Tag: haunted tour

The Haunted Tour Re-CAP: Going Virtual in the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Haunted Tour Re-CAP: Going Virtual in the COVID-19 Pandemic

With COVID-19 still dictating much of our day-to-day lives, Campus Archaeology made the early call to put all of our outreach events for the foreseeable future online or in some digital format. One of our most popular and fun events we put on is the 

Revealing the new APPARITIONS and ARCHAEOLOGY Virtual HAUNTED CAMPUS TOUR

Revealing the new APPARITIONS and ARCHAEOLOGY Virtual HAUNTED CAMPUS TOUR

Happy October! We hope everyone is doing well and is staying safe! Things are definitely looking a little different here this fall, as MSU has made the decision to stay remote for the entire semester. As our director, Dr. Camp, mentioned in her blog post 

Apparitions & Archaeology: 5th Annual Haunted Campus Tour

Apparitions & Archaeology: 5th Annual Haunted Campus Tour

Happy Halloween! Yesterday we hosted our 5th annual Apparitions & Archaeology: A Haunted Campus Tour. For this year’s tour, we decided to change several of the stops and the MSU Paranormal Society added stories from their investigations of each area! If you weren’t able to attend the tour last night, below you can read about some of the stories told at each stop:

Southeast corner of Beaumont Tower, 1928. Photo courtesy of MSU Archives and Historical Collections.

Beaumont Tower:
Prior to Beaumont Tower, College Hall, the first building on campus, was located at this spot. It was erected in 1856 and was the first structure in America that was dedicated to the instruction of scientific agriculture. 

The tower itself was constructed where the northeast corner of College Hall once stood. Some of the foundation walls for the original building still exist underneath the sidewalks. In the fall of 2009, the Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) tested areas north and south of Beaumont Tower and discovered the foundation of College Hall and cinder pathways that would have been used by the first MSU students!

There are many stories of hauntings around Beaumont tower. For example, specters of couples in old-fashioned dress holding hands have been seen walking slowly by on foggy mornings. On very dark nights, there have been multiple sightings of a man in tails and a stovepipe hat wandering around the tower.

Saints Rest:
Saints’ Rest was the first dormitory on campus, constructed in 1857. Unfortunately in the winter of 1876, while students were on break, the building burned down. In 2005, CAP investigated the debris left behind from the building, and determined that the fire likely started in the basement where construction tools were found burned in place. 

Students outside Saints’ Rest ca. 1857. Image from MSU Archives.

Although there were no reported deaths in the fire, there have been numerous sightings of ghostly students in 19th century clothing wandering through this space, looking for their lost dorm building. When the Paranormal Society investigated this area, the flashlight set on the ground near the Saints’ Rest sign flicked when asked if there were any spirits that wanted to communicate…

Mable Reconstructed
Mabel Post-Reconstruction

In 2015, a privy associated with the Saints’ Rest dormitory was discovered and excavated by CAP. Not only was this the bathroom for students, but it also served as a dumping ground for illicit items–such as smoking pipes and alcohol bottles–that students wished to hide forever. Also discovered in the historic privy was the head of a porcelain doll, who came to be known as Mabel. Why someone living in Saints’ Rest, an all-male dormitory, was seeking to get rid of a doll remains a mystery.

Mary Mayo Hall:
The area by this dormitory was once known as “Faculty Row,” as it was where the first faculty homes were built on campus. The only Faculty Row building still here today is Cowles House, which is the oldest standing structure on the MSU campus. 

In 2008, CAP excavated between Landon and Campbell Halls and uncovered early construction materials including wood plumbing and bricks made of clay sourced from the Red Cedar River. 

Mary Mayo Hall, a stop on the Apparitions and Archaeology Tour, is said to be haunted
Mary Mayo Hall – Image courtesy of MSU Archives.

Mary Mayo is supposed to be one of the most haunted buildings on campus. Several strange occurrences have been reported. A woman’s figure has been seen near the piano in the West Lounge and sometimes the piano plays all by itself.

MSU Museum:
Long ago, a very different building stood in this spot: Williams Hall, which was the second dormitory on campus. It was built in 1869, but like Saints’ Rest, it burned down in 1919 during winter break. 

Although limited archaeology has been done in the immediate vicinity of the museum, just to the west of Beaumont Tower, a small Archaic campsite, dating to between 3000 and 500 BC was discovered and excavated by CAP.

MSU Museum - Image courtesy of MSU Archives
MSU Museum – Image courtesy of MSU Archives

In the MSU Museum over the years, archaeology graduate students working in the basement labs reported hearing people walking around on the first and second floors, as well as strange noises coming from behind the exhibits.

Beal Gardens: 
Beal Botanical Garden is the longest continually maintained university garden in the nation. It was established by William Beal, MAC’s first Botany professor. In 1879, a Botanical Laboratory was built in the area near the Botanical Garden. 

Beal's first Botanical Laboratory - Image Source: MSU Archives & Historical Collection FLICKR
Beal’s first Botanical Laboratory – Image Source: MSU Archives & Historical Collection FLICKR

Campus Archaeology excavated between West Circle Drive and the Beal Garden gazebo in 2016 and found building remains believed to be the remnants of the Botanical Laboratory. Artifacts recovered included building materials, melted glass, and charcoal, most likely associated with the 1890 fire that destroyed the building. 

Students and faculty members have reported seeing a male apparition dressed in clothes from the 1920s – some say it is Professor Beal coming back to the garden to check on his seed experiment that he started in 1879.

CAP fellow, Kate Frederick standing by historic steam tunnel.
CAP fellow, Kate Frederick standing by historic steam tunnel.

Steam Tunnels:
Throughout north campus there are historic steam tunnels; they are a series of honeycombed tubes that are over 100 years old. In 1884, the first boiler and power plant was constructed on campus, behind Olds hall. The steam created by the boiler was used to heat the original Wells and Williams Halls, the Chemistry building, library, and museum. 

During the 2014 West Circle construction, Campus Archaeology was able to excavate one of these historic steam tunnels. We were lucky to be able to document this stretch of tunnel, as most of the historic tunnels have been deeply buried, are caved in, or have been removed by construction.





4th Annual Apparitions & Archaeology Tour Recap

4th Annual Apparitions & Archaeology Tour Recap

Happy Halloween! This past week the Campus Archaeology Program and the MSU Paranormal Society hosted their fourth annual Apparitions and Archaeology: A Haunted Campus Tour! While it was a little chilly out, we had a record number of attendees, with over 200 people touring! Similar 

The Second Annual Apparitions and Archaeology: A Haunted Campus Tour

The Second Annual Apparitions and Archaeology: A Haunted Campus Tour

You may also have seen some of the Campus Archaeology Program Fellows featured on MSU’s Snapchat story last week in which we were telling stories of MSU’s haunted past. These were clips from a preview our Apparitions and Archaeology Tour that we gave for MSU’s 

The Haunted History of MSU: A Historical and Paranormal Tour of Campus

The Haunted History of MSU: A Historical and Paranormal Tour of Campus

Beaumont Tower under the full moon, photo courtesy Derrick L. Turner, msutoday.msu.edu
Beaumont Tower under the full moon, photo courtesy Derrick L. Turner, msutoday.msu.edu

This Halloween season, for the first time ever, Campus Archaeology is teaming up with the MSU Paranormal Society to offer a haunted historical tour of campus for those who have always been intrigued by stories of MSU’s haunted past. If you have ever heard stories about satanic rites in Mary Mayo Hall, disembodied screams in the Beal Botanical Gardens, or a disturbing aura surrounding the Red Cedar River at night, then this tour is for you!

The date and time will be announced at a later date, but keep your mid-October schedule open for a night of history and haunts. Members from both CAP and the Paranormal Society will guide tourists around campus with CAP detailing the history of supposedly haunted buildings and the Paranormal Society sharing the tales, sightings, and experiences that have been perpetuated throughout MSU’s history.

For those of you who have not read it yet, Katy Meyers’ blog post from October 2012 (http://campusarch.msu.edu/?p=1687) offers a great introduction to some of campus’ most famous haunts.

The MSU Paranormal Society has conducted several investigations of buildings on campus including Mary Mayo Hall, Morrill Hall, and Beaumont Tower. They have also teamed up with UAB on several occasions to engage the student body with paranormal investigations and MSU’s haunted past. Events like ParaMorrill Activity (2011) and Ghosts of Spartans Past (2013) drew hundreds of students curious about paranormal occurrences on campus.

MSU Paranormal Society
MSU Paranormal Society

Here’s a sample of what you might experience on the tour (I won’t give too much away!):

Mary Mayo Hall – The famous ghost of Mary Mayo supposedly haunts this dormitory, although she died before even stepping foot in the building named after her.

Yakeley-Gilchrist Hall – Police officers and a student in 1995 witnessed the student’s door rattle in its frame for five minutes as loud pounding was heard.

Steam Tunnels – “Tunneling” was once a popular past time for students, many of whom reported strange sightings down in the tunnels.

Beal Botanical Gardens – Disembodied screams have been heard coming from the garden and apparitions have been spotted here.

Morrill Hall – Professors have reported seeing apparitions of past professors visiting their offices.

…. And more spooky tales of MSU’s haunted past!

Stay posted for more updates about the tour.