr Creative Commons

7. The University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN)

At Notre Dame, Washington Hall has seen some strange paranormal activity. A student, known as the Gipper, loved to be out past curfew and one winter night was locked out of his dorm, caught pneumonia and died right on the steps of Washington Hall. A construction worker also fell to his death at Washington Hall. Various other ghosts haunt Washington Hall.

Photo Credit: Sizun Eye via Flickr Creative Commons

8. University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

In 1913 Confederate surgeon Bennett Wood died and all of his books were gifted to the University of Virginia. The books were placed in the Rotunda Library where Wood’s ghost haunted until 1937 until the books were moved to the Alderman Library in 1938. Wood’s ghost was fearless and followed his books. An admirer of Wood’s books, Muscoe Russell Hunter Garnett, is also believed to watch over Wood’s books. Both of their spirits haunt the library.

Photo Credit: Onasill Bill Bazdo via Flickr Creative Commons

9. East Tennessee University (Johnson City, TN)

There are three major ghosts at East Tennessee University: Sidney Gilbreath, Marble Boy and Christine Burleson. Gilbreath was a past president of East Tennessee University who resides in Gilbreath Hall and turns of lights and slams windows shut. Marble Boy is seen in Clement Hall and appears right after the sound of marbles is heard. Burleson, an old English professor, is seen carrying around a photograph of her father David Sinclair Burleson. Students and faculty members have had nothing but nice things to say about these three tame ghosts.

Photo Credit: Malcolm MacGregor via Flickr Creative Commons

10. University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

Susie Carithers was given a large present on her wedding day. It was a house that is now the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority house at the University of Georgia. Her groom was running late and never showed up for the wedding so she hung herself in the loft of her house. She now haunts the sorority. The Phi Mu sorority house is also haunted. Sisters often use an Ouija Board to contact the spirit of Anna Hamilton, whose fiance was allegedly murdered in front of the Phi Mu house by his family.

Photo Credit: Hugo A Moran Chavez via Flickr Creative Commons

11. Huntington College (Montgomery, AL)

Years ago, a girl named Margaret started attending Huntington College. She never really wanted to be there especially since Alabama was really far from her home in New York. Although she was extremely quiet and isolated, she was known as the girl with a love for the color red. One day she decided to slit her wrists in her dorm because her sadness and despair got the best of her. Once she died from suicide, her ghost that still haunts Pratt Hall today became known as the “Red Lady.” On the anniversary of her death, a red glow shines in her room. Another suicide victim's favorite color was green and at night, his green spirit roams campus and tugs at passersby’s clothing.

Photo Credit: oldskulphoto via Flickr Creative Commons

12. Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)

Mary Anne Mayo was a well known professor at Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture. She died in 1903 and in 1931 the Sylvan Lodge was built. It was later named Mayo Hall in her honor. Currently, her ghost visits the residence hall by turning the lights on and off and playing the piano. Her portrait on the first floor of the residence hall is said to have her eyes following those passing by. To top it all off, on the fourth floor of Mayo Hall it is rumored that satanic rituals have taken place in the “red room.”

Photo Credit: VasaenkaPhotography via Flickr Creative Commons

13. Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

Back in 1967, a terrible fire killed six undergraduates, the graduates and one faculty member. Since that fire, a lot of students have reported hearing mysterious voices along with footsteps when no one else is around. The ghosts have even been spotted in various residence halls. Males in tuxedos are another common group of ghosts seen all together around campus. In the Olin Library, there is a ghost of a woman who was supposedly crushed by a bookshelf way back when that haunts the students in there.

Photo Credit: Faud Kamal via Flickr Creative Commons

14. Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)

After 24 years of construction, Healy Hall was finally complete and ready for students to move into in 1901. It has been rumored that a Jesuit minister was living on the fifth floor who spent most of his time reading various texts about how to come in contact with spirits. Once the minister opened the portal to the spirits, the ghosts were reluctant to leave Healy Hall and still haunt there today by flickering lights, changing the hallway and room temperatures often and moving furniture around.

Photo Credit: Jeff Warta via Flickr Creative Commons

15. New York University (Washington Square, NY)

The current New York University was built atop a grave of 20,000 people, so it is bound to be haunted. The area was a cemetery until 1825 and ever since then some creepy phenomenon have been occurring. A main ghost that haunts New York University is a student that has committed suicide on campus. In 1911, a factory fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory killed 146 workers who now haunt the Brown Building of Science. The ghosts create some eerie noises and strange smells in the building.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Kraft via Flickr Creative Commons

Creepy? Just a little. Many universities have some really cool ghost stories whether you believe them or not! Have fun looking into if there are any ghost stories at your specific university, if you dare to do so.

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Meghan Field - Pennsylvania State University

Meghan is a sophomore at Penn State - University Park. She's from Hershey, PA. She is going to major in Biobehavioral Health and Psychology with a minor in Global Health. She has been dancing her whole life and has always had an interest in writing and anything science related. Instagram is @meghanfield.

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