Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dark And Stormy Drew

Mead Hall - 1885

Drew University was established in 1867 as a Methodist seminary in Madison, part of Morris County, New Jersey, and 15 miles as the crow flies from Times Square. Now it's a university with three clusters: a liberal arts college, a humanities-centered graduate school, and a theology school. And if that sounds like a good mix for a few spooks to you, well, you're right.

The Arboretum: The Zuck Arboretum is a collection of on-campus fresh water ponds used by the University for Environmental and biological studies. The arboretum is said to be haunted by a “lady in blue” who appears near a lake in the back of the woods and trips students and staffers. Mischievous little spook, hey?

She shows up most often at sunset, but there have been daylight sightings, too. She's opaque, and no one has ever seen her face or body, just her blue dress as it wafts by.

Asbury Hall: Built by in 1834, the building originally was a carriage house. In 1867, Asbury Hall became home to its seminary students. Now it's a residence hall. People report seeing mists rolling along Asbury's halls, along with cold spots and unexplained nosies. According to college lore, a seminary student hung himself from the attic rafters, and the mist is his spirit still roaming the dorm.

Craig Chapel: Built in 1899 on the second floor of Seminary Hall, the Chapel is gently haunted. People have felt a sense of presence in the otherwise empty chapel, accompanied by heavy breathing.

The Great Hall: The Samuel W. Bowne Hall, built in 1912, is where The Great Hall is located. It was once a dining room; now it hosts many Drew events. Bowne is a medieval structure in the middle of campus, where the teachers have their offices. The Great Hall is modeled after the hall of Christ Church at Oxford University. The upper floor is a long, red-carpeted room, with wood paneling featuring carvings along the beams, a large fireplace, paneled doors, and lead glass windows.

Sometimes there are uninvited guests to the college events held at The Great Hall. People have reported seeing faces in the ceiling carvings, the chandeliers swing for no reason, and visitors have seen reflections of a man with round, gold spectacles in a mirror. TGH spooks aren't any more friendly than the Lady In Blue; people report being pushed towards the door, as if being rudely asked to leave.

Hoyt-Bowne Hall: Opened in 1894, the hall is a popular upperclassmen residence. There's a sad tale connected to it, and with several versions. The legend goes that a girl from room #412/#403 discovered she was pregnant/messily broke up with her boyfriend, and then hung herself/was thrown out the window to her death. Mix and match the story to your satisfaction; the next part everyone seems to agree on.

Weird stuff happens on the fourth floor. Witnesses have seen doors open and window shades fly up. And woe to you if you happen to be of the male persuasion; the spook at Hoyt is definitely hostile to the guys. She knocks them down, pushes them, and has even been blamed for a broken limb or two. Drew has wisely used the top floor as an all-female residence.

The floor is so famously haunted that it's mentioned on Drew's official site.

It's also been reported that a colonial soldier will occasionally pop up on Hoyt's front lawn, scaring the bejabbers out of strollers and then disappearing. It's said that Hoyt was built partially over an old graveyard, and he was one of the disturbed bodies.

A part of the underground railroad stretches underneath the campus, and the tunnels start at Hoyt. A visit will fill one with appropriate spooky sensations, though no real tale has sprung from the tunnels.

Kirby Theater:
The FM Kirby Shakespeare Theater is relatively new on campus, but built on the bones of an old gym. It's haunted by one of its gym rats, Reggie. He's usually seen on premise in shorts or sweatpants. In one well known story, a couple of stagehands, leaving the building, said "Goodnight, Reggie." The lights flicked on and off in reply.

The Library: Founded in 1867 with the school, it's supposed to sport a spook in the A-deck stacks.

Mead Hall: Mead was built in 1837. Daniel Drew, the college founder, bought it in 1867 and renamed it after his wife, Roxanna Mead. It's said that her spirit has been spotted roaming the halls.

Her most famous sighting was during a fire, when two Madison firefighters saw a woman dressed in period clothes walking calmly through the flames. They called out to her, to lead her to safety. She vanished before their eyes.

Its final spooky memento - it's said that the eyes of the first floor paintings in the building follow you around as you walk the floor.

Hey, it sounds like Drew is trying to elbow in on the Catholic school ghost monopoly. The more the merrier, we say. Keep it ecumenical.


Anonymous said...

I go to Drew University. Last semester, I lived in Hoyt 4th in room 401. It was not unusual to hear about these things happening or even if you felt like someone was opening the door. There is a certain heaviness walking into the dorms but nothing unbearable. The rooms can feel a bit creepy at times but everyone gets used to it. In addition to the creepiness of the floor there is the underground railroad right under Hoyt as well as some of the buildings on campus. I currently live in asbury 3rd which they say that a student had hung himself and that there has been a mist which is presumed to be the student. (My dorm is right next to the stairs that lead up to the attic.) I have yet to see any mists but I can say that there are times when the corridors of the halls seem cold, which is usually a sign of a ghost being present. Recently, I have heard noises from my closet, which I still cannot explain but I'm sure it has to do with the ghost. One place that I can say from experience that can be creepy is the library. There are so many hidden rooms and book stacks that sometimes it feels like someone or something is watching; like those huge painting of the founders of drew.

Cam Bright said...

Great reading yyour post