Halloween is quickly approaching. When this ghostly time of year, appears, I feel compelled to write my best, true, account of a ghost story that I know.
During the latter 1980’s I was the assistant superintendent of Building Services on the campus of Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. During those years there was a large Malaysian student population on our campus. In fact, our entire student housekeeping staff at Anthony Hall were Malaysian. Now, the Malaysian people are simply lovely human beings. I had a student worker whose name was Salman, when I was the crew leader at Parkinson and Allyn buildings, in 1980. I was training Salman, on the third shift and on the third floor or Parkinson Lab. I began my lecture by asking Salman to ‘run’ down to the other end of the hall and retrieve a dust mop. Salman sprinted to the far end of the corridor and sprinted back with the dust mop! I smiled and explained to him that he would encounter a lot of Americans who either speak in an exaggerated manner or metaphorically.
So, I received a telephone call from the custodial crew boss at Anthony…telling me to come over right away. When I arrived he told me that one a female Malaysian student had told him that when she exited the elevator on to the third floor of the building and proceeded to turn off the lights…she looked to her right and saw a woman, sitting, and dressed in a long black dress and a white blouse with a high collar that was buttoned to her chin. The student went on to describe the woman’s hair being pinned up on her head in a bun. When she said hello to the apparition…she received no answer nor sign off recognition from the strangely garbed visitor.
Anthony Hall is named after the famous suffragette Susan B. Anthony and was built, in the 1920’s, as a women’s dormitory. Jack, the crew leader, took me into the attic and showed me old photos of women who lived in Anthony Hall. They were dressed like the spectral woman that the member of our student staff described!
Not only did our Malaysian student in Anthony Hall resign…but the entire crew did so, as well. The word spread among the Malaysian community and soon, no Malaysian would work for Building Services if it entailed that they would be assigned to Anthony Hall. The superintendent met with me and informed me that the Vice President for campus services wanted a full report on the ‘Ghost of Anthony Hall!’ Thus, I began my investigation. Anthony Hall is the administrative center of our campus. It houses our chancellor and vice chancellors.
I discovered that many of our Building Services staff had experienced unexplained phenomena when they were working in Anthony. Often these ghostly happenings transpired late at night…when they were alone…or at least thought that they were alone in the building. Several of my colleagues had heard footsteps on the upper floors…but when they investigated…they found no one. Others described the eerie feeling that they were not alone and the hair standing up on the back of their necks!
Note: Victorian photos are courtesy of Google search.