Ohio University’s Campus: Haunted or Myth?


Haylee Followell | Lifestyle Staff Writer| hf211816@ohio.edu

Break out those sweaters and put on those fuzzy socks because October is finally here! With autumn’s cozy clothes comes the spookiest time of year, and given that Ohio University is known as one of the top ten most haunted campuses in the United States, a deep-dive into ghost stories was much needed. From “ghost sightings” in Wilson, to the famous Ridges abandoned insane asylum, Ohio University is so well known for its ghost scares: in fact, it was featured on Syfy’s Scariest Places on Earth series.

When trying to figure out a little bit more about Ohio’s chilling past, I spoke with Elias Jablonski at the Southeast Ohio Historical Center. “I am a skeptic [about the ghost stories], but I am very interested in paranormal folklore,” he said. There are tons of stories involving the Athens County in general: the “Spirit Room” on Mount Nebo, or the ghost of Nicodemus who haunts Alpha Omicron Pi, to name a few.

It is said that Ohio University is so haunted because of the five cemeteries that surround it that, when connected, form a pentagram. Legend has it that at the center of the pentagram is Wilson Hall, which is famously known for being the most haunted dorm.

The Ridges, also known as the former Athens Lunatic Asylum, is one of Southeast Ohio’s most famous haunts. You can often find students from Ohio University making the hike up to this eerie building late at night, trying to catch a glimpse of a ghost. There have been reports of lights and music coming from the building at night.

The asylum is best known for the story of the Lost Lady. The Lost Lady is a story about a woman, Margaret Shilling, who was a patient at the asylum that died in the building. This story is well known because of the “stain” that Shilling apparently left behind that can still be seen today.

But students seem to not be as convinced about the ghost stories as well. I talked to Madison Hayes, a freshman and applied sciences major, about whether she thinks Ohio University is living up to the haunted hype.

“I personally don’t believe in ghosts so I don’t think Ohio University is haunted,” she said.

Madison is actually one of many students that don’t buy into the ghost scares. Many say that they are just simply hoaxes that others continue to pass along.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, Ohio University has a certain air of mystery surrounding it. So the next time you’re out late at night, keep your eyes out for spooky ghouls or haunted houses.