As long as we're on a creepy campus crawl, we might as well head to the heartland. Penn State was founded in 1855 as the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania. In 1882 school president George Atherton added engineering to the fledgling school's offerings and Penn State took off. By then, the school had become the Pennsylvania State College. It earned university status in 1953 and now has tens of thousands of students yelling "Here we go Lions, here we go" on its' 24 statewide campuses. It's most famous ghost can be seen haunting the sidelines every Saturday at Beaver Stadium...ooops, my bad. That's not an old apparition, that's Joe Paterno. But rest assured the school boasts of many other spooks roaming the campus.
Atherton Hall: Named in honor of Frances Atherton, the hall opened in the 1930s as a girl's dorm and now houses scholars and international students. It has a pair of reported spooks roaming its' halls. One of them is "Gumshoes", a former house mother. Students can still hear the distinctive creaking of her shoes as she paces the halls, keeping an eagle eye on her girls. The other is Frances herself, whose spirit has been spotted floating along the halls late at night. She must make a quick run to the hall whenever she takes a break from haunting Old Botany. A reader added another little bit of lore: "I lived in Atherton Hall in 2005...and I used to get a creepy feeling in my room all the time. I heard a rumor about someone dying in the elevator shaft, directly next to my room. Anyways, there is definitely something weird going on there."
Beam Hall: Built in 1975, the old dorm was converted into business offices, and then converted back to dorms again. Campus legend has it that the dorm was originally shut down because of poltergeist activity coming from a second floor loo. A man supposedly hung himself in there from an overhead pipe and his spook has been raising havoc since. Once it become offices, the ghostie reportedly behaved himself. But the pipe is still there, and it's a dorm again...
Brumbaugh Hall: This is a collegiate urban legend brought about by psychic Jeanne Dixon. She once predicted that there would be a mass murder in the tallest female dorm of an eastern university (she later denied she meant PSU) and since then upperclassmen have delighted in spooking the frosh by telling them of a rumored midnight visit on Halloween by an ax murderer in Brumbaugh. Urban legend or not, it's said many freshmen decide to spend Halloween night anywhere but at Brumbaugh.
Ghost Walk: This tree lined path once led to the doors of the Old Botany Building. It's said that a student was caught on the walk in a sudden blizzard and froze to death in the 1860s, and his spirit since has been reportedly seen there by other warm blooded students. The Ghost Walk is now gone. It's site was used to build the Burrowes Building. His spook hasn't been seen since, now that it's presumably warm and toasty inside the new building.
Ihlseng Cottage:, The cottage, built in 1898, was a residence, a hospital, and now hosts offices of the Institute for Arts and Humanities. One of our readers relates this tale: "I used to work there... on the third floor, and one night I was there after hours to meet a deadline and heard what I thought was my neighbor across the hall working. It was a male voice, clear as day. When I was leaving I checked, no one else was in the building, and my neighbor was actually traveling that week." So maybe we have one more hard-working spirit on campus.
Keller Building: There were reports of activity here in the 1990s, when a student left his room screaming because of a presence in his bed. When he returned with the RA, the door had locked, and the sounds of a poltergeist ransacking the room could be heard through the door. This may be related to a student that committed suicide there.
Old Botany Building: The spook of Frances Atherton, wife of old president George Atherton, is said to keep an eye on him from the attic of Old Botany, built in 1909. She's supposedly been sighted looking out the attic's front window towards Schwab Auditorium where George's grave is located. She's also been reported to be seen swaying in her rocker, tending to her knitting. The lights have been seen spotted going on and off in the locked room, footsteps have been heard, and electrical devices malfunction. Once the staff posed for a picture in front of Old Botany. When it was developed, a stranger was seen looking out the upstairs window of the supposedly empty building. The building was investigated on A&E's Paranormal State series with the Penn State Paranormal Research Society in early 2007.
George Atherton's tomb from Wikipedia
Old Coaly: Old Coaly was one of the pack mules used when Penn State was being built in the 1850s. When he died he was the last of the original mule team, and his skeleton was put on exhibit at Old Main. A fire there caused the university to store him in the cellar of Watts Hall, a dorm. He was later put back on display at the Agricultural Building in the 1960s, and Old Coaly apparently didn't like being moved again. It's said that you could hear his braying coming from the basement, and he was even was spotted standing outside the storage area and on the first floor. Current Watt's RAs and residents haven't heard Old Coaly lately. Now that's he's been in one place for awhile and had a campus eatery named after him, he may be satisfied with his lot. But we all know how stubborn a mule can get...
Patee Library: The basement stacks at Pattee are alleged to be haunted by the ghost of Betsy Aardsma, who was murdered there in 1969. The crime was never solved. People have a sense of presence there, things get moved around, and one student claimed to feel someone grab her neck. Other phenomena have been reported that aren't thought to be of Betsy's doings. Screams have been heard from the subbasement and shadowy female forms & glowing red eyes have been seen in the library. The spooks have reportedly either disappeared into a mist or exited by walking through Pattee's walls.
Pollock Laptop Library: Tales of a spirit roaming the East Side study area and voices heard when the library was empty have been reported from Pollock Library.
Runkle Hall: The Hall, a dorm built in 1957, has almost as many spooks as residents. The third floor is especially active, with lots of poltergeist activity. One girl had her TV constantly switching to an all Spanish channel among other things like locking and unlocking doors, flickering lights, electronics that turn on and off and objects being thrown off of the walls. They broke out the ouija board, and sure enough - the answers were spelled out in Spanish, and the board told them they shared their room with 11 spirits, the first example of Latino ghosts in the state that we're aware of. The study lounge is called the "ghost room" because of the loud bangs, rearranged furniture, opening, closing, and self-locking doors and other phenomena emanating from it. One student saw an old lady's spook sitting in her rocker at the end of the hall.
Scwab Auditorium: Former president George Atherton is buried just outside the auditorium, and his spook is supposedly inside. He's thought to be a friendly ghost, watching over the collegiate actors and occasionally moving the curtains. Reportedly his spirit has both been seen and heard. Charles Schwab, who donated a large chunk of the money used to build the auditorium in 1903 is said to be the ghost that watches performances from the seats. A seat will go down, as if someone's sitting in it, and later rise when it leaves. The actors are convinced that it's "Schwaboo the Ghost" watching the show. Other apparitions have been reported from the hall. One of them was wearing a Revolutionary War uniform. Another duo, an adult and child, have been reported floating above the stage.
Charles "Schwaboo the Ghost" Schwab
from Gutenberg E Books