A Haunted Tour of MSU

Michigan State University has a hidden ghostly past. Everyday, hundreds of students walk over the hidden past, the foundations of burned buildings, and the artifacts of students long dead. We at Campus Archaeology spend our time trying to reveal these ghosts and uncover the past, but there are still gaps in our knowledge. There are still ghosts that walk the campus. This Halloween, why not take this haunted self-guided tour through MSU’s campus so that you can interact with the ghosts of campus past.

Mary Mayo

This is considered to be the most haunted place on campus. The building was constructed in 1931, and named after Mary Anne Mayo, a committee member of the Michigan Agricultural College and strong supporter of women on campus. She died in 1903 from illness, and never actually stepped foot into the building named after her, well at least not alive. The hauntings are reported throughout the history of the building, stories are passed down through its caretakers, and students consistently report odd noises and happenings. Many have seen the figure of a woman, possibly Mary, walking through the halls, the playing of the piano after dark, and lights switching off. There is also the mysterious red room, a supposedly locked room in the attic of the building that is sealed off. Students who have entered the room found satanic symbols, and it was rumored that seances occurred here when the building first opened. Student’s have written accounts of their time in this hall, and video has even been taken of the red room.


A student reportedly called police in the summer of 1995 in response to loud pounding at her door well after midnight. Looking out under the door she could see no one standing in front of the door, yet the pounding continued. Security staff were called and they could hear the racket. They ran down the hall to stand in front of her door watching it rattle in its frame, with the handle ratcheting back and forth. It stopped after about five minutes. No other reports have been made for this building.

Beaumont Tower

College Hall, via MSU Archives

The campus green area by Beaumont Tower is known for images of couples in old-fashioned dress holding hands and walking slowly by on foggy mornings; and glimpses of a man in tails and a stovepipe hat on particularly dark nights. This is also the location of the first building ever built on campus, College Hall. Its walls collapsed in 1918, and it has been reported that long dead students appear at night, searching for their building. Similar sightings have occurred near the area where Saints’ Rest once was.

Fairchild Auditorium

Every year the auditorium is turned into a Haunted House to raise money for student organizations. However, throughout the year there are spooky reports from this building. Echoing noises come from the wings of the stage when no one is in them or producing the original sounds. Numerous sightings have been made of a small boy who wanders through the rows of seats, unable to find his way out. His laughter and the sound of a bouncing ball can be heard.

Holmes Hall

The sixth floor of Holmes Hall is rumored to have an extra resident who stalks the floor and mysteriously opens the elevator. Appliances have been known to turn on and off. Students have reported a male figure walking through their room at night. Two figures have been seen calling the elevator and walking into it, only for it to remain on the sixth floor, empty.

Archaeological Hauntings?

Hair excavated from Sleepy Hollow
Hair excavated from Sleepy Hollow

At Campus Archaeology we see the remains of what students once did on campus, the material effects of behavior past. Most of what we find is the result of students long gone and dead. Can we attest to these hauntings? Not so much. The evidence of the past we find is more tangible, remnants of behavior and actions. However, we have found some spooky finds including the soles of shoes and wads of human hair. We even discussed the possibility of a released curse as over half the graduate and undergraduates working on the recent Saints’ Rest excavation came down with colds, flus and a couple cases of bronchitis. The spread of sickness however is more likely related to our close proximity to one another and the early cold mornings were were working… but for this Halloween, we’ll say we released a historic curse from the building. The ghosts of the students of Saints’ Rest, haunting us and lowering our immune systems.

Have you ever run into any ghosts on campus? Any spooky interactions?

Author: Katy Meyers Emery

8 thoughts on “A Haunted Tour of MSU”

  • I used to intern/volunteer at Central Services, the Museum’s warehouse. I was rushing down the stairs and felt someone pull my arm. I stopped and looked behind me, nothing and no one was there, so I continued down the stairs and opened the door, behind me I heard a clear voice of a female child saying my name in a form of a question. I heard similar stories from my co-workers in Central Services after that.

  • I lived in east holmes hall in 1981/82. A friend and i had dinner at the dining hall. Afterward we walked to the elevators and i hit the button for the up elevator. I wap watching the display amd an elevator came up from the basement. We got in and i hit 6 and the doors closed with just my pal and i on it. As we pass third floor i notice another guy amd noticed his eyes had no white but were instead blood red and his clothes were dirty amd torn. I elbowed dave and his eyes nearly jumped out of his skull as he saw what i had. As we pass fifth floor i say this isn’t your floor is it? As the doors opened it moaned and when i turned around it was gone! We ran down stairs all the way but never saw it again. We were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • The Auditorium building is just otherworldly sometimes. The hallways alongside the upper level of the mainstage now have automatic lighting, but they didn’t when I attended and the lights were frequently off. Given the maze that is that building, sometimes you just have to take a dark hallway to get somewhere…the one on the side of the building opposite the river never felt empty. I always wanted to walk as quickly as possible through it because it felt like being watched.
    I never did hear the little boy, but I was told stories by the grad students that they would hear him in the hall outside their offices. They also would talk about a woman who spent time on the Fairchild stage and there was always something “off” about working in the black box space in the basement (when I was there, it was the only stage down there and the scene shop was just off the loading dock- the building has changed a lot since then, including now having an elevator and generally being a lot more accessible).
    Theatres are certainly liminal spaces.

  • Linton Hall is haunted. I felt heavy energy on the right lower side of the building facing the bell tower. Was there an accident that happened in Linton Hall????

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