Campus spooks? Some find Norwich a haunting experience

Alumni Hall leads the list of spooky stories on the Norwich campus. It’s got a lot of history inside, and maybe a ghost or two. Photo by Adam Ganz

At Norwich University, Halloween doesn’t just occur in October, but rather all year long. On a campus with 200 years of history, you’re bound to experience something haunting, whether it be rumors passed down from older students or a spooky personal experience.

Perhaps the most notorious locale for haunting stories is Alumni Hall, the oldest building on campus, built in 1905. In March of 2012, The Norwich Record featured a story titled “Spirits Among Us,” which outlined the terrible story of two cadets, brothers, who hung themselves in the same room a year apart.

“The hangings were viewed as tragic but unrelated coincidences until one fateful day, when a cadet walked into the same basement room and saw his buddy standing on a chair getting ready to hang himself,” wrote The Norwich Record. When asked “why?” “the cadet then explained that the woebegone victims had each appeared in the mirror, coaxing him to join them.”

The room was then sealed off by bricks, according to rumor, and is used as the building’s facilities room. However, when the wall is knocked on, there is a hollow sound where a door once was and there are countless stories of unsettling noises and events stemming from Alumni Hall to this day.

For Brian, a senior, who requested to remain anonymous, these experiences began during his freshman year where he resided in a room in Alumni Hall. “There’s a lot that goes on in alumni, it’s weird and random, like stuff falls off the walls for no reason,” Brian said.

He and his friends named the ghost they felt roamed there “Big Dominic” and “any time he’d come around we’d scream at him as loud as we could. My room’s alarm clocks would randomly go off, even though we set it for 5:29 a.m.”

Sarah Eriksson, 19, a sophomore, computer security major, reflected on similar experiences she had in Alumni Hall. “We heard knocking on our door and we would run to it thinking it was one of our rook brothers, but literally nothing was there,” Eriksson said. “My roommate and I would hear stuff falling in the middle of the night and wake up at the same exact time, but the room was totally fine.”

In the same building, sophomore Elaine Dudley, 19, a psychology major, described an instance where her staff sergeant woke up one night feeling like he was being pushed into his bed and wasn’t able to move. “Alumni is creepy,” Dudley said. “One time a few of us were walking down the hall to go see a friend and the motion-censor lights turned off on us. When they began flickering, we screamed and ran out of there.”

These haunted happenings don’t just occur in Alumni Hall, though. Now in Patterson, both Dudley and Eriksson are still experiencing eerie things like books, stacked securely on the shelf, falling to the ground. The most alarming, though, was when Dudley’s mirror crashed to the ground in the middle of the night.

“I wake up at 3 a.m., and the mirror is face down in the middle of the room,” Dudley said, pointing to where the mirror once hung in the corner, far from the center of the room. “My rifle –that thing is heavy – had fallen over where the mirror was. It’s a $5 mirror from Walmart so it’s really light and couldn’t have hit my rifle over.”

Jim Black, a senior communications major, recounts a story from Hawkins Hall. As a rook, his cadre told him the tale of the ghost Private Willy Johnson who would “tap on the radiators with a rhythmic beating.”

His cadre, who were rooks at the time, would yell at the ghost to shut up, but were unsuccessful. “When their cadre came in they’d say ‘Oh, you know why he isn’t listening to you? Because he’s a private and you’re a rook, with no rank.’ Then they would say ‘private Willy Johnson, be quiet!’ and all of a sudden the radiator stopped dinging,” Black recalled about the tale.

Black also remembers the convenient ghost he called “The Physical Training Ghost” or the “PT Ghost” from Hawkins Hall. “He would fold your PT gear for you and have it ready to go in the morning. We just thought it was our cadre sneaking into our rooms though,” Black said.

Other locations where ghostly encounters are said to have occurred are Sabine Field, the old Chaplin Library, and Jackman Hall.

The Sabine Walker has been known to march behind people, or along the side of the field, in the form of a cadet, and in some cases “carries out his (or her) watch on horseback,” wrote The Norwich Record. One suggestion is that it is the horse of Moses Taylor, Jr., Class of 1920, who was injured in France during WWI, and later died. He was buried in the local cemetery, according to The Norwich Record.

In Jackman Hall, students have created a game called the Jackman Challenge where you close all the doors, begin upstairs turning all the lights off, and by the time you reach the bottom floor, the lights on the top are back on and the doors are opened.

“I’ve heard the reason why that’s true is because there’s actually a janitor who’s in Jackman all night to clean it,” Brian said. “But I was on guard duty with two other people and one fell asleep and the other went to do rounds. I could hear stuff moving around and I’ll tell you one thing, that cleaner was not there that night because it was Saturday.”

While some see the haunted occurrences as fun, others see it quite differently. Take the case of Mitch, a senior, who requested anonymity. For him, the experience he had was life-changing.

“I’ve never been more scared in my life,” Mitch said. “I woke up sometime between midnight and 3 a.m., looked out my window in Gerard, and saw a shadowy, tall six-foot figure standing by the lamp post.”

“Me, being arrogant, yelled at it. It sped right past Gerard and down the stairs to the right side of the building,” Mitch continued. “I heard banging outside my door and I looked over. This thing came over and got right in my face. My body froze.”

Since that experience, Mitch remains afraid to be in buildings alone at night, something he never feared before.
Whether true, or imagined, a game, or a life-changing fear, the tales that are passed from generation to generation are an “integral part of Norwich University lore,” wrote The Norwich Record. It’s something to think about on Halloween night.

Comments

  1. Maria Flaherty says:

    Two weeks before Christmas break in 1992, I had a scary experience at Alumni Hall. I was taking a nap on the top bunk and suddenly woke up because I heard a deep scary voice speaking to me. I then felt like someone was holding my head down against the pillow, but no-one was there. After that, all kinds of strange things happened to a lot of my rook buddies. Like things flying out of closets, lights going on and off, and someone even saw a ghost walk through their room. A lot of us were scared. No one wanted to sleep there at nights; my roommate even moved out. I’m not at all surprised that others are experiencing these things at Alumni Hall.

  2. Sherry Jerome says:

    Nice Job Kaylee!

Speak Your Mind

*