brown lady ghostOctober is upon us, the temperature drops, and the leaves whither in the trees. This is the season for costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and, of course, ghost stories. I remember as a kid, my cousin would terrify us with some of her stories about homicidal keepsake dolls and axe murderers. I still wake up screaming that Talking Tina is after me (my wife tells me to be quiet or I’m going to wake the kids). Needless to say, nothing chills you like a good ghost story. And there’s no better time for ghost stories than October.

I recently found that college campuses are hotbeds for spooky stories. From year to year, they are added to and passed down to new students. They’re almost always woven into the history and personality of the school. Some are funny, others terrifying, and still others are just plain, well, cheesy. Interestingly, they have some common threads from school to school, like sounds of furniture being moved in vacant rooms, sudden drops in temperature (Sixth Sense-style), and doors being opened and slammed randomly.

The following four samples will get a shiver running up your spine and have you afraid to enter any dorm or college library by yourself. And don’t worry- as with any good ghost story, I’m definitely leaving open the possibility of more:

1. St. Charles Community College: Footprints, Flying Papers, and Ghost Boys

ghost boy st charles community collegeThis small campus in Cottleville, Missouri is allegedly the home of a large paranormal infestation. Even in buildings with no apparent history, ghostly activity has been widely witnessed by students and faculty alike. Whoever is haunting them is a terrible houseguest, as most incidents revolve around loud footsteps, bumps, loud conversations, muddy footprints, and doors slamming by themselves.

One notable report came from a housekeeper cleaning in the library during closed hours. No one was around. They heard a commotion behind a service desk and went to check on it, but found no one there. Upon returning to the spot they had been cleaning, they found muddy footprints tracked across the carpet, starting from the, gulp,… MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR!!! The spooked housekeeper called another staffer to come to the building, but, of course, the footprints had VANISHED! Isn’t that just the way?

Another event happened in the new Technology Building where several housekeepers were working. Without warning, the ceiling tiles in many rooms “started jumping up and down.” Other housekeepers were called to the scene via walkie-talkie. By the time they arrived, “papers on the bulletin boards in the building were standing out from the wall, as if they were trying to fly away, rather than hanging down against the wall as usual.” This phenomenon continued for another hour until it stopped just as suddenly as it had started. That’s like freaky Poltergeist stuff! And the fact that it was witnessed by several people over an hour only amps up the freakiness.

In what I think is the most bone-chilling story, campus residents have reported seeing a ghostly nine-year old boy dressed in 19th century dress following them around. For some reason ghost kids are scarier than ghost adults (like that white-faced ghost kid from The Grudge… I’m getting scared just thinking about it). This kid prefers to scare the pants off people by appearing at night and following people when their alone. Creepy! Other than the following thing, it has not been established whether the boy actually says or does anything in particular. All I’ve got to say is, someone’s gotta find that kid’s ghost mom and have her give that kid some attention instead of letting him float around and freak people out.

Speculators at St. Charles have their theories: air masses of different temperatures mixing and colliding with each other in the buildings (whatever); the tragic deaths of early European settlers; and, of course, that old stand-by, the Indian burial ground.

2. Franklin & Marshall College: Haunted Songs and Spectral Wrestlers

Franklin and Marshall College GhostsLate one night in Diagnothian Hall on the Lancaster, PA campus, a music professor was listening to a recording of a Souza duet called “Red Cross Nurse,” which is about a nurse bandaging wounded soldiers during World War I. As the song played, the professor began to hear “sounds apart from the music … moaning, rattling sounds, and overall, the sounds of a person in intense pain” coming from the other side of his office wall. He ran to the other side of the wall only to find an empty room. A few years later, this same professor was listening to music in his office late at night, a piece entitled “Haunted Landscape” that was composed about the nearby Gettysburg battlefield and the “lingering presence” often felt there by visitors. Obviously, this professor hadn’t been spooked enough by his first experience. Anyway, you can guess what happened next: the same ghostly sounds of suffering were heard. It had long been known that the hall acted as a hospital during the Civil War, housing the dead and wounded from many battles, including that of Gettysburg. The music professor theorizes that his musical pieces about Gettysburg and war hospitals literally woke the dead.

In Distler House on the same campus, students (even in large groups) have reported strange noises coming from the upper floor of the building, noises like “squirrels running in circles.” Over the TV room in the building, people have reported sounds of moving furniture, horseplay, and rough-housing. Turns out Distler House used to house the school gym, with the upper floor containing an indoor track and the room over the TV room acting as the practice room for the wrestling team. Apparently, the dead are still interested in maintaining their ghoulish figures (sorry, bad joke). But those wrestling singlets have got to be pretty foul by now.

Seriously, though, are these cases of buildings retaining some kind of “psychic residue” of their pasts that they just replay on a loop in the present? Spooky stuff. Here’s more…

At the Alumni House, guests have reported feeling strange sensations as they lay in their beds at night. The bell at the administration building has been known to ring randomly and without human manipulation, possibly as a result of the building being built on, gulp, GALLOWS HILL!!! Up until recent decades, the ghost of a deceased, obsessive professor who was killed in an auto wreck in the middle of accumulating pieces for a collection at the school museum, his late life’s work, still occupied the library, where he made odd noises at night and caused elevators to go to the wrong floors.

3. Sweet Briar College: A Car-Thieving, Towel-Stealing, Heavy Breathing Ghost Girl

sweet briar college ghost daisy williamsThis girls college abounds with stories about the founder’s daughter, named Daisy, who died while a teenager and has been purported to still cause mischief on campus today. She is blamed affectionately by students and faculty alike, who are on a first-name basis with the ghost.

One account tells of two co-eds who took their dates up to Monument Hill, where Daisy’s statue stands, and told the guys the ghost stories they knew. When one of the girl’s made a casual joke about the monument, the parking brake on her car suddenly released, sending the car rolling down the hill. The four kids reached the car in time to stop it, jumped in the car, and drove away with the doors still flying open.

Another story is told about a girl making her way to the laundromat with her laundry baskets. She suddenly had a strange feeling and looked up at the bushes to her right. To her surprise, she found her towel, which should have been at the bottom of her basket, hanging from the bushes. She remembered having it after she had done laundry last, so she couldn’t have dropped it. Strangely, the towel was not dirty as would be the case if it had been dropped or left somewhere on campus. When she got back to her room, she searched her towel drawer for the towel. It wasn’t there. Naturally, the female student assumed that Daisy must have taken an interest in her towel and hung it out on the bushes for all to see. Some roommates think they can just get into everything…

In a more frightening account, a student awoke one night in her dorm to the distinct sound of loud, heavy breathing. She thought it was her roommate, but when she glanced over at her, her roommate was awake in bed, holding absolutely still. The breathing was coming from high above them. It sounded human. They had locked their door, as they did every night. Her roommate asked, “Is that you?” The student answered no, and the breathing ceased. They didn’t talk about it until later, remarking that it didn’t sound friendly. Maybe Daisy has taken on a more sinister tack. Look out, girls…

4. Shepherd College: The Haunting Homecoming Queen

ghost girlAt this West Virginia school, a story circulates in Gardiner Hall about a past homecoming queen who slipped in the shower, hit her head, died, and now haunts the premises. One student tells of how he was assigned to a room where the room number was always set upside down. When he inquired about it, he was told not to worry about it. Then one night, while his roommate was out of town, he was awakened by the sound of footsteps inside his room. They moved across the room from the door to the desk. Then the student heard the sound of shuffling papers. The footsteps moved to the foot of the student’s bed and, yikes, “a cold sensation erupted.” Say it with me: “I see dead people … ALL … THE … TIME!”

The day after his harrowing experience, he asked several students about it, and they told him about Patricia, the homecoming queen, her accident in the shower, and her picture that hangs in the lobby in memoriam. The numbers in his room, it turns out, were always upside down because Patty preferred it that way. She had some kind of beef with Mabel Gardiner, after whom the building was named. The student went on to say that he awoke one night before summer break later that year to see a bright flash of light in his mirror. When he looked up, he saw a young woman with dark brown hair and a white outfit. Apparently, she communicated with him because he claims to have more information about her and her hauntings. Run away, man! That girl has some serious issues.

Pretty spooky stuff! You may want to take note of these if you are in the middle of your college search (i.e. cross these schools off your list). And there’s plenty more where those came from. Check out the links below and stay tuned for our next installment- College Ghost Stories: The Return– next week. Do you have any ghost stories? Any theories to explain this stuff? Feel free to share below…

St. Charles Community College

Franklin & Marshall College

Sweet Briar College

Shepherd College


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4 comments on “College Ghost Stories: Four Frightening Tales

  • Its crazzy because i didnt believe none of this, but it happens to be true..
    I was watchin SCHOOL SPIRITS IN SYFY, and they were talking about the girl Daisy, so i decided to check it out on the internet, its based on true fact.
    but they say she is no harm, her uncle is.its a long story..but she (daisy) tries to protect all the girls from him. Watch out girls!!! Just pray and hope nothing will happen to you. Remember its true. Im not trying to scare anybody ,but its jux the reality. Honestly, im trying to go to that college. Will see.

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