Hauntings at RWU

By: Natalie MacPhee / Herald Contributor

Halloween is just around the corner and campus will be buzzing with students going all out in creative costumes and having a good time. Students aren’t the only ones coming alive in the nighttime on campus, though. Have you ever thought there may be… ghosts on campus?

Rumor has it that RWU is host to hot spots for ghosts and hauntings in a few buildings. Years have passed with multiple unexplainable incidents on campus, including a creepy doll that haunted Cedar back in 2001, and Almeida hauntings from a homeless man’s death. The barn hauntings and Cedar floor five hauntings are the most prevalent to our time.

The William N. Grandgeorge Theater, also known as The Barn, on campus is known to be haunted by a ghost named “Banquo.” Banquo is said to be the grandson of Thomas Whipple Steere. The Barn originally was built as two separate barns in Glocester, RI in 1894 and 1840, then both were restored and relocated to the RWU campus in 1983. It is rumored that before the Barn was a performance center, a farmhand froze to death in a hayloft of one of the original barns. Now, the Barn is home to the RWU Performing Arts Center, but students claim it is mysterious and haunted. They refuse to mess around with the ghost that resides there.

A chair is reserved on the second floor gallery for Banquo, and legend has it that anyone who sits in his chair has become injured. One Senior RWU student said that a girl sat in the chair once, and nine students got concussions that year. Banquo is said to become angry if someone takes his seat, and takes it out on the dancers. The student also reported that she went to the Barn to practice dance one night and felt an eerie sensation, like being very unwelcome by the ghost. She continued to have weird and odd feelings going into the barn after that experience. A few days later, she walked to the attic and apologized to Banquo for coming in past hours and intruding on his space. After that, she said she felt fine and welcomed again.

Some say they feel a slight breeze behind the curtains and lights sometimes flicker on and off randomly. Others reported they hear names being called, when in reality no one had said a word.

Along with the barn, students have had spooky experiences on the third and fifth floors of the freshman dorm, Cedar Hall. It is said that toilets will flush in the middle of the night with no one around on floor three, and that black figures appear in rooms.

Giovanni Pinto, a current RWU senior recalled a few odd occurrences while he was a freshman living on floor five.

“I woke up one night, I just had a feeling there was something in my room”, says Pinto. He remembered sitting up in bed, allowing his eyes to come into focus, and seeing a dark figure standing in his room. As soon as he got up and turned the lights on, it vanished. Pinto explained he was weirded out so he just slept it off with the lights on that night. In the morning, something stranger occurred. The girl who lived in the room next to him asked him directly if he saw anything strange the night before. Come to find out, she had experienced the same dark figure in her room.

“The girl told me her door was open and unlocked that morning, but she always locks her door before going to bed,” said Pinto.

Pinto moved from floor five to floor three of Cedar Hall the following semester. During his time on floor three of Cedar Hall, he and his roommate believe a young Native American girl’s ghost lived in their room. Pinto had a suspicion she did not like his roommate, but liked him.

“Long strands of black hair would fall from our ceiling, and my roommate would wake up to dark hair on his bedding in the morning sometimes,” he explained.

Pinto also recalls a night where his poster, which had about thirty tacks holding it against the wall, fell on him during the night. He hadn’t thought much of it, but knew he’d end up waking up and rolling around with tacks in his bed.

“I woke up and saw that the tacks were perfectly lined up against the windowsill. I assumed the girl helped me, and moved the tacks so I wouldn’t get hurt.”

Oddly enough, in 1675, the English colonists, along with their Native American allies, defeated Metacomet, “King Philip,” in King Philip’s war on current RWU land and Mount Hope Farm land.

Along with the excitement among college students on Halloween, maybe the rumored ghosts will emerge from hiding as well to celebrate the weekend. We’ll have to keep an eye out for spooky experiences around campus!