Top Haunted Colleges and Universities

A Haunting Night Scene
A Haunting Night Scene. Prithwiraj Saha / Moment / Getty Images

For those seeking an education and the thrill of the paranormal, these colleges and universities are what you’re looking for. Rumor tells us that each school houses things unexplainable and mysterious. If you’re brave enough to learn more, keep reading. These universities hold some frightening tales, but if you really want to know the truth, take a spectral flight and see what secrets haunt America’s campuses. 

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Ohio University

Ohio University at Twilight
Ohio University at Twilight. marada / Flickr

Our ghostly journey starts in Athens, Ohio at Ohio University. Athens itself holds tales of unnerving mysteries and is believed by some to be one of the most haunted cities in the country. There are reports of ghosts dwelling in cemeteries, abandoned hospitals, and Ohio University. Ghost stories are popular around campus, whether they are gossiped about in classrooms or whispered in dark dorm rooms. These stories have such a grip on the students that they have hired professional ghost hunters to speak on campus and lead an after-dark ghost hunt. At Ohio University spirits have the spotlight.

Want to attend this haunted university? Learn more:

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The University of Montevallo

Jrbawden / Wikipedia Commons

Our next stop takes us to the University of Montevallo, one of the top Alabama colleges. The rumors of ghosts here are less than surprising, considering the university’s old buildings and the King Family Cemetery located right on campus. The most famous ghost story floating around is of Mr. Edmund King, who is said to haunt the grounds of the King House. Many have claimed to see mysterious lights and moving curtains, even when no one is around the house. Some have even seen the long dead Mr. King himself, patrolling the grounds with a lantern in hand. Students believe that the apparition is searching for treasure he buried decades ago, but no records of those riches have yet been found.

Check out the University of Montevallo profile to learn more about this public liberal arts college.

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Hamilton College

Hamilton College
Hamilton College. Joe Cosentino / Flickr

As one of the oldest colleges in New York State, Hamilton College is home to some haunting tales. The Spectator, the student-run newspaper, tells the story of Minor Theatre where inexplicable noises echo through the creepy building. The college offers a ghost walk event, where a member of the administration tells nervous students some of the best spine-tingling spooky stories from around campus. One such story tells about how some campus safety officers have described seeing spectral figures in windows, hearing voices from nowhere, and having the lights turn themselves on and off. These are just a few of the strange goings-on throughout the scary nights on campus.

Hamilton is a highly selective liberal arts college, so admissions standards are high. Learn more:

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University of Notre Dame

Washington Hall at the University of Notre Dame
Washington Hall at the University of Notre Dame. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

South Bend, Indiana is home to the University of Notre Dame, and according to student testimonies, some restless spirits as well. Students at the University of Notre Dame like to talk about the Ghost of Washington Hall. Legend has it that in late December, the inhabitants of Washington Hall were woken by the sounds of a French horn. They investigated, but could not find the source of the noise. There are also accounts of a ghost on horseback running through buildings. So if you’re looking for an invisible musician or a spectral rider, just visit this campus. But make sure it’s after dark.

As one of the top Catholic universities, Notre Dame has a high bar for admissions. See how you measure up with this GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Notre Dame admissions.

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University of Tennessee

Ayres Hall at the University of Tennessee
Ayres Hall at the University of Tennessee. dhendrix73 / Flickr

The University of Tennessee is one of the oldest public universities in the U.S., and its long history is wrought with conflict. The campus was a Civil War battleground, damaged by fighting and explosions. Its buildings were occupied and one was temporarily turned into a field hospital. There are some very odd tales floating around campus, stories of strange figures and things appearing and disappearing. One story tells of a bull that wound up near campus and attacked several people, only to vanish into thin air, with no one actually hurt. For more University of Tennessee ghost stories, check out student blogs, where people are eager to share their inexplicable experiences.

Want to learn more about UT and what it takes to get in? Check out these articles:

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Cornell University

Sage Chapel at Cornell University
Sage Chapel at Cornell University. Alex / Flickr

Cornell University was founded in 1865 and has been the home of many unusual happenings over the years. The administration has offered Haunted History Tours in the past to display their spooky stories. One of their most infamous tales is the Clocktower Pumpkin. It was near Halloween in 1997 when students discovered a 60-pound pumpkin at the top of the Jennie McGraw Clocktower spire. Even today, no one is quite sure how it got there, though there are theories. A piece of the mystery pumpkin remains in Cornell’s famous Brain Collection, next to the jars of preserved human brains in the Psychology Department.

As a member of the Ivy League, Cornell takes only the best students. Learn more in this GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Cornell admissions.

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Texas State University

Texas State University
Texas State University. Rain0975 / Flickr

Texas State University in San Marcos is fraught (or frightened?) with ghosts. A student-run newspaper called The University Sun tells several of the campus’s most notorious ghost stories. The spirit of a student who fell to her death in Old Main has been seen, still hurrying to get to class. Some have seen a little girl swinging near Flowers Hall, even though the swing was long ago removed. The Pi Kappa Alpha House is said to contain the spirits of pledges who passed away years ago. These are only a few of the chilling tales that haunt the university, passing from student to student in terrified whispers.

Texas State has moderately selective admissions. See how you measure up in this GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Texas State Admissions.

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Lincoln Memorial University

Lincoln Memorial University
Lincoln Memorial University. Modified from the work of Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

Some students at Lincoln Memorial University claim that a ghost haunts Grant-Lee Hall. This hall burned down twice, in 1904 and 1950, and now rumor has it that the hall often has a phantom visitor. The apparition is a woman in a dress (the dress is either red or blue depending on who you ask) who knocks on the door, apparently attempting to warn people about the historic fires. Students have even called a ghost hunter to lead a supernatural expedition to find out the truth about the famous Grant-Lee Hall ghost. The results were never published, so if you want to see her and you’re brave enough, visit Lincoln Memorial and spend a night in the hall.

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Benedictine University

Benedictine University
Benedictine University. Pbrozynski / Wikimedia Commons

Founded in 1887, Benedictine University is rife with ghost stories. Many of these are reported by a student-run news publication called The Candor. They tell of several ghostly beings and unexplained events, including the frequent and unusual technical problems that plague Ondrak Hall. Students have reported that lights turn on and off for no reason, stereo and television volumes change on their own, and random “chills” pass down halls. In Benedictine Hall, several night-time workers have claimed to see the spectral forms of a monk and a priest. And in Neuzil Hall, there is one tale of a student taking a picture of an empty hallway, only to see two children in the developed photo. These are just a few of the accounts surrounding the unsolved abnormalities of Benedictine University. 

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Kenyon College

Leonard Hall at Kenyon College
Leonard Hall at Kenyon College. Curt Smith / Flickr

We end our ghostly expedition in Gambier, Ohio at a college with over twenty well-known ghost stories. This is Kenyon College, where ghosts are a common sight. Students in the Old Kenyon dormitory report seeing the restless spirits of past students wandering the halls. One spirit, affectionately called “Stuey” by residents, is known to slam dorms and jumble technology. On the anniversary of a lethal fire in the Old Kenyon dorm, one student claims to have found a candle burning in his room and a 1949 yearbook open to the page with the victims of the fire. Supposedly, a spirit haunts the campus pool, but the Kenyon swim team say that their “Pool Ghost” is good luck.

The students at these campuses don’t seem to mind whatever spirits lurk near them, no matter how spooky it gets. Or maybe they’re just brave enough to face the things that go bump in the night. Either way, these are our destinations for those fascinating paranormal experiences that haunt the dark corners of old classrooms and empty dormitory hallways. Feel free to send in your application and explore them yourself...that is, if you’re not too scared.

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Miller, McKenna. "Top Haunted Colleges and Universities." ThoughtCo, Oct. 23, 2017, Miller, McKenna. (2017, October 23). Top Haunted Colleges and Universities. Retrieved from Miller, McKenna. "Top Haunted Colleges and Universities." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 19, 2018).