The mid-September afternoon dragged on like any other in the sea of beige known as the Rambler Media Group offices.
The skeleton staff squinted at their computer screens as the methodical tic-tic-tic of typing fingers filled the air like a familiar lullaby.
Suddenly, the sharp three-toned ring of the office telephone broke through the monotony, demanding the attention of the dedicated office lingerers.
“My name is Terry Moon,” the voice from the other side said, “and I’m going to share with you the location of several ghosts who live on campus.”
Moon, a former Texas Wesleyan University student and staff member, believes that current students, faculty and staff share the 125-year-old campus with spirits of the dead, and he’s not the only one.
Joe Brown, professor of theatre and mass communication and dean of freshman success, will tell you that all it takes is a quick Google search to find the legend of Georgia, Wesleyan’s most famous ghost, who is said to reside in Nicholas Martin Hall.
“The story that we were always told is that a dark figure can walk anywhere around the building, but it does stay mostly on the front two rows,” Moon said. “And when approached, if it’s seated, it vanishes.”
While the story is a familiar one for Moon, Brown can tell you nearly every detail.
“When that building was a church, she was a member there. I never heard how she passed away, but she had a seat up on the balcony,” Brown said.
Some people claim that the one green chair located on the main floor of Martin was where Georgia sat, but Brown says this is not the case.
“When they remodeled the auditorium, they put that there so that when they were doing tours, they could talk about the ghost and point to that seat,” Brown said. “The seat is upstairs on the second row of the balcony.”
Brown has been hearing about Georgia since his first week at Wesleyan in 1978.
“Several of the theatre major alums would talk about when they were working there late at night, they would see this ghost supposedly floating down the aisle in white,” Brown said. “My predecessor, Mason Johnson, would claim to have seen the ghost.”
For Kathy Ferman-Menino ‘90, one of Brown’s former students, Georgia crossed over from the realm of legend to reality late one night during her junior or senior year.
“We were working on a set late into the evening,” Ferman-Menino said. “I saw someone up in the booth, like the silhouette of someone. It looked like an old lady up there. That didn’t make any sense, because it was just me and the other people from Joe Brown’s set design/set construction team. One minute we looked up in the booth and there was nobody there, because there wouldn’t have been, and the next minute I looked up and I thought I saw the silhouette of an old woman.”
Sophomore music majors Alan Michael Whetsel and Chanel Hurd believe they, too, more than a decade and a half later, have come in contact with the famous ghost of Martin Hall.
“As freshman, we went to Martin Hall to do rehearsal, and we ended up going up on the balcony to hang out,” Whetsel said. “It was close to midnight. No one was in Martin Hall anymore.”
Surrounded by nothing but pitch black, Whetsel started whistling, then, after a few moments, stopped.
“Five seconds later, you hear this same whistle somewhere else,” Whetsel said. “It was like a distant whistle.”
By this time in the evening, entry to Martin Hall requires a door code, limiting the building’s visitors to music majors, Whetsel and Hurd said.
If a person was in the auditorium, Hurd says, it would have been impossible for them to leave silently as well, because all the doors connected to the auditorium require pushing a bar to open, which makes a loud noise.
“Out of nowhere, we just hear the same whistle repeated back to us in the place where Georgia supposedly died, so it just kind of freaked us all out,” Hurd said.
Although Hurd says music majors are used to Georgia, nonchalantly blaming her for “anything kinda weird” that happens in Martin Hall, Whetsel says being in the building at night leaves him uneasy.
“You cannot be in Martin Hall by yourself at night,” Whetsel said. “You feel like there’s someone behind you.”
The encounter with Georgia has not been Whetsel’s only paranormal experience at Wesleyan. He resides on the third floor of Stella Russell Hall, where it’s rumored that a former student committed suicide.
“All of the windows are locked now,” he said, “completely locked because someone hung themselves outside the window. Since then, you can’t open any windows.”
Whetsel doesn’t know what to make of his own experience with the strange in Stella.
“Last year, my first semester, my roommate was a runner, like track or something,” Whetsel said. “He got up at like five every morning to go run, and I got used to that. I set the alarm to like six o’clock.”
One morning, Whetsel’s alarm woke him at six, as it usually did. His iPod fell beneath his bed out of reach, forcing him out of bed to find it.
“Through the window, I could see the reflection of my roommate in the bed,” Whetsel said. “I could always see his face if he was there or not.”
Whetsel found this odd, as his roommate was not usually there at this time.
“I thought he wasn’t going to be there,” he said. “It was pitch black, and I saw his phone screen light up his face. I saw his face. He was looking at me, like he made eye contact with me as that happened.”
Confused, Whetsel picked up his iPod, then looked again – only to see an empty bed.
“I didn’t see anything, so I turned the light on,” he said. “He wasn’t there. It really freaked me out. I was wide-awake at this time. I totally thought I saw his face, then he wasn’t there.”
Hurd gets goosebumps hearing Whetsel’s account of the apparition, because she too has been “hit” by the hauntings in Stella.
Her experience occurred late one night as she was trying to go to sleep in her room on the second floor.
“The lights are off,” Hurd said. “My roommate is one the other side, and I think she’s like watching a video or something on her phone.”
Hurd says she was lying in her bed, facing the wall, when suddenly she is hit in the back of the head by something hard.
“I turn around, and I see my roommate. My first thought is my roommate threw something at me,” she said. “We’re both screaming. I’m screaming because I got hit with something and she’s screaming because I’m screaming.”
Hurd’s roommate denied the accusation, leading Hurd to scan the room for the source of the blow.
“I look, and it was a pan that was sitting on top of my refrigerator that’s next to my bed,” she said. “But it had been there for a week. Nothing was on top of it. It wasn’t hanging off the refrigerator. It was just there. There’s no way that it could fly off that way and hit me.”
Hurd and her roommate spent the rest of the night “a little bit on edge.
“The pan just like flew off my refrigerator and hit me in my face,” Hurd said. “That was just crazy – just lyin’ there tryin’ to go to sleep, metal pan hits you in your face, and you can’t explain how it does that. That’s the craziness that happens in Stella.”
But Morgunn Minor, a freshman early childhood education major, says Stella isn’t the only dorm affected by things unexplained. She has had her own experience in her room in James C. Armstrong & Elizabeth Means Armstrong Hall, better known around campus as simply Elizabeth.
Minor was finally getting some rest after having difficulty sleeping all week when a violent shaking of her mattress woke her.
“Once I actually started falling asleep, I just felt my mattress shake behind me,” she said. “It was weird. It was not my body. It was like somebody was shaking my bed behind me trying to wake me up or something.”
The incident rendered Minor unable to sleep once more.
“I was creeped out,” she said. “I ended up going to sleep at like five in the morning, ‘cause it happened at like three in the morning. I had to be up at eight. It was pretty bad.”
Brown has never heard of any ghosts in Wesleyan’s current dorms, and has his own explanation as to what’s keeping the students up at night.
“I just think it’s probably other students having sex in their rooms, making weird noises and moans and groans,” he said.
But Brown has heard of several other what he calls “secondary apparitions” at Wesleyan, including one who is said to reside in the United Methodist Conference Center, formerly known as the Dillow house.
“Audrey Dillow lived there until she was in her late 90s and passed away there,” Brown said. “So the house was shut down, and the university owned it. There was talk that if you looked up there, you could see her looking through her curtains of her second floor bedroom. One of our plant operations people went up there in the daytime and swore that she would hear her rocker going.”
Another ghost was said to live on the third floor of Ann Waggoner before the building burned down.
“The third floor had been closed for years, and the lower floors were where the religion and English departments were housed before we ever were in the church,” Brown said. “There was talk that if you looked up at the third floor west window, you could see a young woman looking through.”
Moon claims this was the ghost of Ann Waggoner herself.
“If you walked along the campus at night and looked up at the third floor, you would see the face of Ann Waggoner following you from window to window,” he said. “When I looked up and saw what I saw, it didn’t look like a face, but it did look like a bright, glowing area that would move as you did the movement with it.”
When Brown met with a “professional ghostbusters” group on campus about 10 years ago, they never visited Ann Waggoner, but they did visit Martin Hall, the Dillow house, and the Boyd house.
“The Boyd house is oldest house in Poly,” Brown said. “There is supposedly an apparition of a young little girl. Security has talked about seeing her look through the windows of the second floor, and then the light comes on. Then, they go in and check, and there’s no light. Then they come back, lock the building, drive around again, and there’s the light on.”
The ghostbusters detected a hostile energy on the second floor of the Boyd house, Brown said.
“In the Boyd house, they were getting a lot of Geiger counter energy readings that were very negative. In fact, they were saying, ‘We need to get out of here. We don’t like the negative energy in here,’” Brown said. “The word is that the family that owned the Boyd house, the Boyds, did have a little girl, but we’ve never been able to find anything about a death or anything like that.”
The Boyd house has since become The Language Company, but the strange phenomenon hasn’t exactly stopped. Ines Zhang, director of the Dallas/Fort Worth location, says unexplainable issues with technology have plagued the building.
“Ever since we moved, we constantly had issues with technology, like it just doesn’t work,” Zhang said. “AT&T came here, I think it was like seven or eight times, and nobody could tell us why the internet could not connect. And then, finally I think the seventh or eighth guy said, ‘Maybe the place is haunted.’”
Issues with other technology, like the printer, lead Zhang to believe that if the building is haunted, the ghost definitely does not like technology. But this belief does not seem to scare her in any way.
“We definitely love our new space, and we love sharing it with the ghost, if there are any,” she said.
Kevin Bryan of Fort Worth Paranormal, a local paranormal investigation team, believes this is the right attitude to have.
“We have to be open-minded to the things that we don’t understand,” Bryan said. “Just because we don’t get it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.”
Based on the accounts of these students, faculty and staff, Bryan believes that Wesleyan’s current population shares the campus with some of its former inhabitants.
“I think that you guys probably absolutely have stuff there just based off the fact of how old the campus is and the volume of people that you’ve had come through there,” he said. “When you have multiple sources reporting the same types of things, you kind of have to step back and go ‘Ok, this could possibly be going on. We at least have to be open to it.’”
Fort Worth Paranormal will be conducting an on-campus investigation in the coming weeks. Be sure to check therambler.org for the video footage from that investigation.