Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Wraiths of IUP

Sutton Hall Bell Tower

Indiana University of Pennsylvania started out as tiny Indiana Normal School in 1875, hosting classes in Sutton Hall. It became a university in 1965, and grew from an original class of 225 students to its' current enrollment of 14,000. But it still holds to the old traditions - its ghosts predate the University.

Breezedale Hall: Breezedale Hall was built in the 1860's by James Sutton and sold to John Elkin. The Victorian mansion is now IUP's Alumni Hall.

According to school legend, a man in a beige suit can be seen lurking at the back stairwell before he disappears. There have also been reports of strange sounds and lights going on and off. James Sutton's brother-in-law, William Bell Marshall, lived in the mansion and committed suicide there. Maybe he's still roaming the halls.

Keith Hall: Keith Hall today is the place where students study the social sciences, but it had a humbler start.

The Hall is one of the favorite spook spots of the Ghost Researchers in Pennsylvania, who use it as a training grounds for would-be investigators. There's Bill, the "lounge lizard" in Room 233, who will only make contact with the group when they sing. GRIP has orb pictures of him. They have EVP's of an unknown British spirit, too. All in all, it's considered the hub of eeriness at IUP.

Stapelton/Stabley Library: Stabley Library, which was built in 1961, was later joined with the newer Stapleton Library. And in a hush-hush place like a library, its paranormal calling card sticks out: voices can be heard (although at a whispered volume) with the Paranormal Society of IUP taping some EVPs.

Sutton Hall: This is IUP's original school building, built by John Sutton, James older brother, in 1875.

If you come out at midnight and look at the top of the Sutton Hall bell tower, you're supposed to see a figure appear at the window. Faculty members have reported seeing a man in a top hat wandering the halls, and staff has heard music in the stairwells. The fourth floor is supposed to be a hive of paranormal activity, with feelings of uneasiness, sounds of running, and voiceless sobs and crying.

Waller Hall: Originally designed in 1926 to be a gymnasium, Waller Hall is now used for the theater department. And like any good stage, it has its cast of spooks.

Sarah, a little girl who drowned in the gym pool (its tiles can still be seen on the floor of the experimental theatre), has been spotted quietly playing in the corner, and sometimes she even makes an appearance sitting on the house lights. There's also an older guy ghost who's a little more disruptive. He's always slamming doors and moving things around, and his usual haunts are the studio theatre and its lighting platform.

Wilson Hall: It was constructed in 1894 and now serves the criminology department. It started as  the Model School, where a young Jimmy Stewart attended classes before World War I, and was a library in between. Since its conversion to a crime lab, its activity, consisting mainly of books flying off the library shelves, has abated.

So hey, when you visit campus, just remember that IUP may have all the trappings of a 21st century university, but it still clings to its eerie past.


Anonymous said...

My roommate and I both saw the same apparition at different times in our dorm room in Shaffer Hall (5th floor - last room on the left) in 1984. I awoke one night seeing a man in a trench coat and 40's style hat sitting next to me watching me sleep. I thought I was dreaming so I didn't mention it. A few nights later, my roomate was screaming and throwing things at the door yelling, "Get out! Who are you". She described him as the same man I saw. When I told her my "dream" she freaked out. Also in our house on Church Street, we would see shapes of people going down the stairs and our clocks would change times. Our friend's dog would not go into the kitchen - his hackle went up and he dug his feet into the floor. I think our address was 1047 or 1077 Church Street?

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Stewart was born in 1908. Why would he attended grade school in a building that wasn't built until he was 31 and had already been in over 30 movies

Ron Ieraci said...

Anon - thanks for your sharp eyes. Stewart visited the Keith School as an alum of sorts, which was originally the Model School at Wilson (which he attended). I screwed up the timeline and appreciate the note.

Anonymous said...

What about Weyandt? There was a kid pushed down the stairs and killed there in 1987.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I've heard the stories and sure would like to check it out for myself as I live in Indiana, PA. It would be interesting to find out if that stairwell at Weyandt had some paranormal activity.