Spooky Tales from WKU’s Residence Halls

Andrew Critchelow

According to a 2013 Harris poll, 42 percent of Americans said they believe in ghosts. With such a prevalent belief in the paranormal in the U.S., it may not be a surprise that many people visit WKU not for its academics, but for rumored haunting throughout campus.

WKU’s long history on the hill has led some to believe that spirits linger in many of its historic buildings. Many of these buildings are student residence halls.

The university has embraced this ghostly fascination, hosting several paranormal events in the past such as the “Haunted Campus Tour” and the “WKU Xposure Ghost Tour.” In 2012, WKU received national attention for its rumored haunts by being featured on the Syfy show “Ghost Hunters” in an episode titled “”Higher Dead-ucation.”

Buildings that aren’t currently residence halls that are reportedly haunted include Van Meter Hall, Potter Hall and various Greek houses. Below is a list of residence halls rumored to be haunted and the ghost stories commonly associated with each building.

Pearce-Ford Tower

The tallest building on WKU’s campus, the elevator shaft of the 27-story residence hall is the source of many of the ghost stories associated with it. As the tower was being built in 1970, a construction worker reportedly fell to his death in the elevator shaft. According to a 1997 Herald article by Chris Hutchins, it is said that when the building is uninhabited by students between semesters, it is common to see the elevator door opening completely on its own.

The elevator shaft of PFT was also the source of tragedy when a student who had just taken a shower fell twenty stories after a fatal malfunction with the elevator. It is said that wet footsteps can be seen every year on the anniversary of the student’s death.

Barnes-Campbell Hall

Like with Pearce-Ford Tower, the rumored haunting at Barnes-Campbell Hall are said to be the result of another elevator-related accident. According to a 2003 Herald article by Lindsay Sainlar, while trying to manually fix a stuck elevator, a resident assistant for Barnes-Cambell Hall in the 1960’s was crushed between a moving elevator shaft and a steel beam. It is said that the elevator door often opens on its own on the fifth floor of Barnes, where the accident reportedly happened.

McLean Hall

It is said that the secretary for former WKU president Henry Hardin Cherry, Mattie McLean, haunts her namesake building. Residents of McLean Hall have tried to contact McLean, using Ouija boards to communicate with her spirit. According to Sainlar’s article, a group of students claimed they were successful in doing so. The students reportedly saw McLean’s spirit appear before them after using the Ouijia board to communicate with her.

Rodes-Harlin Hall

This nine-story residence hall is said to be haunted by a young student who committed suicide by jumping off the top floor, according to Sainlar’s article. It is said her footsteps can still be heard on the ninth floor and she appears every year on the anniversary of her death.

Florence Schneider Hall

Now home of The Gatton Academy, Florence Schneider Hall was reportedly the sight of an ax murder. According to a 1971 Herald article by David Sutherland, it is said a young girl was attacked by a man wielding an ax in her dorm room while on spring break. The girl reportedly scratched on her neighbor’s door while bleeding, but the neighbor was too scared to open the door. Though no records exist of this event, residents at Florence Schneider Hall have claimed to witness furniture move and hear scratches on doors during spring break.

Reporter Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected].