Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina with a specter…
Isn’t that the way the song goes? Well, it should. Especially if you’re at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee or the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Both campuses have plenty of ghostly stories to sing about.
The Western Carolinian reported on the Scott & Harrill Residence Halls at WCU. This is their story: “Scott and Harrill Residence Halls may seem like just two more dorms on the campus of Western Carolina University. However, each building has a reputation for being haunted because of some mysterious events that occurred in the past. Current and prospective students of WCU should keep these stories in mind when they select a dorm in which to live. The early 1990s was the time that Scott Hall began its conversion to “the dark side.” During this time, it is said that a female student hung herself in the East Wing of the building. Her motives for suicide are not known, but the legend lives on. The floor was closed for many years afterward because numerous people reported having seen the young lady there. Unusual happenings in the dorm occurred as well, such as bathroom lights going on and off randomly, doors opening and closing when no one is there, and water running for no reason. The spirit of this young lady still seems to reside in Scott Hall, so residents and visitors should exercise caution there.
The fifth floor of Harrill Hall has a similar history of unusual occurrences. According to legend, a girl died of an asthma attack while having a sleepover with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, she suffocated in her sleep. Her ghost is now said to haunt the fifth floor of Harrill, along with the building’s elevators. The elevators sometimes open only on the first and fifth floors, but other times they open on all floors when no one is aboard. People on the fifth floor have reported strange occurrences and the feeling of being watched, as well.”
North Carolina Haunted Houses classifies the Moore Building as one of the most haunted places on WCU’s campus. “The story that has floated around WCU for decades involves two female roommates in the 1960s that decided to remain on campus during a school break. Supposedly, one of the girls left the room to go take a shower but was gone for a suspiciously long time. When the other girl went to go investigate, she stood frozen by the door as a set of scratching noises accompanied a scream from the hallway. Out of seemingly nowhere, a repairman walked by outside the dorm’s window and yelled up that everything was okay, and for the girl to stay in her room. She obliged out of a crippling fear, but as it turns out, the other girl had been raped and murdered.
Rumors suggest that the spirit of the murdered girl never left the Moore Building, instead of staying to terrify future classes of girls with screaming and crying bouts. In a strange twist on the regular ghost story, the murderer was apparently arrested and served time in a mental institution, only to die in the mid-1980s. Since then, the sightings of the murdered girl’s ghost have been few and far between, as it is believed that she has now found peace.”
However, the Ashville Paranormal Society differs on the ending of the Moore House haunting. “It is true that students began refusing to live on the 3rd floor due to the sounds of crying, screaming, and pacing. Moore was converted to classrooms in the 1980’s, yet strange things continued to happen. The man convicted of the girl’s murder died in 1997, and the paranormal activity seems to have stopped, although students on the 3rd floor often report getting “the creeps” or feeling like they are being watched.”
Not to be outdone, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has its own catalog of paranormal activity and ghostly sightings. According to Sillykhan’s Blog, the university has a ghost that resides in the Spencer Residence Hall. “In the late 1960s, the Spencer Residence Hall ghost was known simply as “The Blue Ghost” or “The Woman in Blue.” In the early 1980s, students gave her the name “Annabelle,” possibly alluding to the subject of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem “Annabel Lee.”
It said that Annabelle is the spirit of a student who hanged herself many years ago in one of the building’s bell towers; The strange part is there was no suicide recorded. Who has haunted the building?
A member of the residence hall staff reported that Annabelle had “appeared as a blue shadow on two occasions in the Spencer’s main parlor and when the building was closed for the Summer in 1976, the same staff member heard the ghost “dragging something on the floor out in the lobby.” There have been other reports of a blue haze passing by a second-floor laundry room and of objects being flung across rooms.
In South Spencer in the early 1980s, an apparition reportedly awakened two different staff members on two separate occasions by walking into their rooms. The building had been closed for vacations both times. It is not known whether this was Annabelle or another ghost or ghosts.”
Along with Annabelle, Greensboro also has another famous female ghost, Mary Foust. Here’s what Sillykhan reports about her, “Mary Foust Residence Hall, built in 1928, was named for Mary Foust Armstrong, daughter of the college’s second president, Julius Isaac Foust. Mary was a member of the class of 1920, and she died when giving birth in 1925. Some believe that her ghost took up residence in the dormitory that bears her name. Students who have stayed in the dormitory have heard crying and footsteps running in the middle of the night when the students were asleep on the second floor.
There was a picture of Mary Foust portrait, which hung above the fireplace, but it disappeared some time ago without a trace.”
And finally, who doesn’t love a great theater ghost story?
“The Aycock Auditorium (1927), located on the corner of Spring Garden and Tate Street, the Aycock Building was built. Before that, the college bought the land and demolished a small old house that was on the property to accommodate the building.”
Unfortunately, that house held the spirit of Jane Aycock who hanged herself. So, finding herself without a haunt, she decided that the new auditorium would do just nicely, thank you…
“In 1988, theater professor, Tom Behm was spooked when he encountered Jane. He was directed Bye, Bye Birdie, and had accidentally left his briefcase at his office in the theater. It was late when he came back to pick it up.
“It was late that night when I forgot to grade some quizzes. I was with friends early in the evening and didn’t notice the time. It was quite dark and rainy. I thought I would pick up my briefcase. When I entered the building, it was quiet. The stage was dark. My office was across the stage, there were some lights on the side of the seats. Not that dark enough, but I could see where I was going. No one was there. I was the only one there. When I approached the middle of the stage, the stage lights came on. Then they flash on and off for a while. Then a white smoke-like apparition passed across the stage and came down the steps. It was walking towards me. I ran quickly to my office. Opened the door. I saw my briefcase and picked it up ran across the stage. Everything was gone. Nothing was there on the stage. I ran out of the building.”
I admire Tom for his courage – I would have left the briefcase.
“In 1997, a student was in the basement of the building during the staging of a musical. He saw something white walking up the stairway into the orchestra pit. Another student, who was getting props for a musical, felt a hand on her shoulder. She was startled and turned around, but no one was there.”
Even recently the tech crew in the auditorium tell stories of lights and radios coming on, and flashes of light on stage. Some even hear footsteps across the stage late at night.
The Carolinian reports: “Today, the Ghost of Jane Aycock seems to have grown tired of her super-spooky escapades, though she reportedly still makes herself known occasionally. Staff members can sometimes hear the distinct sounds of a woman loudly crying, even though they are the only people in the building. Qanyu Phang is a staff member at Aycock Auditorium, and, although he believes that the ghost is “happily in rest,” he’s heard stories from others that suggest otherwise.
“From what I have heard, she is most prevalent in the audience seats, and only when one is alone in the auditorium,” Phang reported.”
And, really, who wants to be alone with a ghost anyway? Of course, how would you know? There could be a ghost with you right now.
Like what you read? Find more stories by Terri Reid here.