By Hana Skoblow
Around this time of the year I start to crave a good scare — the kind of scare that makes my skin crawl, my hand rush up to cover my unintentionally dropped jaw, and my sleep impossible to attain. I want an adrenaline rush no roller coaster can offer me, and nothing gets me more freaked out than true stories. Yeah, the “Saw” movies are scary — because they’re disgusting. The fear that lasts comes from believable stories; think “Silence of the Lambs” and “The Strangers.” Unfortunately, I am but a poor college student with no money to pay for a movie ticket on a whim (or a car to get to the theater, for that matter). What I do have, however, is access to the Ghost Walk, an annual RA-sponsored tour around campus to discover the seedy underbelly of Beloit College the admissions catalog didn’t want to show me.
The weather was perfect for the Wednesday evening event. The air was cold enough to get me to wear three layers, and the eerie winds were blowing at a whirling 60 mph. We began under the tunnel of MI for complimentary cookies and hot cider before we were led by Ari Jacobs ’12 along a path guided by candles in white paper bags to various buildings around campus. At Campbell Hall we heard the story of Teddy Wright, a professor who died inside the hall. As all ghost stories go, of course, it wasn’t a simple heart attack that killed Teddy. Oh no, far from it. Two students found him splayed naked on the floor, his head severely beaten, in a room filled with blood and vomit. Next to him were his clothes, neatly folded. The students asked for help from a nearby professor, the dean of women’s studies. Unbeknownst to the students, the two professors had been feuding for years, and she ordered the room to be cleaned up before the police arrived and had a chance to study the crime scene. Though the coroner did announce the cause of death was blunt force trauma, it was impossible to conclude what could have happened to poor, naked Teddy. The case is left undetermined to this day, and it is said that late at night one can hear Teddy’s footsteps as he wanders the building, waiting for someone to figure out who killed him.
At the Logan Museum of Anthropology, Abby Burnham ’12 recounted a story from the 1800s when the museum was still called Memorial Hall, dedicated to those who lost their lives during the Civil War. A young couple, engaged to be married, moved into the town just before the man was sent off to war. His fiancée missed him dearly and wrote him countless letters, yet she never received a reply. One day she heard through the grapevine that he had died in combat. She was heartbroken and grieved for months. When a plaque commemorating those who never came home from the war was placed in front of Memorial Hall, the young woman went to pay her respects to her lost love. To her dismay, his name did not appear on the plaque, and to her horror she heard that he had never even made it to battle. Still, the Lady of Logan haunts the building, riding the elevator up and down, looking for an answer.
Outside Middle College we were greeted with a lighter story from Aldrich Third (my home, coincidentally). In the 1980s, three boys brought a cow to the top floor of the building as a prank — a poorly thought-out prank because cows cannot climb down stairs. Eventually they saw no alternative but to shoot the cow and carry its body down themselves. Because of their foolishness, the cow ghost roams the hallway at night — which explains the clomping of hooves and sounds of mooing that keep me awake each night.
At the end of the tour, I was sufficiently cold, windblown and a little bit scared. Some of the stories had more merit than others, but all of them did a good job of giving me the chills — or was that the 45-degree weather? I wouldn’t say that the Ghost Tour made me jump out of my pants, but I can say that I don’t ever want to go into room 21 of Campbell Hall or eat beef in my dorm again.