Since the beginning of Sam Houston State University, stories of supernatural phenomena have soared through campus. Perhaps these rumors have some validity to them, or perhaps it is just legends that have been passed on for generations. Whether there really are things that go bump in the night or not, the traditions of a haunted campus continue to fill the atmosphere.
People throughout the years have reported unusual activity and ghosts in several buildings on campus.
Austin College, now known as Austin Hall, has been here since 1879, making it the oldest building on campus. Many have claimed that a maid watches out the right hand far window on the third floor. Others say that it is a small boy. Some even say that Sam Houston walks the halls of the historic building. It has been said that a black Raven pecks at the same window that the ghost sightings have occurred. According to Dr. Ty Cashion’s 125th special addition book, many eerie things have taken place in the building from creepy sounds and running water to an elevator that runs by itself. Former President Bobby K. Marks witnessed a strange elevator incident but blew off the bizarre experience, even though the elevator had no electrical problems.
A campus police officer also reported strange happenings at Austin Hall. David Tanner was on his normal patrol and was making sure that the doors of the building were locked. He said that he heard a tapping sound and as he followed the sound, it would stop. The sound only continued when he stopped to listen. As he walked away, “the hairs on the back of his neck stood up; [he] could feel someone watching [him].” Tanner looked up and saw that the curtain in one of the windows had been drawn, even though he had just locked the doors of the empty building.
This is not the only haunted building on campus. The University Archivist, Barbara Kievit-Mason, says that she has seen a ghost in the Peabody building a number of times. She used to work in the old library alone. Occasionally she would work with a student assistant, but most of her time was spent alone– or so she thought. After the first appearance of the ghost, the visits became pretty regular. During the quiet work hours, the harmless spirit would simply appear. The spirit is that of a lady who appears to be from the early 20th century. She wears a long, black, high-line neck dress. Her face remains unclear. Kievit-Mason said that she assumes that the lady is one of the first librarians or professors. According to Cashion’s book, Kievit-Mason said, “She always hovers there for a second or two like she just wants to see what you are doing, then she leaves.” At one time the Peabody building was voted the spookiest building on campus.
These stories are closely followed by the dorm room ghosts. A number of the dorms on campus have had occurrences that people believe to be mysterious. The facts of these experiences are still unclear. Are creepy ghosts still lingering and unable to move on to the after life, or are the residence halls that unbearable that students that feel the need to fabricate stories to make their living situations even worse? Despite the answer, the fact still remains that mysterious things happen and there must be some logical rationalization.
Throughout the years, rumors have also evolved. A few stories that are often seen as fact have been proven to be false. It has been said that the when the old music building burned down that students and children were killed. Supposedly these people continue to linger around the new building, which is now the Evans Complex. Sometimes people say they can hear a random applause or laughing. This story is false. While some may hear unexplainable noises, no one was killed during the music building blaze.
Another false tradition is that someone haunts the Old Main Pit. There are no actual reported deaths in the Old Main building or the fire that engrossed the building.
Kievit-Mason says that there are plenty of stories that have been around for years and will continue to develop. “As far as I know, Tripod does not haunt this campus. Although, he should haunt the person that knocked over his head stone,” she said.