Thursday, October 31, 2002

Ghost Tales of Sam Houston State University

Halloween comes to Huntsville and the staff of the Houstonian does a hair-raising job of digging up some of the stories and legends from SHSU:
"The first story I ever heard was a girl shooting herself in a community bathroom on the ground floor of Belvin-Buchanan Hall. You're supposed to see the silhouette of her face on the wall," [Senior Shelbi] Blackmon said. "Supposedly, that's why there is a wall covering up the two bathrooms," she said.

"On the fire emergency exit map on the back of everyone's dorm room door, the maps on the ground floor show two bathrooms. If it's not true, then why are they on the map?" she asked.

JoEllen Tipton, director of Residence Life, begs to differ. "There has been no such thing like someone shooting themselves, or someone murdering somebody. UPD hasn't ever reported anything of that matter. There has been stories, but even then, in Belvin, there has never been bathrooms on the ground floor. The room on the ground floor that people mistake the bathroom for being, is a maintenance closet that holds air conditioning equipment," she said.

"We've heard the girl's face on the wall story, but none of the staff or faculty has ever seen it. In the late 70s, a lot of girls painted murals on the walls of the ground floor, which is also known as the garden floor. Depending on the paint color on the walls, in between the years, I'm guessing that some of the pictures might still show through the repainting renovations," Tipton said.

Blackmon also heard a rumor of a lady's picture hanging in the lobby of Belvin-Buchanan, that follows students when they walk by. The picture is of an old Residence Manager Mrs. W.H. Fannie Matthews.

Natali Rhymes, a resident manager at Elliott Hall had some grueling stories to share.

"Back in the day, there used to be four dorm rooms on the ground floor. Supposedly, a girl was killed in her room. The rooms were then renovated into a lounge for the bottom floor. If you go to the ground floor of Elliot by yourself at nighttime, you're supposed to see a girl combing her hair in the reflection," said Rhymes.

Anyone interested in seeing the facts for themselves will have to wait. A tar problem on the bottom floor caused the lounge area to be reconstructed. Now, the area is being considered for central staff offices.

Rhymes has had plenty of weird and freaky things happen to her, but the worst was when she was a house manager at the old Chi Omega House, now the Stuart House, which houses the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority.

"...I heard that an old Chi Omega alum hung herself in her shower of one of the rooms. Some of the sorority girls told me about the incident. Anyways, a little while after that, I was doing room checks and the room that she had killed herself wouldn't open with my master key. In fact, you had to go through the suite to get to the room. If you unlocked the door to the bathroom and left, and then came back, the door would be locked," said Rhymes.

"I think it's fun to think something happened because the buildings are so old," [Belvin-Buchanan Hall Resident Manager Jessica Truscott] explained.

A faculty/staff member who didn't want their name published, said that there are ghosts in the Peabody Building and Austin Hall. In the Peabody Building, there is supposedly an older woman in a long black dress who visits the building in the daytime. If the music being played on the radio is not the music the ghost likes, she'll pull the cord out of the socket. In Austin Hall, an elderly maid stands at the end window looking out towards the courthouse. Sam Houston's ghost is also rumored to appear at nighttime in one of the back windows and also looks out.

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