The Haunted Halls of Ohio University
By Joseph Armstrong**
**Please note that much of the information/wording on this page came from Jim Michnowicz’ Haunted Athens Page athttp://www.geocities.com/athens/acropolis/9241/haunted.html. Thanks to Jim for maintaining his great webpage and sharing information on Haunted Ohio University with us.
Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, is no stranger to ghosts. The area in and around Athens is sad to be one of the most haunted places in the country. Many students report strange and unexplained happenings in the dorms in which they live on. Although different dorms serve as the setting, the stories reported are sometimes the same, although there are always exceptions. Are these students experiencing encounters with paranormal spirits, or are they just experiencing spirits in their drinks?
Residents of Jefferson Hall in 1996 found more than they bargained for one day when they decided to go looking around their dorm. While walking around upstairs they came across a room that as far as they knew was unused, but the door was wide open. Looking into the room, they noticed a woman, dressed rather conservatively, sitting at an old desk in a dark corner of the room. The residents later said that she looked like an elementary school teacher. The students greeted her and then realized what they were really seeing. The residents noticed that the woman was not only transparent, but was also floating a couple of inches above her chair. Upon seeing this, they freaked out, and ran to their RA (residential assistant). When they returned to where they had seen the woman, the door was not only closed, but locked as well with no signs of anyone having been there. It is believed that the woman is a former caretaker of the hall and is just continuing to do her job even in the afterlife.
Other phenomena from the top floors of Jefferson Hall reported by students include the sounds of voices in the halls that cannot be explained and the sounds of marbles dropping hundreds of times on the floor above you, even if the floor above you is the attic which no one but the administration have access to.
Washington Hall is said to be haunted by a female basketball team that had died in a bus crash after returning from a basketball camp that they attended during the summer at Ohio University. Residents have reported hearing basketballs being dribbled, laughing, and talking in the hallways, especially in the arch that connects Washington and Read Hall.
Another hall that is prone to unexplained phenomena is Bush Hall. Aside from the sounds of marbles dropping (as heard in Washington Hall, and as you will see others as well), footsteps in the halls, water fountains turning on and off at will, and doors opening are commonly reported strange occurrences in the hall.
A resident in Shively Hall in the 70’s was drawn to specific parts of rooms and the building itself by a force that pulled her where it wanted. After numerous incidents of this, her friends plot a line of where the source might be coming from or where it might be taking her. The line that was plotted, when matched with a map, lead directly to one of the cemeteries in Athens. At the time, cults were known to be performing rituals in the cemeteries of Athens. The five major cemeteries of Athens form the points of a pentagram.
On April 11, 1993, a student by the name of Laura was sitting on her window on the fourth floor of her dorm in Crawford Hall. She lost her balance and fell to her death. The following Spring of ’94, residents began experiencing problems; lights would turn on and off by themselves, items would disappear and reappear several days later, then things got worse. One evening, one of the residents lay down to take a nap. It was early Spring, and the soft light from the fading sun barely illuminated the room. Knowing that his roommate would be returning, the resident left the door cracked and turned off the lights. He drifted off to sleep, but after a while he was awakened by the door opening and the light from the hall poured into the room.. A female stood in the doorway, silhouetted by the lights. She entered the room, and calmly sat next to the resident on the bed. She spoke, saying, “I’m sorry, I’ve woken you”. The resident tired to assure her that it was OK, but she wasn’t listening to him, almost as if she wasn’t even aware of him. She got up, left the room, and closed the door behind her. The resident was somewhat confused, since he was sure he knew everyone in his complex, and he had never seen this woman before. Not sure if he had dreamed the whole incident, he went to talk with his RA. He swore again that he had never seen the woman before, but that he felt perfectly calm when she was near. As he described his visitor, and the clothing she was wearing, the RA began to become alarmed, trying to hide her room marked the exact spot where Laura had landed exactly one year before.
Wilson Hall is one of the oldest buildings on the campus of Ohio University in Athens, and surpassingly, not a single report of unexplained phenomena have been reported from there, however, there may be an explanation as to why. The five major cemeteries of Athens, where the cults held rituals, form a pentagram. Pentagrams, according to the pagan traditions, create safe zones that are free from paranormal activity, especially so in the center of this pentagram which is exactly to spot where Wilson Hall was built and stands today.
Besides the events already explained, unexplained sounds such as foot steps and marbles dropping have been reported along with electric disturbances and doors opening and closing without reason in several other dorms including: Truedly, Tiffin, Sargeant, Ryors, MacKinnon, and Lincoln Halls.
Are the halls of Ohio University housing the spirits of people long forgotten along with the leaders of tomorrow? If so, then the line of people wanting to live in Wilson hall must be getting rather long, let’s just hope the spirits don’t decide to look for a new place to roam.
anonymous reports received via email
Ohio University (2)
From: “Thomas, Sara” (Sara.Thomas@qwest.com)
Subject: Haunted Athens
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 11:14:18 -0400
After reading the stories about strange happenings at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, I decided to contribute some of my own experiences while a student for four years at OU.
My freshman year I was bombarded with the typical dorm ghost stories (some of which I later believed!) and a number of stories of the surrounding areas. My freshman year I lived on Old South Green, two buildings down from Crawford where the unfortunate student had plummeted to her death one year before (I lived in Brown Hall, for anyone who knows the area). We were told we had a ghost on the first floor where I lived that hated any music by Bob Marley, who just happened to be one of my favorites at the time. We all thought it was pretty funny and would try to scare eachother by putting in a Marley CD after telling the story to a visitor, then having someone sneak over and unplug the stereo right after it began to play. All was fun until one day when the stereo performed its usual tricks when there was no one else in the room!! Upon checking, the cord was unplugged from the wall. Now I was the only one there, and I know it was plugged in when I pushed play and not plugged in two seconds later!
Also on that floor, alarm clocks would go off at odd times of the day in many rooms at once. We would turn off our own clocks which were blaring the only radio station in town (terrible station, by the way) only to hear the same music coming from behind closed doors up and down the hall. Now we all checked, and all of our alarms were not set for 3:00 in the afternoon or 10:00 at night, but for sometime in the morning. We attributed this to an electrical glitch, but that explanation doesn’t quite explain what happened.
I had other experiences throughout my 4 years in Athens, most of which occurred in off-campus housing (most student rentals in Athens are in very old, somewhat rundown houses that have been around since the whole area was nothing but mining towns.) I’ll save those for another time. Anyone else who has heard about haunted Athens?