If you were to walk the West Virginia University campus in the fall, you might
get involved in a haunting.
Jason Burns, MA ’06, Sociology and Anthropology, and MA ’10, Educational Leadership, knows all about the dark side of the campus. For more than a decade, he has unearthed spine-chilling stories of ghosts that haunt the University grounds and buildings.
“I never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” said Burns, an award-winning storyteller, program specialist at the WVU Office of Multicultural Programs and founder of the West Virginia Spectral Heritage Project.
Several eyewitness accounts of ghosts lurking on campus have been reported over the years. Here are a few of our favorites.
Sheba was the pet cat of the first female librarian at WVU, Eliza Skinner, according to Burns. The playful gray tabby cat would follow Skinner to work and could often be found in the Charles C. Wise Library.
Skinner instituted the use of the Dewey Decimal System at WVU, and the café, Eliza’s, located on the fourth floor of the Downtown Campus Library is named after her.
Today, Sheba can be heard meowing throughout the old sections of the Charles C. Wise Library, guarding the collections. You might be in the library, see a purring cat on a reading room table and when you go to pet her, she’ll disappear.
It is believed that an 8-year-old girl named Sally attended a party at Reynolds Hall, where the Mountainlair is now, at the turn of the 20th century and had a wonderful time dancing around in her Victorian dress.
Sadly, not long after this, she died in a typhoid outbreak. She was buried in a cemetery on the site of Stewart Hall. The graves are now in the East Oak Grove Cemetery.
Over the years, facilities workers have reported seeing a blonde girl in a yellow dress dancing in the hallways of the Mountainlair and the second floor of Stewart Hall. Burns said Sally haunts the place where she last had fun and the place where she was first buried.
Burns calls Elizabeth Moore “a badass character in WVU’s history.” She was principal of Woodburn Female Seminary, which was a women’s educational academy that existed in Woodburn Circle prior to WVU’s inception.
Moore was a firm believer in women’s rights and was a mother figure to her students.
Many claim that Moore’s presence is still felt on campus today, particularly in E. Moore Hall, which was named in her honor. Her ghost has been spotted hovering over the E. Moore Hall swimming pool chaperoning a date. She is allegedly still sighted and felt in the building on a regular basis.
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