It’s finally Halloween, which means students at the University of Michigan have spent the weekend celebrating a Wolverine victory over the Spartan football team, watching Disney’s new “Hocus Pocus” sequel and telling spooky stories. As it turns out, some of those chilling tales may have taken place across the University of Michigan campus.
If you’re looking to avoid a ghostly scare while walking to class this Halloween, The Michigan Daily has got your back. We spoke to members of the campus community to hear what buildings and spaces on campus might be haunted.
While approaching students on the Diag over the past week, The Daily learned from about 10 students that the Hatcher stacks might be the spookiest place on campus, though the Samuel T. Dana Building, Stockwell Hall, Shapiro Undergraduate Library, the Modern Languages Building and various other buildings were also mentioned.
A couple of ghost stories about the University have stood the test of time, such as the ghost of Helen Newberry remaining at the Helen Newberry Dormitory Residence Hall, and television shows, like the show School Spirits. However, today U-M students base their decision on personal experience with eerie campus spaces.
When asked about the most haunted place on campus, Business sophomore Daniel Austin was quick to name Stockwell Hall.
“I know it’s Stockwell. I know there’s a ghost there. I will find it, in time,” Austin said. “I thought I heard there was a ghost, and I used to live in Stockwell last year. It’s just a creepy old dorm.”
LSA sophomore Isaac Lieberman disagreed. He is confident that the “stacks” of the Hatcher Graduate Library are the most haunted place on campus, citing unexplained occurrences and a strange feeling.
“It has to be the stacks of Hatcher,” Lieberman said. “I mean, you never know what’s around the corner. I could see a book falling off the shelf, I think it gets pretty haunted down there.”
Rackham students Liz Nichols and Jeff Dutter said the Dana Building is the most haunted campus space, explaining the history of the building as a part of the medical school, including a rumor that the basement of the building used to be a morgue.
“I’m down there like all the time. It totally looks like a morgue,” Nichols said. “It’s just really, like, stark white. (There are) weird old archways and everything. I feel like if there’s some weird energy (on campus), it’s probably in the basement of Dana in my opinion.”
Emma Volkert, a Public Health graduate student, said she has heard of many strange stories around Ann Arbor and the U-M campus, though not all are entirely supernatural.
“My other creepy Ann Arbor (story) is (about) Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber,” Volkert said. He won a math award, so if you go to East Hall, his name is on a plaque.”
Kaczynski plead guilty and was convicted of killing three people and setting off bombs 16 times that injured an additional 22 people between 1978 and 1995. Before becoming the “Unabomber,” Kaczynski also attended the university as a student, earning his master’s and PhD in mathematics in the 1960s.
Though some students say there are places on campus that could be haunted, other students grapple with the question of whether they believe ghosts exist or not in the first place. Volkert says she is unsure if ghosts exist because she has not had any paranormal experiences personally, while some members of her family have.
“I’m pretty much open to anything — hearing out anyone’s experience — I just haven’t had one of my own,” Volkert said. “So I wouldn’t go as far to say that I’m a ‘believer.’”
Nichols said she doesn’t necessarily believe in the Ghostbusters-esque image of a ghost, but does believe there are spirits from those who have passed that remain in our world.
“I believe that a spirit can stay within a certain area and that if a super bad thing happened somewhere that energy kind of stays within that place,” Nichols said. “But I guess I don’t really believe in (the idea that) when people pass away that their form is this lifeless, floating, haunting presence. Like, I don’t really believe in that, but I do believe in leftover spiritual energy.”
Engineering junior Matthew Weerakoon says ghosts aren’t real, in his opinion, and the depiction of a ghost that can move objects seems unrealistic to him.
“I do not believe in ghosts,” Weerakoon said. “I am a very scientific person, being an engineer. But I do believe in spirituality. I think ghosts are way too far of a line to believe in. To possess anything or to lift objects, like if people think they saw something levitating, I always think, ‘No, there’s no way.’”
Dutter said he believes in ghosts and said ghosts are an important part of storytelling.
“Yes, I believe in ghosts,” Dutter said. “I believe in myth and folklore, and I feel like ghosts are a huge part of telling stories, and I think you can be pretty loose with the term ‘beliefs.’ So I’m gonna just say that I believe stories I’ve been told about ghosts and how they’ve impacted my childhood and how they impact me now.”
While there are differing opinions on which buildings are the most haunted and whether ghosts are real, make sure to listen out for a ghostly howl or just that gust of wind outside your dark windows as Halloween approaches.
Daily News Reporters Carlin Pendell and Rachel Mintz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.