Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ghosts of Hartwell Hall

Something for Halloween week: in 1993 a student, Jennifer Valaitis, conducted an intriguing set of oral history interviews with some staff who worked in Hartwell Hall, concerning their experiences with the ghosts said to haunt the building. The stories about these ghosts have long circulated on campus; one staff person who was a student here in 1970 recalls hearing about them!

A curious aspect of these stories is that although the archivist, with whom Jennifer was working as an intern, was skeptical at first, he found himself surprised by the real life connections with at least some of the stories. For example, one ghost was said to be that of someone who drowned in the building. True enough, there was once a swimming pool in Hartwell, but no one ever drowned there, thus adding to the archivist's skepticism. However, some research revealed that behind the building that stood there before Hartwell Hall, the old Normal school building, there had been a large cistern or water tank, and in the 1890s a workman replacing rotten planks on it fell in, and was drowned...

Read the stories for yourself!

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