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Happy Halloween: 5 ghost stories from universities that will drive chills up your spine

You’ve heard about party schools but have you heard about spooky schools? We’re celebrating Halloween at BrainGain Magazine by sharing great ghost stories from international universities (because grades aren’t spooky enough)!
BY Pratibha Alagh |   31-10-2018

Happy Holloween

Halloween celebrations began in the Celtic period, approximately 2,000 years ago. The last day of summer and harvest was celebrated as the Samhain (pronounced sow-in) festival. It was associated with death, and also marked the beginning of a harsh winter. The Celts believed that on this day the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred, and ghosts descended upon the living.[1] When it comes to the modern age, Halloween is about crazy costumes (Heidi Klum as Kali, anyone?) binge watching The Walking Dead, and all that candy. But if it’s ghosts that you fancy, we’ve got these 5 spooky stories from universities. Enjoy!

  • Kenyon College: Walked home by a ghost
    Ryan Bash, Kenyon College, class of 2010 recollects this uncanny ‘walk down the road’ for the New York times,“Ghost stories are legion at Kenyon College. My own haunting took place after I left the library around 2 a.m. on an unremarkable night during my freshman year.”

    One cold night, in March 2007, Bash was studying in the library until late. At 2 AM, he decided to call it a day. The walk to his dorm was 10-minutes on the Middle Path. This gravel path is the main artery connecting the South Campus where the library was, to the North Campus where Bash lived. Old photographs will confirm that although now reserved for pedestrians, this path was once used by carriages and horses.

    On the Middle Path, dividing the North Campus from the South are stone gates that are affectionately called ‘Gates of Hell’ by students. As Bash walked along, he says he heard wheels on gravel. Perhaps a bicycle, he thought, and turned around. There was nothing.

    A few seconds later, he heard a horse exhale.

    Bash’s knees went weak. He felt light-headed. But he kept walking. When he crossed the Gates of Hell, all was silent again.

    “Now,” he says, “it’s a fond memory. That evening, something from the past walked me home.”

     
  • Ohio State University: Ghost of Bricker Hall
    David Kellough, Ohio State historian, often tells the story of Herbert Atkinson - the ghost of Bricker Hall. The following is an excerpt from The Lantern.

    According to Kellough, ‘Atkinson, a member of the Ohio State class of 1913, was described as the big man on campus.’

    As a member of junior class honorary, varsity basketball, the cheerleading squad, and a fraternity on campus, there was not much that Atkinson missed out on.

    After graduation, Atkinson was appointed to the Board of Trustees. For the next 20 years, he  enjoyed returning to the campus that he knew and loved so well. All his life, Atkinson’s love for his alma mater never wavered. His final request was that his ashes remain on campus. In fact, he specifically requested that his final place of rest be Bricker Hall. This building houses many offices, including the Board of Trustees, and the office of President Michael V. Drake.

    ‘Every once in a while,’ Kellough says, ‘there will be an event in this building and a strange looking man will be seen hovering around the edge of the room. If he is in fact a ghost, he is going to lead a round of “Carmen Ohio.” He is definitely known to be a happy ghost.’

    Bricker Hall
    Bricker Hall
    (Courtesy: https://library.osu.edu/blogs/archives/2012/10/)
    Herbert Atkinson
    Herbert Atkinson

     
  • Well College, New York: Dead man guarding, and the Stabbed Scientist in Zabriskie Hall
    Here are two of our favourites from the Wells’ library archives. As the college website will tell you, there is no further evidence to either prove or disprove these stories. They are, however, an important part of the college’s oral tradition and have passed from one generation of students to another.


    Dead Man Guarding: In space where Morgan Hall now stands, there was once another college building which caught fire. A security guard, now referred to as Max by students, was trying to get everyone out of the building to safety. In the confusion, he was forced to push a few students down the stairs.

    Thanks to his efforts, all of them made it out of the building, and lived to tell the tale. Not Max. They say he’s still there. Every now and then, a student will feel a sharp nudge from behind as they descend the stairs in Morgan Hall.  They say it’s Max.

    He’s still trying to save them from the fire.

    Stabbed Scientist in Zabriskie Hall: A few years ago, or it might have been many, there was a student at Wells College who was doing great quality scientific research. She would often spend long hours in the Zabriskie Hall, pouring over texts, writing reports and papers.

    Her work won her a lot of attention. Especially from her supervisor.

    Then one day this student found out that the Professor was plagiarising her research and claiming all the credit.  One night, when she was working away in Zabriskie Hall, the supervisor visited her. She confronted him. Horrified at the thought of being exposed, he panicked, and stabbed her. The knife was still in her body when she was found.

    Even today, students who study in Zabriskie Hall late into the night are sometimes asked, “Please, will you pull this knife out of my back?”

     
  • University of Oxford: The headless Archbishop in the Laudian Library
    Ever wondered why so many students dread going to libraries? It’s not just the books!

    The University of Oxford is the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation. It’s possible that some of the former graduates and patrons of the university have lingered, still drawn to Oxford’s charms.


    In her OUP blog, Emma French writes, “St. John’s College Library is thought to be haunted by the headless ghost of Archbishop William Laud, who was beheaded in 1645 following impeachment by the Long Parliament.”

    The myth of the headless Archbishop who liked to disturb readers by kicking his own head along the floor is a popular one. Of course, no one in living memory has seen him at it. Thank God.

    However, there have been occasions where readers say they have heard footsteps in the long reading room, built by Laud himself in the 17th Century. This is also known as the Laudian Library.

    As a Deputy Librarian said, “We do know that Laud cared passionately about his library, and we like to think he has a friendly presence here.””

    Interiors of St. John's College Library
    Interiors of St. John’s College Library
    (Courtesy: https://www.sjc.ox.ac.uk/discover/about-college/library/history-library/)

    Got your own ghost stories to share? Comment below.


[1]https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween
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