The University of Delaware first opened its doors to students in 1743. With a University as old as Delaware, some sites around campus must be haunted. I decided to take it upon myself to seek out the most paranormal, creepy and overall disturbing places at the University. Since this is the first article of its kind (that I know of), I have dedicated plenty of research to provide the most chilling and comprehensive list of paranormal activity that this university has ever seen. Thank you to all past, former and current students and faculty who contributed.
11. Smyth Hall
After a couple 2012 students released a video describing the creepy things that they noticed in Smyth during winter session, I decided to break down their findings which may expose that Smyth is haunted. The students first noticed scratching and pounding noises coming from the fourth floor, where no one lived, as well as the door to the fourth floor opening and closing on its own. After doing some wandering, they came across a boiler room with scratches on the wall and the name “Anica Walker” carved into the door. They learned that back in the 1970’s Smyth saw a violent incident when it was a women’s dorm where an ex boyfriend broke in and assaulted a woman. Could the spirit of Anica Walker still roam the halls?
10. Warner Residence Hall
Constructed in 1914, Warner is one of the two oldest buildings on the South Green and was a women’s residence hall for years. A few decades ago, a owman committed suicide in this residence hall and residents over the years have reported ghostly occurences.
9. Memorial Hall
Memorial Hall was constructed in 1924 and serves as a memorial to the men and women from Delaware who died serving in World War I. Aside from the bronze memorial fixtures on the walls, there is a book in the heart of Memorial with the names of the Delawareans who died at war. When a building is dedicated to the dead, sometimes paranormal activity can follow the recognition. A handful of students have reported odd occurrences in Memorial, including always feeling watched and feeling cold patches come out of nowhere even in the heart of summer.
8. Academy Building
Academy building is located right on the corner of Academy Street and Main and is where the University of Delaware takes its origin; The Academy of Newark. During the Revolutionary War era, an ex soldier and student of the Academy was found hanged in the cupola of Academy Building. Late at night on main street, some have reported seeing a ghostly figure standing outside the building. So, next time you’re headed back to your Main Street apartment late at night, be on the lookout for an apparition outside the Academy.
7. Ray Street C
Ray Street hits close to home for me since I lived there my sophomore year. I have documented information from myself, my roommates and my former RA confirming a handful of paranormal occurrences. My roommates and I lived in a suite style dorm room in Ray C with a bathroom in the center connecting the two. The first occurrence that I can remember was centered in the bathroom. One of my roommates, Her Campus UD’s co-CC Addison, remembers feeling so strongly like someone else was in the bathroom while she was showering that she would begin talking and would get no response on multiple occasions. At night, we would hear the bathroom stall door slam open and closed, but when we would text everyone in the suite, we found out that no one was in the bathroom at the time. The creepiest experience of my life had to do with the light above my bed. For the entire year, the overhead was disconnected so our room only had one light on the other side. One night, the light above my bed that never worked, began to flicker on and off. This was the first and last time this ever happened. That was also the night that for no reason at all, my phone began to flash between the normal screen and a white background. I had never before had phone problems and never did after that. The next morning, I woke up at 6 a.m. for work, and when I turned on the bathroom light, it strobed on and off and even when I turned the switch off, the strobe effect continued. After that, we did some research to see if anyone died in the building, and came across an article about a man who was found decomposing behind Ray Street in 2015; it had been a month between when he went missing and when his body was found. Oddly enough, the hauntings in our dorm started on the exact day that he went missing and settled down after he was found in December. We talked to our RA about everything that happened and she confirmed that another RAY C RA had warned her that previous residents were terrified by a possible haunting. Most disturbing of all, why the man died remains unsolved.
6. Recitation Hall
Recitation is undoubtedly one of the oldest buildings on campus, but could it possibly be cursed? According to one graduate researcher of the building, the architect, Frank Furness, was obsessed with Victorian occult legends, and therefore, used infernal geometry in the design, thus cursing the building. In the original building that was from the 1880’s, constant equipment accidents and odd deaths spooked faculty to the point that the building rotated from being everything from a gym to a library. When the art department took it over in the 1990’s, they altered the original construction, supposedly to do away with the original occult architecture that creeped out many prior residents. Reports of the art department using black magic to do away with the building’s curse have also been made. Since the 1990’s, there have not been any paranormal reports or strange deaths, but we’ll keep Recitation on our list to commemorate its odd past.
5. Old College
If you’ve ever gotten creepy vibes in Old College, there’s a reason behind that. Centuries ago, a student was murdered in the building and the case of who did it was never solved. John Edward Roach’s throat was slit by fellow students over an academic dispute, and although three suspects were taken into questioning, the murder remains unsolved. Today, reports of missing items, unexplained noises and ghostly figures have been reportedly sighted within the historic building.
4. The Christiana Tower East
The towers are now vacant, but they stand as the tallest buildings in Delaware and the site of a radio tower, so chances are they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. The towers have had their fair share of deaths and chilling activity, which makes them one of the most haunted sites on campus. In 1974, a junior living in the Christiana East Tower fell from a 17th floor window after the glass shattered in room 1713. Although tragic, this story gets even more chilling. In the 1990’s, another student fell to his death after standing on a window unit and falling through. Coincidentally enough, he lived on the 13th floor of Christiana East Tower. With tragic deaths, comes unruly hauntings. One 2019 graduate reported that her roommate, who has never sleep walked, walked over to her bed, stared at her until she woke up, and then, in a monotone voice, asked her if she was sleeping before going back to bed. When she asked her roommate about the odd situation later, she had no recollection of ever waking up or talking to her. She also reported a feeling of being watched at all times while in her apartment and the lights going on and off.
3. West Campus Rodney & Dickinson Complex
The old Rodney residence complex closed in 2015 after being open since the 1960’s, and until now, has been used for police training. Set to become a public park, the old Rodney was home to many haunts that I was able to document from former residents of “The Rodgects”. One former Residence Hall Director who lived in Rodney back in the 1990’s reported waking up and seeing a figure standing in the doorway that looked like maintenance staff. She mentioned that before then, she did not believe in ghosts and is certain that the figure wasn’t living as it disappeared after they stared at each other for minutes. One 2018 graduate reported a similar occurrence of seeing a man standing by the door of her freshman residence hall, peering up at her in her bunk bed, and then quickly disappearing. Rodney certainly looks the part of a ghostly site nowadays; surrounded by chain link fence and in a state of disrepair. Maybe the ghostly presence will live on, haunting future park-goers.
2. Deer Park Tavern
Deer Park is often recognized as not only one of America’s oldest bars, but its most haunted. In 1892, Deer Park was added to the National Registry of historic places. The Deer Park was built above the remains of the St. Patrick’s Inn and has hauntings reported that date back to the Inn’s era. The basement of the historic building was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad and Edgar Allen Poe supposedly wrote the “Tell Tale Heart” here, but cursed the building after falling in mud outside. Waitstaff and patrons have reported hearing mysterious noises on stairs that had been closed off, the doors swinging open when no one was there and some patrons have reported having creepy feelings by the bar.
1. Mitchell Hall
Mitchell Hall is one of the most well known haunted places on campus, especially within their theater. According to legend, a construction worker fell to his death while up on the scaffolding of the theater. Over the years, a few spirits have been reported but they are all classified as “Elmo”, the legendary name of the construction worker. Theater goers have reported ghostly sightings such as a woman and two small children wearing pajamas in the balcony, props and tools that would disappear for a moment and then reappear quickly, lights and power flickering on and off, unexplained laughter during rehearsals and some actors who forgot their lines during rehearsals have even reported hearing their lines whispered into their ears by an unexplained paranormal voice.
Other ghostly experiences have been noted in Kirkbride Hall, Alumni Hall and Elliott hall, but research on these occurrences is sparing so stay tuned for updated information on these sites.