Students don’t have to go to a haunted house to get spooked.
With the numerous buildings that are supposedly haunted on campus, students might find themselves in the presence of a ghost studying in the library or attending a play at the Thad Smotherman Theatre.
Dean of Freshman Joe “Pro Joe” Brown said several buildings are haunted on campus, but the most famous story is of Georgia, the ghost in the Fine Arts Building.
“When I came here in 1978 I heard about this ghost from Mason Johnson, who at that time was chair of theatre,” he said. “I think he has been given credit with naming her.”
Brown said she was supposedly a ghost who had a seat in the balcony of the auditorium.
“When they remodeled and had to close Fine Arts down for wiring, at that time, the person who was currently the dean, which was Jeff Walters, had a particular colored chair put on the ground floor so when they had campus tours they could show, ‘Oh that’s the chair of the famous ghost,’ but he did that for convenience,” he said. “The real chair is up on the balcony of the second row.”
Brown spent many all-nighters working in the building but he said he never had an encounter with Georgia.
“I would be up there working and looking around and I never sensed her presence,” he said. “I never sensed a positive or negative energy.”
There are stories about a ghost running down a stairwell in the Dan Waggoner Hall, the School of Education building, Brown said.
“The theory was that it was someone who was killed in the war, a man,” he said.
The Methodist Conference Center used to be what was called the Dillow House, Brown said. The house originally belonged to Audrey Dillow, who attended Wesleyan and was given the house by her parents. The house sat in the historic commercial part of Polytechnic when it was a town.
Dillow ended up donating the home to Wesleyan and has since died. Wesleyan used to use the building for the alumni association and various student groups. Brown said a woman who he worked with on plant operations sensed Dillow was still had a positive presence in the house.
“When it was still being used by students, the women who would go in and help with setup talked about she would hear a rocking chair going and it was up in Audrey Dillow’s bedroom,” Brown said.
The Boyd House, which sits on the corner of Avenue E and Wesleyan Street, and is now home to the Language Company, is the oldest house in the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood, Brown said. Campus police would talk about seeing a light turned on in the house while they were doing their rounds late at night, Brown said.
“Supposedly, they saw what looked like the image of a small girl,” he said. “They would go in and the light would go off and they would leave and do the rounds and see the light back on.”
One year, Brown said, ghost professionals came to Wesleyan and he showed them different buildings, such as the Dillow house, where they got a reading for a positive presence on the second floor.
“Then when they went to the Boyd House and they went up to the second floor, they kind of got spooked and wanted to leave because it said they were getting what they consider a negative energy reading,” he said.
A security guard claimed a photo he took of Ann Waggoner Hall before it burned down showed a woman looking out a window, Brown said.
“There was a photograph that this man, and since then he’s deceased, but he would take it and show it to people of what looked like a female figure looking out of the third floor,” Brown said. “The third floor was closed off but the first and second floor were faculty offices.”
After the new library was built, Brown said there were reports from housekeepers who said there was a ghost flushing toilets on the third floor after hours. Louis Sherwood, associate professor and university archivist, works on the third floor of the library and said he has heard some strange noises while alone up there.
“I would hear what would sound like a door opening and shutting and I would go outside to look and see and there was no one,” Sherwood said. “I walked outside and walked all the way around and there was nothing.”
Sherwood said he has also heard books moving on shelves when no one was around.
“I have never seen anything but it makes you wonder after a while what’s going on because there is clearly no one there,” he said. “Why is there all this noise if there is no one here?”
Alanna James, a senior history education major, lives in West Village and she said she has experienced strange occurrences in her room.
“A lot of times I will have experiences where books will fall off my bookshelf,” James said.
One of the more prominent strange situations James said she experienced happened after she put her keys on her door knob.
“One time they were completely still but once I sat on my bed they started swinging back and worth kind of violently and then immediately stopped by itself,” she said.
Katie Matthews, a senior criminal justice major, said when she lived in Stella Hall she always sensed a presence in her room and sometimes things would start moving on their own.
“There was just a lot of weird noises and whatnot so I just made a joke of it, like it’s a ghost I named Henry just to have fun with it so I wouldn’t get scared,” Matthews said.