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The Nation's Most Haunted Colleges



By Catherine Groux
Posted October 26, 2012 12:00 PM

Many college campuses are supposedly filled with spirits who simply do not want to leave.
Many college campuses are supposedly filled with spirits who simply do not want to leave.
Most college campuses are filled with ambitious students hoping to earn a bachelor's degree, but some have other - uninvited - guests patrolling their theaters, dormitories and academic buildings. Here's a look at some of the country's most haunted colleges and the spirits who simply don't want to leave:

Lebanon Valley College, Pennsylvania

Every October, students, parents and faculty are invited to get up close and personal with Lebanon Valley College's many spirits on a walking ghost tour run by English professor Kevin Pry. According to Pry, there are about 18 to 20 active ghost stories surrounding the school, but each year, new chilling tales emerge.

For years, one of the most popular stories has surrounded the Mary Green Residence Hall. Shortly after the hall was built in the 1960s, a little girl arrived on campus to help her older sister move in. Trying to stay out of her family's way, the girl bounced a ball outside, following it into a busy street (or the train tracks, depending on who you ask). The little girl was killed, and can still be seen playing with her ball in the residence hall.

Today, students report strange events like alarms and radios turning on, doors shutting and posters being turned upside down. Some people have claimed they've heard a ball bouncing and seen a little girl laughing and smiling. In fact, Pry said that since the 1960s, about 250 students, facility service workers and faculty have reported seeing or hearing this mysterious child.

Roanoke College, Virginia

For years, students and faculty at Roanoke College have felt spirits haunt the college's Monterey Guest House. In the 19th century, the building was home to the Chapman family, whose son attended the college, but later dropped out to join the Civil War. The young man was fatally shot, marking the first death associated with the home. Since his death, the building has acted as a hotel, medical facility, fraternity house and rooming house, capturing both the lives and deaths of generations of Virginians.

Today, English professor Thomas Carter studies the home's paranormal activity in his ghosts and human perception course, and has been inviting his students to spend a night in the Monterey Guest House since 2006. During their investigations, students study the home's eerie happenings though electronic voice phenomena recordings, dowsing rods and electromagnetic activity.

In many cases, students have recorded the sounds of babies crying and babbling and have seen dark spots and fleeting shadows. While he does not tend to believe in ghosts, Carter admits the Monterey Guest House is an unusual spot on the college's campus.

"I am convinced that something is going on in that house that does not go on at just any other house," he said. "Whether these are ghosts or whether they are really odd natural or environmental issues, I am still trying to figure that one out."

Birmingham Southern College, Alabama

Many students who spend a great deal of time in the theater department at Birmingham Southern College have gotten to know "Charlie," the spirit of a deceased department director. For the past three decades, students have been unable to open lock-less doors, seen the lights on the main stage blink on and off, and heard footsteps and voices on the stage and in the stairwells. Mysteriously, these supernatural encounters only occur when music is being played.

Tynes Cowan, an associate professor of English at the college, said that while he does not personally believe in ghosts, theater majors are consistently exposed to what they believe is Charlie's spirit.

"It is probably constant among those folks," Cowan said. "Every once in a while I will ask the class if there is a theater major and they will say, 'Oh yeah, I will have to tell you about my Charlie experience sometime.'"

Matt Adams is one such student. One day, while he was playing his guitar in the theater's stairwell, he encountered what he believes was Charlie.

"...I was in the theater by myself - I had checked everywhere to make sure that [I] wouldn't be disturbing anyone," Adams said, as quoted by the school's website. "After I had played for a little while, I paused for a moment. In that moment, I heard a voice. The voice was coming from inside the stairwell...it was unmistakable." 

The University of Denver, Colorado

Many students and faculty at the University of Denver get chills down their spines when they enter the Mary Reed Building, the school's former library and current home of administrative offices. Some believe the ghost of Mary Reed herself haunts the 1930s building by turning the lights on and off, opening and shutting windows and locking doors. In fact, custodians have reported seeing books moving on their own and hearing a murmuring voice, while others claim they have seen an elderly woman in a black dress and high collar reading a book.

Still, the Mary Reed Building is not the only place where students and faculty have had run-ins with the paranormal. The university's Margery Reed Hall and the Buchtel House are also believed to be haunted by the spirits of their namesakes, who simply can't resist wreaking havoc on campus.

While some people swear by the buildings' supernatural activity, others feel there are other explanations for the strange happenings. Steve Fisher, a professor and the university archivist, said in the Mary Reed Building, for example, the small grates built into the floors make noise travel unusually well, perhaps accounting for the bizarre sounds people hear.

"It's a noisy building," Fisher said. "I think that may have something to do with reports over the years of sounds and noises. Now that, of course, doesn't explain sightings, but I have never personally spoken to someone who had a sighting. It's always somebody who told somebody who told somebody."

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