Halloween brings Western ghost stories to the front burner

As Halloween approaches and the leaves start to fall from trees, the campus of Western Carolina University has an eerie air to it as ghost stories are whispered from student to student.

The most famous of these ghosts stories starts at the oldest building on campus, Moore. There are several stories floating around the mysterious closing of the third floor of Moore, yet the truth is still uncertain.

The story that has held up the longest surrounding Moore is the story of the roommate being murdered. Before Moore was turned into the home of the nursing program, it was an all girls dormitory, first dedicated in 1924. The story starts that two girls, roommates, decided to stay on campus over a break. The first night of their stay, one of the roommates went to go shower. After a while, the other roommate noticed that the other hadn’t returned. The roommate heard scratching at the door accompanied with screams. A repair man then yelled up to her window, telling her that everything was alright and to stay in the room. The story goes on that the roommate had been raped and then murdered.

However, the mystery deepens: when did this occur? Records have shown that it had happened in the 60s or 70s, but some reports have dated the murder to the late 20s and early 30s. George Frizzell, who works in Special Collections in Hunter Library remembers the stories being told when he was a student at Western Carolina.

“When I was here in the mid-70s, the story was always passed around that the murder happened sometime in the 30s,” said Frizzell.

However, another story arises out of Moore. The second story is that a girl living in Moore committed suicide after her lover died in World War II. There have been reports that sometimes you can hear her crying.

Although Moore is the building that most people associate with ghost hauntings, other buildings on campus have their own stories.

In the 1990s, a girl living on the East wing of the 8th floor of Scott, hung herself. There have been strange occurrences in this part of Scott, such as bathroom lights turning on and off and doors opening and closing.

Buchanan also has it’s occurrences of lights flickering on and off, which is attributed to the death of an electrician while the building was being constructed.

Just across the street from Buchanan at Harrill, a girl died on the 6th floor from an asthma attack while her boyfriend was sleeping next to her. The elevator in Harrill reportedly used to stop on the 6th floor, even though the button was never pushed from the inside. On the 6th floor, there wouldn’t be anybody there and the elevator would open and close on its own. Will this occurrence continue even after the renovations are finished? Only time will tell.

Even though Western Carolina has it’s ghost stories, it is also a university that is built on historical lands, leading to some speculation about strange occurrences on campus.

Where Robertson Hall stands today, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church was built in 1892. In 1929, the church was moved off of campus onto Old Cullowhee Road, including the cemetery. Although bodies once found their final resting place where Robertson stands, there haven’t been any reports of ghostly or strange occurrences.

Perhaps the most eerie thing about campus is that where McKee and Killian buildings now stand, there was once a Cherokee Indian mound. The mound, which was first excavated in 1898, has turned up cooking pits, tunnels, partial skeletons of small animals, arrow heads and even some skulls with teeth still intact.  The Cherokee mound, with all of its mystery, has not produced any strange occurrences on campus.

As much fun as it is to whisper ghost stories back and forth with each other, Western Carolina has an extensive, culturally rich history that is sometimes hard to remember. As Halloween passes, the stories will stay with students, faculty, and staff. Even if there isn’t a clear distinction of the mysterious Moore haunting, that’s half of the fun, right?