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Western Kentucky University –
Haunted Place: Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University
906 College Heights Boulevard
Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101
Phone: (270) 745-0111 * Web-Site
Western Kentucky University can be found in the city of Bowling Green, located approximately 110 miles south of Louisville and 65 miles north of Nashville, Tennessee.
The city of Bowling Green, which has around 50,000 people living there today, received land for its first public square in 1797. Thus the city and the surrounding areas have experienced a lot of history, growing in population and changing over its 200 + years. It was the home of several private colleges in the 1800s, which were destined to be changed in light of the state's plans to start state-funded schools.
Western Kentucky University began in 1907 as a state-funded Normal School, called Western Kentucky State Normal School, with the purpose of training teachers. The campus moved into the buildings of the privately owned Southern Normal School, enrolling the students here into this new state educational establishment. The owner of the Southern Normal School, Henry Hardin Cherry, had made it his goal to help establish state schools for teacher training, and became the first president of this new state effort.
In 1911, Western Kentucky State Normal School moved to its current location, up on a hill, 125 feet above the town of Bowling Green, which used to be the location of The Pleasant J. Potter College. In 1924, Western Kentucky State Normal School and Teacher's College gave out their first 4 year degrees. In 1927, this growing campus merged with Ogden College, which was conveniently located on the east side of their hill.
Throughout the years, this place of higher learning and achievement became broader in its educational goals, becoming Western Kentucky State College in 1948. It was in the 1960s when the colleges curriculum and organization really expanded and grew, merging with other smaller colleges. In 1966 the college's name was changed yet again to Western Kentucky University, made up of 5 colleges: The Bowling Green Community College of Western Kentucky University, The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, The Gordon Ford College of Business, Ogden College of Science, Technology and health, and Potter College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Western Kentucky University is well aware of its entities which share space with its students and within its vast building structures. Instead of sweeping them under the rug, they have ghost sighting archives in their main Library and Museum and have dedicated some web pages on their web-site to these non-paying tuition/non-salaried entities, which make life interesting!
1) The Sigma Alpha Epsilon House - 1410 College Street (Burned down in April 2005)
During the Civil War, this 2 story building was used as a hospital. One of the soldiers who died here, stuck around to become an honorary frat brother.
a) "Kevin" the Entity was described as being a tall, slender male entity dressed in uniform. This apparition was seen in mirrors. His shadowy silhouette seen on walls as he walks by.
b) His presence was often felt in room 7 of the house.
c) His footsteps were heard going over the wooden floorboards.
d) Future Hauntings? Though the house is now gone, Kevin may decide to follow his frat brothers to the new fraternity house or stay and haunt the land, perhaps moving into whatever structure is rebuilt on this lot.
2) Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity - 1504 Chestnut Street
A woman was murdered in this house a long time ago, before the fraternity moved in.
a) Her apparition has been seen frantically running across the front lawn.
b) She has been known to light a fire in the fireplace.
c) She likes to play with the lights, and will move the personal belongings of the boys when they sleep.
The Academic Complex
3) The Academic Complex is found on the southern end of campus. It was built on land once used for farming and also was the location of Vets Village. The building itself used to be a hospital, probably serving veterans. It now is home to Medical Services, several classrooms and the University's TV and Radio Station.
a) DJs working in the evening hours have heard paranormal activity, probably like foot steps in areas devoid of the living, etc.
b) They have also seen entities/apparitions - Out of the corner of the eye type experience.
c) One pair of DJs were treated to a CD player moving about on its own, progressing to opening and closing at will.
4) Potter Hall was the very first residence hall built on campus, in 1921. Throughout the years it was both at different times a men's and women's dorm, and a cafeteria. In 1994, it was turned into an administration building.
During the years the building was a women's dorm, an unhappy young woman, Allison, hung herself in the basement, which at one time was room 8, a storage room.
a) This entity was very active when women were living in the building. The living would hear her pace the hallways, hear their name called, and her presence was strongly felt in this basement storage room.
b) Since the building became an administration building, Allison has been quiet, though she still does bang on the pipe in the basement where she hung herself.
Van Meter Hall
5) Van Meter Hall - The Auditorium - Named for Chancellor Capt. J. Van Meter.
Described as "The edifice that crowns the hill," This grand "Classic Revival" building was originally built in 1909 to be the administration building, and house the campus auditorium. The auditorium seats 2,000, has a stage area, and was used for many purposes throughout the years; Chapel, lectures, concerts, plays, graduation, and gatherings of the student population.
A tragic accident happened either in 1909 or 1940, when either the skylight in the auditorium was being put in or being covered. A craftman was distracted by an outside event, lost his balance and fell to his death on the stage below.
a) The spot on the stage floor where he bled out, glows during events held in the auditorium. This stain keeps reappearing, despite the efforts of the living to remove it, including re-flooring the stage.
b) His apparition likes to sometimes appear in front of startled students, staff and people involved with events.
c) His unseen presence in the auditorium is felt by many.
d) For chuckles, this entity plays with the lights, the curtains on the stage, moves music stands and tables and loves electrical items such as computers.
6) Kentucky Library and Museum - Another grand building, constructed in 1906. For 60 years, this library has preserved items/artifacts/personal treasures/historical materials from Kentucky's past and the people who made Kentucky their home. It is thought that some of these entities seen and felt here are keeping an eye on the living, perhaps still attached to these properties which meant so much to them while they lived. Some may be wondering why their favorite personal items, such as diaries, are here, for all to see?
a) Staff have gotten the feeling that unseen supervisors are keeping an eye on them as they go about their work day.
b) A curator caught on camera shows a misty form hovering above her right shoulder as she concentrates on the project at hand. She had reported earlier of seeing out of the corner of her eye a glimpse of an apparition of a male outfitted in mourning clothes worn in an earlier era.
c) Other workers have been treated to passing breezes of cold air when there was no practical explanation for this wind of sorts.
d) Books which were neatly stored in the storage area, have been found laying open, as if having been read by someone.
Psychic Observations: A psychic discovered a female entity hanging around the stairs and an entire assembly of entities staying in a storeroom, curiously intrigued, wondering how their earthly things wound up here!
7) Barnes-Campbell Hall - Named for Sheridan C. Barnes and Donald A. Campbell, it opened in 1966, providing living space for 392 male residents.
During Spring break in 1968, a freshly showered RA discovered that the darn elevator was misbehaving yet again; stuck between the 7th and 6th floors. To avoid a long walk up/or down the stairs, he made the fateful decision to try to fix it himself, as he had done many times before. He successfully pried the doors open and as he leaned around to flip the switch, he either slipped and fell down the shaft or the elevator rushed down from above and hit him before he got out of the way. Ouch!
a) Late in the evening sometimes the elevator activates itself and stops at the 5th floor where the doors open, without anyone seen inside working the buttons!
b) The entity of this RA is especially active during Spring Break. He has turned on all the 5th floor water faucets. Wet foot prints from the showers to the elevator appear during this time of the year.
8) McClean Hall, opened in 1949, was named for the private secretary of Henry Hardin Cherry, a caring, efficient, and talented woman, Mattie McLean. She had a wealth of personal characteristics which served the student population and visitors as well. Besides being a graduate of the Bowling Green Business College in 1902, she was motherly, diplomatic, not easily ruffled and a source of encouragement. When she died in 1954, her entity wasn't quite ready to leave the place where she spent her life's work.
a) McClean Hall, her namesake became her entity's place to stay. It was a women's dorm, and she adopted the girls who live there. They felt her presence, heard her walking the hallways, checking things along the way.
b) She did communicate with them through the sometimes dangerous Ouija board, and did materialize on occasion when asked.
Pearce Ford Tower
9) Pearce Ford Tower - Located on the south end of the campus. This 27 floor co-ed dorm opened in 1970
a) A construction worker died on the job when he accidentally fell to his death down the elevator shaft. When the dorm is closed for school breaks, the elevators go up and down the shaft, opening and closing their doors at the various floors.
b) A student who was one of the first to live here, fell down the elevator shaft when he pushed the button and stepped into space instead of the elevator, which had malfunctioned. Always look before stepping into an elevator! As he was coming from the shower, all that was left of him were the foot prints he made from the shower room to the elevator. Every year on the day of his death, these foot prints they say appear in the hall, making his fateful walk.
10) Schneider Hall is described as a Georgian Revival building, built in 1928. Originally it was called West Hall, then White Stone Hall. It was renamed yet again Florence Schneider Hall, a beloved registrar and "bursar."
This building over the years was used as the student infirmary, housed Army Air Corps cadets during WW2. Sometime after the war the building became a womens' dorm. As of 2004, the building was being c hanged into a math building.
Probably during the 1950s, the story goes that during Spring Break ( it seems a dangerous time for students?) 2 young women stayed behind to catch up on school projects. One of the girls was brutally attacked by an escaped mental patient, as she studied at her desk. With an axe in her head, she crawled down to the other girl's room, and scratched on the door for help. She died there.
a) She is seen today sitting in windows, likes to rearrange furniture, is fascinated with electric gadgets like alarm clocks and computers ( turns them on and off).
b) She sometimes scratches on the doors of the rooms and once a year during Spring Break reviews her last hours of terror, desperation and pain.
c) The usual paranormal signs are there as well. Cold spots in certain rooms, items are taken and then reappear somewhere else, and the feeling of being checked out are reported.
Rhodes Harlin Hall
11) Rhodes Harlin Hall - Opened in 1966, as a resident hall for 400 women. It was named for John D. Rhodes and Max B. Harlin. It has been described as being both beautiful and very functional. They are proud of their "spacious lobby and reception area."
A disturbed young woman jumped off the top of the building, falling to her death, which didn't give her peace as she had hoped, because she now still haunts the building.
a) During the time period right after her death, the entity of this jumper would tap on her roommate's door. When the roommate opened the door, no one was standing on the other side. She also scratched and knocked on other resident's windows and doors.
b) Residents who live on the 9th floor can hear her footsteps walk on the roof to the place where she jumped.
c) On the anniversary of her death, she appears on the roof where she jumped, revisiting an act that she may now regret.
Yes, according to many witnesses and a psychic or two, entities are hanging around their favorite buildings, watching the living progress, while they seem to be stuck here and are not willing or able to continue on their journey to the other side.
Western Kentucky University Residence Halls * Western Kentucky University Virtual Tour * Western Kentucky University Ghost Stories * Shadowlands.net - Haunted places in Kentucky * City of Bowling Green web site