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A Creepy Little College

Megan, TN, USA
March 2003

I grew up with ghost stories. I live in the mid-south and they're about as common as corn bread and fried chicken.

That old house on the corner of your street? It was occupied by enemy forces during the Civil War and used as a prison. The land where your school is located was built on an Indian Burial Mound and an Indian shaman haunts the building. The list goes on and on and after awhile you become rather skeptical.

So, while I have a healthy respect for the possibility of ghosts, and have even had a few "ghostly" experiences myself, I try to maintain my skepticism when hearing stories about hauntings. Then I came to college.

I attend this tiny private college in the southeast, with a healthy reputation and respectful history. The school was founded in 1819 as a Presbyterian Seminary. Between 1819 and 1871, it had approximately three locations all within five miles of its current (permanent) location. As you can imagine, we have our stories. Let me just share some of those with you.

Our oldest building on campus is home to the humanities department. It was established in 1871 as the first building at the school's new (and permanent) location after the Civil War. No small feat as the first building for this location was begun sometime around 1860 and then demolished during the war. Not only do we have one ghost in this building, but possibly two or three (depending on who you talk to). The one we all agree on is Whiskers--a Civil War soldier with (no kidding) a wooden leg. While no one has actually ever seen him, professors in their offices late at night claim they can hear him banging around on the hardwood floors. Then there's the nurse (a recent addition). She's actually been seen, but is as yet unnamed. No one knows for certain what is in the basement, but we all agree that it's evil and we try to stay away from it.

Our library has a creepy history. The money to build the library was given to the school from a wealthy businessman in Philadelphia in the late 1800's, early 1900's. He died, and his widow continued giving money to the school until her son shot a man in broad daylight in New York City (I believe). At any rate, the entire world knew he did it (there were only about 50 eye-witnesses), but she proceeded to spend the rest of her fortune on trying to clear her son's name.

I, as well as many of my fellow students, have experienced this creepy feeling down in the main stacks located in the library's basement. It's a well-lit, warm area that is otherwise quite inviting, but the closer you get to the walls, the creepier it gets (especially in the mathematics section).

The Fine Arts Center was constructed in the 1960's and is a horror of architectural design. It was actually designed by a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright (for what it's worth) and was featured on the cover of Time magazine soon after its construction. If you hang out in the practice rooms (like I used to, once upon a time), you'll notice a not-so- pleasant presence that likes to hang around and bang on the pianos.

Stories come out almost weekly of people who were practicing in the FAC and hear strange sounds or see people walking by their rooms then open the door to discover no one else is in the practice rooms.

Did I mention that my school likes to burn? In the 20th century, the school had no less than 4 buildings burn. One of them was actually hit by lightening in August of 1999 on a perfectly clear, cloudless, non-rainy day. It was hit by lightening and pretty much exploded. The sad thing is that the school had just spent millions renovating that building then had to spend millions more to rebuild it.

I kind of get the feeling sometimes that some weird supernatural presence has its finger on this school. There are sooooo many more stories, but I don't have room for them all here. Lots more haunted buildings, lots more haunted dorms. And something about the school being a stop on the Underground Railroad.

By the way, people who have inhabited my room in the past claim it's haunted too. Don't know what to think about that exactly.

Megan, TN, USA
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