Colleges are natural repositories for ghost lore. They’re old. The collegiate Gothic buildings that permeate American campuses look pretty much like where you’d expect ghosts to live. And, of course, a continuously changing population of older students likes to mess with mushy-headed freshmen.
The typical ghost stories on college campuses tend to be thematically similar. Campus theaters are commonly possessed by friendly phantoms. Dormitories are absolutely replete with ghosts, usually of the scarier and more dangerous variety. Dorm apparitions are frequently the spirits of students who met untimely ends, often by suicide or by venturing too far into study of the occult.
Most every college has its ghost story, but these 13 schools in the slideshow below are clearly the most haunted in all the land.
1. Ohio University
Ohio U. is purportedly among the earth’s most haunted places. Part of the campus is a repurposed lunatic asylum where primitive treatments were once commonplace. Wilson Hall, a dormitory with a vaguely “Amityville Horror”-esque look, appears to be ground zero for spookiness. The door to Room 428 is reportedly sealed shut because of a rowdy apparition. At another dorm, a young Bob Marley fan allegedly fell to her death and now floats the halls. She reportedly doesn’t like the obscure (possibly nonexistent) Marley song, “Laura.” Still another dorm may be haunted by the specter of an entire basketball team.
2. Fordham University
Allegedly, Keating Hall, the Gothic centerpiece of Jesuit-affiliated Fordham University’s Bronx campus, and Finlay Hall, a dorm, were constructed over a morgue. As if that isn’t pretext enough for haunting, parts of “The Exorcist” were filmed on campus. Sleeping residents in Finlay have allegedly been awoken by frigid, unseen hands grabbing their throats. A story about the Queen’s Court dorm complex is classic: late at night, a ghost priest informs a resident assistant that he had performed an exorcism to rid the building of a demonic spirit. Also, in a freshman dorm, a blond-haired girl reportedly plagues the showers. (No word, sadly, on how this ghost looks in the buff.)
3. Gettysburg College
During the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg, both Confederate and Union troops held and used Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College as a hospital and a signal post. Today, the building has its share of great ghost stories. The basement may be haunted by blood-drenched Civil War-era doctors. Also, students have allegedly reported seeing a phantom, gun-toting soldier — the Lone Sentinel — atop Penn Hall. Residents of nearby Stevens Hall report seeing “the Blue Boy,” a young boy — an orphan — who is blue in the face as if frozen. Another Stevens Hall apparition is a female who loves the fashionable clothes of current students.
4. Wells College
Ghost stories are chronic at women’s colleges, but Wells College in the Finger Lakes region of New York is apparently crawling with paranormal activity. Epidemics play a big role in the lore. A campus-wide flu epidemic was so bad that a floor of the main building had to be used as an infirmary. The building is a dorm today, and residents report ghostly nurses tending their bedsides in the middle of the night. Other haunted locales include Morgan Hall, vexed by an overzealous, dead security guard. Really angry hosts are said to haunt Zabriskie Hall and a residence hall called Glen Park Mansion. Both have tangible knives, so watch out.