Imagine you are walking across campus, and the sun is disappearing just over the skyline. It is a little chilly, but it’s a comfortable autumn evening. Though you are walking alone, you have no reason to be fearful of your surroundings. Everyone you pass gives a quick glance and an innocent smile, before continuing on their way.
Turning the corner toward your dorm, you feel an icy breeze skim across your face and the pressure of a hand resting on your shoulder. You spin frantically to see who it may be, and to your surprise nobody’s there. Pushing your hands deep into your coat pockets, you shrug it off and finish your trek home.
Though this was not any specific experience, it is similar to a few reported occurrences here at Michigan State University. Sami Schmidt, a senior education major, shared her experience with paranormal activity.
“The summer before my junior year, I was coming back from an early morning class. I was walking in between the Olin Health Center and Berkey Hall, headed toward Grand River. Just as I was about to pass through the open part of the small gate there, two hands were firmly placed on my back and I was shoved forward. Catching myself before hitting the ground, I turned around expecting to see a friendly face of someone I knew who could have been giving the term ‘love tap’ a new meaning. However, when I looked back, no one was behind me. Thinking the hands might have been my imagination and I might have just tripped, I searched the ground for lifted sidewalk cracks, or anything that would have given me an explanation, but I found nothing,” said Schmidt.
MSU students have reported many different instances of paranormal or supernatural activity over the years. Most of these reports have been made regarding the residence halls. The place most commonly known for reported hauntings on MSU’s campus is Mayo Hall. The hall was named after Mary Mayo, a strong advocate of collegiate education for women. This building was not built until almost 30 years after her death.
The hall contains a portrait of Mayo and it is reported that anywhere you stand in the room, her eyes will follow. It is also believed that her figure walks around the halls and that she is the player of the piano in Mayo Hall that performs after dark without the assistance of human hands. Mayo Hall has four floors, but the fourth floor has been sealed off due to a past of alleged Satanic rituals and a young woman’s suicide, but mostly asbestos. According to “A Haunted Tour of MSU”, it has a room that is referred to as the “red room.” At times, unexplained lights and figures can be seen through the windows from outside.
MSU Paranormal Society President Jared Gajos and a couple of his officers, Daniel Mueller and former president Joshua Schnell, took turns recounting their investigation experiences, as well as stories from MSU’s past.
Recently, the society investigated the auditorium, which they said is one of the most haunted buildings on campus. It is well known for having the presence of a small boy who laughs and wanders the seats of the auditorium. Gajos and his society members were only given permission to investigate outside the main room within the halls and the basement.
“We were descending the stairs out of the projector room and we kept hearing noises and saw lights flickering on and off where there was no one,” Gajos recalled.
“That was one of the first real investigations we got to do on campus, because the downfall to most of the reports are that they’re from residence halls, where we don’t have permission to be due to noise pollution and access problems,” said Schnell, an MSU senior and fourth year society member.
Another incident that still remains unexplained took place at Yakeley-Gilchrist Halls in the summer of 1995. A student was sitting in her room, when all of a sudden her door slammed shut. She tried as much as she could to open it, but it wouldn’t budge. The door started to shake, and she ended up calling the police. They arrived at the girl’s dorm, but had to call the fire department after not making any progress with the situation. Neither department could open the door and were able to see that it was shaking violently. When they had eventually decided to bust down the door, it all stopped and the door opened on its own.
As mentioned in “Exhibit – Legends and Myths surrounding the MSU Campus”, Gajos also stated that Beaumont Tower and the Beal Botanical Gardens are said to have instances of figures and the ominous feeling of a presence.
The MSU Paranormal Society is not more than 10 years old and has continued on through the years, growing from about 10 people to now an average of 40 members. They meet every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on the third floor of Bessey Hall. They encourage anyone to join, whether you believe in the paranormal world or not.
“Our main idea is to investigate and find reasons,” said Gajos. “ … and we want anyone who has a curiosity for the Paranormal Society, even if it’s only to see what we are all about.”
If there is any interest in contacting or joining the MSU Paranormal Society, more information can be found here.