Ten Most Haunted Schools on the U.S. East Coast
Most Haunted Schools
School is a place where we send our young ones to learn and receive a formal education, in order to propel them into the next stage of their lives. Schools are thought to be an instituted and somewhat orderly place, though sometimes they are not. Fights and rowdy children could be the cause for the disturbed peace, or a more sinister power may lurk behind school walls waiting to be discovered. In the past twenty years, the number of paranormal experiences and hauntings reported in schools across America has been on the rise. With stories of ghostly children and murdered teachers and even lonely janitors, this is my list of the top ten most haunted schools in America...it might be a good idea to read this during the day, while there's still light outside!
1. Lambertville High School
Across the Delaware River, directly adjacent to Pennsylvania is the little town of Lambertville, New Jersey. This little rural town has a thick historical past, if you dig deep enough. The most interesting piece of history and the creepiest I have read in a very long time is the ghostly stories surrounding the abandoned Lambertville High School. The high school was first established in 1854 and then remodeled in 1927. Apparently in the 1950s, the school closed its doors forever after a ravenous fire and also due to the increasing population of the town's youth.
Since the 50's, many brave (or stupid) New Jersian souls have gotten up enough pluck to go wandering through the disheveled and partially burnt hallways of the old high school only to discover that they should not have done such a thing! The first thing that really sent the shivers down my spine when researching this school is the chalkboard artwork in one of the classrooms. Unfortunately somebody has graffiti-ed all over the etchings, but the picture to the right was one captured of the artwork before it was vandalized. Many people who have seen this etching in person say that it is either very creepy or somewhat nostalgic in that it reminds them of when they attended school. Either way, the artist of the etchings is unknown...there has never been a signature found and no one has admitted to their masterpiece in the abandoned school.
One person tells of how he and his friends went looking for adventure and adventure (or terror) found them on the third floor of the collapsing school. The man and friends were turning to leave the building when they heard two blood-curdling screams from what seemed to be a little girl, undulating down from the third floor that they had just departed from. Another man claims that he spent the night in the high school back in the 80's to avoid getting caught sneaking back into his house after sneaking out and having the door locked behind him. He slept in one of the offices on the second floor of the Lambertville High School, only to be awakened in the middle of the dark night to a dragging or shuffling sound of footsteps making their rounds around the entire school...each floor and stopping in front of each classroom or office along the way. He claims it stopped in front of the office he was resting in and he didn't move until the sun came up...and then he bolted out of the building!
Among the screams and shuffling noises heard inside of the old school, there is also tales of children's laughter emanating from the old school at exactly midnight. Some locals claim that a number of children were killed in the school's last fire and that they could still be trapped there...maybe the old rendering on the chalkboard was a dedication to their memory, rendered there by a teacher or student who knew the others? Whatever the facts, this is one scary high school with a long list of ghostly experiences.
2. Pennsylvania State University
This University, established in the mid 1800's, is a hot spot for paranormal activity, including what people claim to be a poltergeist in one area of the campus. While reading through some sites in reference to the hauntings experienced on this college's premises, I made the observation that almost every building has some sort of ghost story related to it. Some of them are extremely hair-raisingly scary, while some of the others are your typical run-of-the-mill ghost tales.
In the University's Patee Library (the basement stacks), a ghost named Betsy Aardsma is said to roam the library's quiet aisles. The story goes that Betsy was murdered in this building in 1969. Reports from students include screams, unknown glowing red eyes, floating apparitions and apparitions that walk through walls. Some of these are thought to be the spirit of poor Betsy, but there are many more spirits than just Betsy's traipsing through the Patee Library. One student even claimed to have felt a presence grab her on the neck while walking through the Library one night.
Ever heard of a ghost mule? Well, there is one particular apparition that has appeared to students and teachers in the form of a mule. They refer to him as Old Coaly and he was said to have been one of the pack mules that aided in the building of the University's buildings back in 1855. After he passed, his body was placed on an exhibit. Since then, his body has been shuffled around from one part of the University to the next, and every time he is moved people catch glimpses of his unsettled spirit...guarding his remains. Since the 1960s though, he has been on display in one area in the Agricultural Building and an eatery has been named after Old Coaly so most of Penn State's residents believe his spirit may be appeased now.
Things on campus take a terrifying twist in the legends of the Keller Building. In the 90's a student was witnessed to have jolted from his bedroom, screaming that someone or some presence was in the bed with him. When some other students and teachers led him back to his room to investigate the mysterious occurrence, his bedroom door had been locked and they witnessed loud noises as the boy's room was totally ransacked by an unknown presence. This has been attributed to a possible poltergeist, the spirit of a student who committed suicide in this building in the past.
The last and I think creepiest legend circulating the University's property is the urban legend of Brumbaugh Hall. This urban legend was actually featured as one of the urban legends in the horror film Urban Legend . Tales are told from the upperclassmen to the freshmen that an axe murderer sneaked into the Hall and slaughtered a group of teenage girls one Halloween night. There is no documented proof that an occurrence like this ever happened on this campus; nevertheless, most students avoid this building on Halloween nights.
Various other paranormal occurrences and apparitions have been experienced all over Penn State's property...ghosts of students who froze out in the cold and ghosts of people who have committed suicide in more than one of the buildings. The ghost of the old President George Atherton and also the ghost of his wife have been seen in different areas of the University campus. All of this supernatural activity makes me wonder if there isn't some sort of previous tragic connection to the land that the University rests upon...maybe a burial ground or cursed ground when the Natives ruled the land? Just a theory of my own...I could be way off. Or maybe it is situated over a paranormal hot spot...a spot in which two different energies or waves of energy collide. Whatever the reason, Penn State is definitely one of the most spooky and haunted schools in America today.
3. University of Tampa
The University of Tampa is situated in downtown Tampa, Florida and was first established as the Tampa Bay Hotel in the year 1891. The sightings and paranormal occurrences here have not been formally investigated or documented yet; nevertheless, many people who have worked or studied in the University have experienced paranormal activity.
In the science department of the University of Tampa, it is said that one can hear the creaking of cart wheels and clanging sounds in the dead of the night. These sounds are attributed to being ghostly noises of the Tampa Bay Hotel's servants' that were once occupants in that area.
Perhaps one of the most told ghost stories of UT is that of the "Brown Man". The Brown Man has been seen at least twice by different people, usually close to the Plant Museum of the University, and he is always dressed in a three-piece brown suit...seemingly from another period in time. One girl who came upon the Brown Man was visiting the school with her father (he apparently worked as a maintenance man around the university) when she walked up the stairs to the second floor and saw the Brown Man standing on the third floor close to the staircase. She called out to him to see if he needed help, but he turned towards her and stared at her with what seemed to be a set of glowing red eyes. The girl bolted down the stairs and searched for her father. It was 5:30 am in the morning...and she had no idea what she had just encountered, until someone explained to her that the figure she encountered was probably the Brown Man that haunts that area of UT. Others have had similar experiences with sightings of this Brown-suited apparition. If you take a glance at the pictures to the right, these are actual photos taken in the late 1800's at the University when it was the Tampa Bay Hotel. Maybe the Brown Man is one of these men or someone that was just like them? The pictures are haunting in and of themselves.
Another paranormal phenomenon occurring somewhat often in UT is the sound of rolling dice, emanating from an area of the University that is thought to have once been the Tampa Bay Hotel's casino, years and years ago.
4. Augusta State University
In the heart of the South is the Augusta State University, embraced by the Georgia countryside. If you've ever been to Georgia, you will understand me when I say that there is something quite haunting about the entire state, so it is no surprise that one of their main universities is a breeding ground for paranormal activities.
The University was built in the year 1783 and was shut down shortly to serve as a Civil War Hospital for wounded soldiers during the Civil War. In fact, there is a small cemetery located near the grounds of the University that is home to the graves of the "Walker" family, and it is here that students and other witnesses have spotted a ghostly Civil War soldier, in a full Civil War Confederate uniform, wandering into the cemetery.
Amongst the most infamous ghost stories told on campus is the most bone-chilling story of all...the story of Emily Galt. Emily Galt lived in a home that is now a part of the University's campus and is known as Bellevue Hall. It was the year 1862, Emily was 21 years old and was engaged to a handsome young man. Unfortunately the young suitable man was called to duty to serve in the Civil War and legend even says that Emily had an argument with him about it. She loved him so and did not want to let him go into battle right before their wedding. He did anyway and inevitably was killed in battle. It is said that Emily etched her name into the window pane of the Bellevue's window pane with her diamond engagement ring, directly before she threw herself from the window and died upon hitting the cold, hard ground below. She wanted to join her betrothed in death, since she would never be joined with him in life. The picture to the right is of a teacher at Augusta State and he is actually holding the window that carries Emily's etched name, still to this day it remains...in all its historic and sad glory. Throughout the past fifteen years, many students and teachers claim to hear an argument between a young man and woman but upon investigation no one is around. The phone lines have been known to act up, as well as other electrical appliances in Bellevue Hall. Is it possible that the young man and Emily's spirits still occupy the Bellevue Hall, re-living their fight the night that he left to go to war? Maybe they'll never be at peace...even though they are together now. Maybe they don't even realize that they're both dead...
Another paranormal hot spot on campus is the Benet House (pictured to the right), which serves as the school's Admissions Office now. Lights turn on and off, footsteps are heard, and an old rocking chair can be heard sometimes at night. Cold spots are also a common thing in the Benet House, and one of the people who work in the Benet House claim that they've witnessed a gray figure dart from their vision within a mirror in the bathroom.
My opinion? Any University (or building or property for that matter) that has a history dating back hundreds of years is bound to have some sort of spirit or energy lingering. Do I want to go investigate the supernatural occurrences on Augusta State's old campus? Well, I'll leave that one up to Georgia's paranormal professionals.
5. Southern Maine Community College
Located in South Portland, Maine is a Community College known as Southern Maine Community College. There is a thick history of the property that the Community College now occupies, including stories of brothels, nursing homes, and even a funeral home being once present on the premises. To add to the creepiness and mystery of the property, there is an old cemetery still occupying one part of the campus grounds. It is known as the Old Settler's Cemetery.
One particular dorm house on the property is known as the Hillside Dorm, and this is the building that was thought to once have been a funeral home, a brothel, and even a nursing home throughout its long existence. Strange happenings have been recorded about this place, including animal-like noises coming from the attic. While maintenance has tried dozens of times to catch this supposed animal, they have never been successful...but apparently strange tracks in the dust have been spotted around each and every trap set up in the attic. There are also rumors that an older woman and a young boy enjoy playing tricks on some of the students living in the dormitory. Objects have been moved and beds unmade (after being made) are just a few of the supernatural occurrences here.
The paranormal investigators of Maine actually came in to investigate the ghostly rumors and found some significant evidence to prove that there is in fact paranormal activity in this historic building. They caught a few EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon) on tape, including the voice of an old lady talking to them. They also experienced activity on their K2 meters and had a flashlight mysteriously knocked over twice, with no reason as to how or why it was knocked over. You can read their full report here: http://www.pri-me.org/investigations/hillside/hillside_dorm_1.html. It is clear that the team believes there are spirits trapped here, including an older lady who seems to be an intelligent spirit of sorts. Unfortunately the last people were saying is that the building was up for sale...I wonder if the new owners or residents have experienced the same as the students and PRI-ME?
6. Matthew Whaley Elementary School
In the year 1696, a teacher named Mary Whaley gave birth to a single son and named him Matthew Whaley. Mary taught her child in the backyard of their home, but unfortunately at nine years of age, the little boy died...leaving Mary and the father with no children. Mary Whaley, shortly after her son's death, opened a school for the poor and it was known throughout the Community of Williamsburg, Virginia as "Mattey's School". Following a period of a few years, Mary Whaley lost her husband and he was buried beside Mattey in a church's cemetery located in Williamsburg. Mary left the country and entrusted her school to the church's wardens.
Through different buildings being erected and torn down over the past three hundred years, there is now a fairly large brick building used as an Elementary School and named in Matthew Whaley's memory that stands on Scotland Street. It is said that Mattey's ghost has been seen on the school grounds, more than once. However, many people claim that because this is not the actual site of the original school, his ghost is actually seen in front of the Governor's palace in town...at the spot of the original schoolhouse. Others claim that they have experienced sightings of two young black boys, playing in the yard of the Elementary School. Rumors have spread that they are the ghosts of two young black boys who were killed by anti-desegregation assailants in the 1960s. Still other people say that the ghosts are of Mattey Whaley and a little black slave boy who was his friend while he was still alive.
Whether Mattey Whaley's ghost haunts the actual school or different parts of Williamsburg is unknown, but one thing is for sure...this school has some paranormal activity that cannot be denied by the people who have witnessed the ghostly figures playing in the yard of the school on certain dark nights.
7. University of Florida
The University of Florida in Gainesville is home to the UF Gators and to tens of thousands of students...commonly known facts about the Gainesville, FL institution. One lesser known fact is that the University is haunted by more than one ghost.
In the Beaty Towers, situated right on route 441, a ghost of a young woman occupies one dormitory room. There have been many rumors spread about the young woman, saying that she supposedly committed suicide by jumping from her Beaty window back in the late 60's. Now it is known as an urban legend, as many claim that the event never took place; however, some historians on campus actually believe it to be true. Whether fact or fiction, something weird is going on in the Beaty Tower dorms. Students have said that they hear strange noises and some have even seen a ghostly figure walking up and down the halls. A rumor that Tom Petty's song "American Girl" was referring to the suicidal woman circulated amongst America's youth for a couple years after its release; however, Tom Petty put those rumors to bed in stating that the rumors were not true and that the suicidal girl's ghost is merely an urban legend. Maybe she's the product of college students' overactive imaginations? I guess you'd have to experience it for yourself...
The Thomas Hall dorms are the oldest on campus (built in the early 1900s) and are also said to be active with paranormal happenings. When the radiators are turned off and not in use during the Summer, there are noises coming from them...very creepy moaning noises. A past employee's spirit is possibly stuck in this building...forever doomed to roam the dorm's space.
8. Corriher Lipe Middle School
Corriher Lipe Middle School is located in Landis, North Carolina and is one of the schools on the United States' East Coast to be reportedly haunted.
The creepy story goes that in the 1940s, a janitor by the name of Larry was killed in a boiler-room explosion. For many years following this tragic incident, many witnesses have heard his spirit roaming the halls, keys clanking and heavy footsteps thudding on the school's floors. In addition to the janitor's restless spirit stuck in the middle school, there is also stories of children's voices and cries echoing in the hallways. Children and teachers who have been in the school at night have had similar experiences with these sounds...and they have all left frightened. Some even claim to have seen ghostly apparitions darting between lockers. There are no solid theories as to why there seems to be children spirits residing in the Middle School...only the lonely story of Larry the Janitor. Maybe if we could talk to him he might have an idea who these spirited children are?
9. Chopticon High School
Chopticon High School is nestled amongst farmlands dating back to the early 1800s, located in the small community of Morganza, Maryland. The school was built in 1965, as a replacement to Margaret Brent High School...which was turned into Margaret Brent Middle School.
I attended this high school and before me, my mother attended this high school. Sometime in the 80's, an English teacher who taught at Chopticon was murdered while in the school one day. It was supposedly in the summer, so class was not in session. Mrs. Heater was doing her preparation for the upcoming fall semester and new school year, when a man named Mr. Broome (some say he was a disabled janitor, while others say he worked on the farm nearby) went off the deep end and stabbed Mrs. Heater...many times (or so the legends say). She was found in one of the furthest, most unused bathrooms on the high school's first floor (the school is two stories now but back then was only one floor).
When I was in ninth grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Williams (for privacy purposes this is a made-up name) told us about Mrs. Heater's untimely and terrifying murder back in the 80's. There is even talk that the man was released from either prison or a mental facility, as he claimed insanity to the charges. As a side note, I do not have any hard physical documentation on any of these events, so this is going off of what my teacher's story told and also what my mother and others have told me about Mrs. Heater's murder.
Anyway, many students claim to feel a presence while in the same bathroom that Mrs. Heater breathed her last breath. Some teachers claim to hear phantom footsteps in the hallways or hear doors slamming with no one behind them. I have been inside that very bathroom and before even hearing the story of Mrs. Heater found it to contain quite a creepy and unsettling energy within it's walls. Whether Mrs. Heater's ghost walks the hallways where her life ended is unknown but definitely speculated. Other theories of the ghostly sounds and feelings attribute the nearby, long-gone Native Americans' lands...lands on which the Natives fought for their lives and lost their lives. Or perhaps the presence in Chopticon's west hallways is merely a left-over energy of the tragedy that occurred there over twenty years ago.
10. Epsom Red Schoolhouse
There is a little red schoolhouse located in Epsom, New Hampshire that is the center of much speculation and legend. Many people in the area say that it was once a place where twelve children attended school but were abused by the teacher and eventually killed before they could report his abusive ways. No one has found documented proof that a tragic event such as this ever took place here, but there has been many paranormal experiences here that have been documented.
A ghost quest team did do an investigation of this quaint little building and recorded three EVPs (which can be listened to by going to their website here: http://www.nhtourguide.com/tripreports/haunted_schoolhouse_epsom_nh.htm). Pretty creepy stuff! They also took many pictures in which a large amount of orbs were caught on film. There is definitely paranormal activity going on in this little red schoolhouse and I wouldn't go wandering in there any night of the week!
Written and copyrighted © by Kitty the Dreamer (May Canfield), 2012. All Rights Reserved.