Long, sometimes-disputed histories and creepy old buildings breed plenty of ghost stories, and America's higher ed institutions are no exception to the rule. In fact, several often appear among lists of the nation's most haunted locales and have even been featured in a number of TV shows.
While many of the stories behind these hauntings lack historical evidence and can simply be chalked up to campus tour guides wanting to spice up their presentations or make nervous students feel more comfortable, there are plenty of back stories with enough truth to excite paranormal enthusiasts.
With Halloween right around the corner, here's a round-up of a few of our favorite campus ghost tales.
10. University of Virginia
This Charlottesville, VA, institution is reportedly home to several spirits. In fact, Alderman Library houses two, one of which is said to be Confederate surgeon Dr. Bennett Wood Green. His book collection was donated to the university following his death in 1913, and he previously haunted their former storage place, the Rotunda, as well. Another ghost resides in the Garnett room. It isn't, however, believed to be a member of that room's namesake family, but a family physician who admired their book collection.
Additionally, the school's "Romance Pavilion" is said to be haunted by a very cliché professor's daughter who "died of a broken heart."
9. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Don't expect the old clichés to end at UVA: The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's English Building was once a women's dorm where, you guessed it, a spurned lover took her life (or possibly just drowned in a pool). She reportedly makes her presence known by wandering the halls, slamming doors, and making people think the lightbulbs need to be changed. Next door, the Lincoln Building has a ghost that likes to stare out of a third-floor window, while the Psychology Building is said to be home to the ghost of a student who threatened to kill himself but didn't go through with it. He now whispers in an empty room and paces the halls.
8. Kenyon College
It should come as no surprise that a campus with gates that are said to have been built above the "Gates of Hell" has a laundry list of alleged hauntings. The most infamous story involves the apparitions of nine male students killed in a fire that destroyed the Old Kenyon building in 1949. Ever since the dorm was restored the following year and students allowed to move back in, the panicking ghosts have reportedly flipped lights off and on, shook closed doors, flushed toilets, and yelled, "Get me out of here!" and "Wake up, FIRE!"
Delta Kappa Epsilon, Caples Hall, Lewis Hall, Manning Hall, Norton Hall, and the Shaffer Pool Building/Bolton Dance Studio are also allegedly haunted by deceased students, and the Shaffer Speech Building, constructed on the site of a drunk driving accident, has eery tales of its own involving light bulbs unscrewing and curtains opening on their own.
7. University of Northern Colorado
At least one of the University of Northern Colorado's ghosts pulls double duty, haunting both the Wiebking and Wilson Hall dorms. The ghost, named Edith, was supposedly a bullied resident assistant who hung herself in the attic of one of the two buildings many years ago, and students now say they've experienced her changing channels on their TV or rearranging their furniture, in addition to hearing the sound of her playing with marbles. Other ghosts around campus include a Harrison Hall janitor killed by a brick dropped down a trash chute and a murder victim in the Tobey-Kindel dining hall, though, as is often the case in haunted campus tales, no historical records exist for any of these three deaths.
Another popular ghost, dubbed "Stoney," is likely just a not-so-clever excuse used by Turner Hall students when the smell of marijuana permeates the air.
6. Fordham University
Like UNCo, this Jesuit school in New York actually has a page of its site dedicated to its ghosts. Over the years, students living in the Martyr's Court residence hall have frequently seen the ghost of a blond girl in the showers and heard the laughter of children in the walls. A resident assistant living in Queens Court was reportedly visited by an elderly Jesuit spirit one night, while students living in Finlay, the university's former medical school building, say they sometimes feel a tugging at their toe like they're a cadaver being tagged or see students staring at them from the loft.
5. Pennsylvania State University
Who says only humans haunt? Penn State has a rather unique ghoul: Coaly, a favored mule of Farm School students that almost became a mascot. As campus legend goes, following Coaly's death in 1893, students would reportedly hear hooves and braying in the empty halls of any building his bones were displayed in.
Additionally, Schwab Auditorium — the university's most haunted locale — has two ghosts, a woman and a janitor, that like to move objects and scratch people. The Penn State trustee who funded the theatre's construction, industrialist Charles Schwab, is also rumored to haunt the building. Because of these spirits, students affectionately refer to the auditorium as "Scwaboo."
4. Gettysburg College
Located just under two miles from the infamous Gettysburg battlefield, also frequently featured on "most haunted" lists, is Gettysburg College. Parts of the college were used as a field hospital and communications outpost during the Civil War. One particularly outlandish tale involves two administrators who had elevator doors open in the basement of Pennsylvania Hall to what appeared to be a Civil War hospital with spirits performing surgery, and the ghost of a soldier dubbed "the Lone Sentinel" has been said to inhabit the building's cupola. The ghost of an older officer, referred to as "the General," has also been sighted on the catwalks and backstage in Brua Hall's Kline Theatre.
Other ghosts include a girl in Glatfelter Hall's bell tower whose lover failed to follow through on a suicide pact and an orphan called "Blue Boy" who sought refuge in a couple of girls' dorm room during a snow storm but apparently wandered off and froze to death after being left on a window ledge when the house mother made the rounds.
3. University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame may have the most famous ghost on this list — college football legend George Gipp. His ghost in Washington Hall has yet to encourage students to "win one for the Gipper," but it has been known to create footstep sounds, slam doors, and even push students. The spirit of the university's founder, Fr. Edward Sorin, has also been encountered in the Main Building.
2. California State University - Channel Islands
If burial grounds aren't stereotypical enough, Cal State's Channel Islands campus includes what used to be the Camarillo State Mental Hospital — a place that inspired jazz musician Charlie Parker's "Relaxing at Camarillo and, some say, the Eagle's "Hotel California." (No wonder it's haunted!)
Witnesses say they've seen lights flicker and doors open on their own, as well as hearing the sounds of a crying woman, doors slamming, and scratching on walls.
1. Ohio University
Widely recognized as the most haunted campus in America, Ohio University is home to at least a few dozen ghosts — including an entire basketball team! Its most infamous building, Wilson Hall, was even featured on an episode of "Scariest Places on Earth." It was constructed in 1965 and a number of explanations have been offered for the shadowy figures that wander its halls, ranging from the usual "student suicides" without historical proof to its location on top of an Athens Mental Health Center cemetery (also unfounded) and dead center between the five cemeteries that supposedly form a pentagram around the city.
The Delta Tau Delta fraternity is said to have also once experienced poltergeist activity after stealing a tombstone, and Jefferson Hall residents have reported seeing a ghostly school teacher, as well as having lights flip on and off or toilets flush by themselves. And that basketball team? It haunts Washington Hall, but stories vary as to whether it was a girls high school team killed in a bus accident or a men's team.
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