Four Notorious Haunted Places at St. Cloud State University
Whether you believe or not, it can’t be refuted that history is full of earnest accounts of things going bump in the night. So, in the spirit of spooky speculation, here’s a brief list of some ghost stories from right here in St. Cloud – St. Cloud State University, to be precise. Seems as though there are more than a couple spots on campus famed for their unexplainable, and at times frightening activity.
Throughout my life, most tales I’ve heard of ghosts, hauntings and the supernatural have led to some serious eye-rolling and finger-drumming. It’s because I’m a natural skeptic. Remember that “Bloody Mary” game? Maybe you played it as a kid – find a dark room with a mirror at, oh, midnight or so, repeat “bloody Mary” three times into the mirror. Allegedly, the ghost of Queen Mary will appear in order to do something dreadful. Well, I decided to debunk it at a sleepover one night. I recall being 99% certain that nothing would happen, but still being a little terrified (shhh, don’t tell) at the thought that maybe…just maybe…I could be deadly wrong.
Many of us enjoy a frightening urban legend, ghost story or horror flick. We see it as fiction. Maybe that’s WHY we like these so much – it’s easier to enjoy something scary if it can't actually happen. I mean, we don’t sit around the campfire telling kidnapping, assault or armed robbery stories – at least, I don’t. So then, why, when asked, do so many people say they’re “not sure” if they believe in ghosts? Most of us haven’t had a real encounter with the supernatural, have we? Those are things that happen to “other people” – someone’s crazy uncle, a college acquaintance, a nutty family friend from a nearby town, etc. We might not believe it, but we also don’t want to discount it completely. Maybe we're just too afraid.
Here now are the ghostly legends of St. Cloud State University.
Riverview is the the second oldest building on campus, built in 1911. It visually lends itself to an eerie story – and it has one. The building is reportedly haunted by an unknown woman. Numerous students, professors and custodians have reported seeing a woman, and hearing the clicking of her high heels as she paces Riverview's corridors. She’s also been known to move furniture from room to room, and flicker the light switches.
That’s not the only story kicking around this building. Riverview is also home to reports of a ghostly child, rumored to wander, alone, bouncing a ball.
The James W. Miller Learning Resources Center is a huge building – so it comes as no real surprise that it sits atop some, shall we say, historically significant remains. This library happened to be built over an unmarked graveyard. In more recent years, bones of both adults and children were found and became objects of study for professors and their students. The tales of ghosts in the library are numerous and varied. However, the most common and consistent report is that of the ghost of a soldier, dressed in a 19th century uniform, pacing the long hallways. When years worth of reports roll in, describing the same spectral figure – well, you have to wonder…
Shoemaker is a residence hall with a macabre past. Around the turn of the century, seems a student from the St. Cloud Normal School was found having an affair with a hall custodian. As the story goes, after becoming pregnant, she hung herself in the meat locker deep in the basement.
Ever since, students living in Shoemaker regularly report objects moving at random, clocks mysteriously flashing impossible numbers, televisions and lights turning on and off at will, and, most spookily, the spectral figure of the young woman, drifting above their beds late at night. The building is currently seeing some renovations, so we'll see if anything changes.
Lastly, Lawrence Hall – it's the oldest building on the campus of St. Cloud State University, built in 1904. Years passed without incident in this building. Then, in 1950, legend holds a janitor was found to have murdered two instructors who had offices in Lawrence. (Added emphasis on the word legend here) The building served as housing until it was retired in 1974, not be be inhabited for over 30 years until renovations in 2002.
Apparently, this hasn't changed the lay of the land, because even today, students independently report seeing the ghostly figure of a bald man as he looms in and around the doorways of the building. This is often followed by lights flashing on and off.