Horrific hauntings or mere urban legends?

Horrific hauntings or mere urban legends?

by Kate Paulman

While some students are flocking to the theaters and haunted houses to get a good scare this Halloween, others have already had their fill of frights in their own dorm rooms.

“It was a dark and stormy night,” freshman Hannah Elkin said. “No, really it was. I’m not kidding. My roommates and I were looking out the window at the storm one night, and while Megan was looking out the window we heard knocking noises. We told Megan to stop it and she said, ‘Guys, it’s not me.’ Then we all screamed and ran outside because it sounded like it was coming from the crawl space.”

Elkin’s story is one of many strange occurrences that have taken place in ‘haunted’ Kresge Hall. According to urban legend, a girl killed herself in the crawl space of one of the third floor rooms. This has led to manydifferent reports of ghostly activity.

“She whispers to me and Denae [my roommate],” freshman Jen Lashier said. “It happens when I’m in bed at night. You can’t understand what she says, it’s just noise. But you can feel something; it’s just weird.”

Freshmen Laura Spain and Amy Templeton, Lashier’s roommates, can also attest to spooky activity in their room.

“All the stuff on the top of the bookshelf fell off of it one night,” Spain said. “We were all like, ‘Oh my God!’ We couldn’t figure out why it all fell; nobody was even around it.”

“Things fall off the wall all the time,” Templeton said.

Once, their computer also seemed to be overcome with an unexplainable presence.

“Nobody was by the computer but the screen just kept scrolling up and down,” Spain said.

These strange events led the roommates to alter their actions and block the entrance to the crawl space with refrigerators.

“We had it open before,” Spain said. “But now we’re like, ‘Don’t open the door!'”

The girls said they believe that they live in the room where the alleged suicide occurred.

“There’s a tree etched in the door of the crawl space,” Templeton said. “They say that her boyfriend hit a tree and died and that’s why she killed herself. So, she carved a tree into the door before she did it. Other than that, there’s a bunch of trash in our crawl space. But now we don’t open that door anymore.”

Despite convincing testimony, there never was a suicide in Kresge Hall, according to a campus historian.

“Where did that ever get started?” Joe Walt, professor emeritus of history, said. “We’ve had student suicides, but only two since I’ve been here. Neither were female nor in Kresge. There’s no shred of evidence that such a death took place in history.”

Simpson is on the list of Iowa’s haunted places, Walt says there are only two deaths that have spawned such ghost stories. One of which is the death of a male in 1888 and the other Mildred Hedges in 1935.

However, Walt finds the ghost stories around both of these deaths to be “complete nonsense” and he attributes the occurrences to overactive imaginations.

“I haven’t heard of any other ghosts floating around the place,” Walt said. “It’s amazing what people can imagine. You don’t want to hurt the families of these people with stories like this that are just nonsense. It really is a tribute to the imagination that people can believe such things.”

As far as the haunted computer, there are several technical explanations, according to Jon Skelton, P.C. and network technician.

“There can be a few different explanations,” Skelton said. “On the keyboard, a sticky key, like the page up and down buttons or the arrow keys, could cause it scroll on its own. Also, on the mouse, if any of the buttons were faulty that could cause it to scroll. Mechanical issues can occur.”

However, Skelton admits that this problem might not be explainable.

“It’s not always traceable. Sometimes, there’s nothing else to explain it other than an accident,” Skelton said. “Sometimes you just have to say, ‘I don’t know.'”