“I’m not here to tell you what to believe, but I think you will find some of these stories interesting,” said The Director of the Stevenson Library on Oct. 23 to a circled up audience of about 30 in Fairview Suites.
Lock Haven University’s own Jody Topper led a discussion titled Haunted Haven to speak about rumors and sightings of ghosts that Topper has heard about during his time on campus. Taking place in the dimly lit fireplace room of Fairview, he said. “As a librarian and as a historian, what really attracts me to ghost stories is that they’re folklore, they’re apart of local legend, so I’m more of a collector of stories than a teller or a believer.”
Started in 1870 as Central State Normal School, LHU has had a long history; not all of it happy.
Smith Hall fell victim to perhaps one of the most violent incidents in school history. In September of 1990 students complained of a stench coming from room 201, a student named Michael Houseknecht was found strangled by a black tie. Police suspected Michael McGarvey, he told police that he was Houseknecht lover and that returned the tie matching the description. McGarvey was later found hanged in his apartment on Bale Eagle Street.
Though a note found with Houseknecht body that said, “It was his time to pay the piper!!!!!!! The SANDMAN. P.S. The Sandman will bring perfect silence to the world through eternal sleep!!!!!! ENJOY THE SILENCE!,” Police determined it was a murder-suicide. Today, Topper explained that students say they have seen a young man walking the halls.
Bentley dining hall has been the feeding trough of university students for over 50 years. During that time, Cooks working in the back kitchen have reported seeing men dressed in overalls while working on what the cooks believe to be stones. The cooks believed them to be art students, however when they tried to talk to the workers, they would disappear
Topper has found that in 1964, Gibson memorial company was cleared to make way for Bentley. The company engraved stones, could it be the case that these are the men who worked for the memorial company? “It’s impossible to say,” said Topper.
“Many people have said that the most haunted building on campus is McEntire Hall,” said Topper, The now abandoned hall sits ominously at the apex of campus, beyond North Hall. During its use, however, there were reports of seeing a Civil War soldier who would wander the hallways and clean the most messy room in the building.
Topper found the records of William Richie, who matches the description of a meticulous, detail oriented individual. Called “Colonel Richie” while enlisted in the Union army, he worked for 30 years starting in the 1880s or 1890s, he was in charge of campus beautification and in fact planted many of the old trees that now have grown deep in campus soil.
A student claimed at Haunted Haven that while living in McEntire before the semester in preparation for fall sports, the Elevator would malfunction and the cries of a little girl could be heard. Topper backed up her statements by recalling a Builder whose daughter died during the construction of McEntire. Could it be the echos of a daughter who never got to say goodbye to her father?
Though many believe McEntire to be the most haunted building some would disagree and say that the most haunted is the John Sloan Fine Arts Center. Topper explained that there have been three different happenings occur: a little boy searching for something in countdown theater; a women dressed in white around the main theater; and a black haze. “[the black haze] is the one that people are really afraid of” said Topper. People report that they feel a tightness in the chest before its arrival.
Cassie Inzana, a junior social work major, said “I’ve always believed in ghosts. I think they’re all here but I don’t know wherethey exactly they are.”