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The Ghosts of Miami University

As the weather gets cooler and Halloween approaches, we’re all thinking about what kind of group costume we can make with our friends and the crazy shenanigans uptown. Though let’s take a step back and look at Halloween as more than a crazy college party, beyond the jack-o-lanterns and scary movies. Perhaps go to the darker side, the fear that something might just be lurking behind you – the ghosts of Miami University.

Someone’s Watching Over YouOne of the most famous Miami ghost stories is about the ghost of Helen Peabody who haunts Peabody Hall. Back in the 19th  century when Western Campus was the Western Female Seminary, President Helen Peabody highly opposed coeducation. When boys from Miami University would wander over to her campus looking to cause trouble, Ms. Peabody kept a close eye and protected her female students. To this day, it is said that her ghost wanders around Peabody Hall and watches over the females, while messing with the male students. Boys of Peabody Hall, you’ve been warned.

Bloody HandprintsReid Hall, a dorm that used to stand where the Farmer School of Business now resides, was home to one of the most notable campus ghost stories. Roger Sayles, an RA in Reid Hall during the year 1959, was shot and killed when he tried to stop two of his residents who were in a fight. Sayles fell to the ground and his two bloody handprints left marks on the door. The shooter ran to Ogden Hall and ended his life there. Students claimed that the bloody handprints never went away. Even when they were scrubbed away by custodians, the bloody handprints would always make their way back. Reid Hall was torn down to make room for the new business school but this story will always be known as one of the most bizarre ghost stories in Miami’s history.

Where Is Tammen?Ron Tammen was last seen in his Fisher Hall dorm on April 19, 1953. What exactly happened to Tammen is still a mystery, even 60 years later. Before it was Fisher Hall, it was an asylum where students would sometimes stumble into weird things, including straitjackets. Tammen left his room on that cold April night to get new bed sheets and that was the last time he was seen alive. His roommate came back the next day and saw Tammen’s psychology book still opened, lights on and nothing askew, but to this day no one knows what happened. Fisher Hall was transformed into what is now the Marcum Conference Center, and in the process of building it they looked for what could have been Tammen’s remains in the rubble, but found nothing.

A Love Story Gone BadIf you want to see a ghost, legend says to drive down Oxford-Millville Rd. (Rt. 27). Many moons ago, a young man was riding his motorcycle to propose to his girlfriend at her house on Earhart Road. Unfortunately he missed a turn, was thrown from his bike and was decapitated by a barbed wired fence. Today, if you drive to the old girlfriend’s house on Earhart Rd. and flash your headlights three times, it is said that you will see the shining headlight of the man’s motorcycle and then see it disappear as if it approached the curve. But if you’re too chicken to try it, you can look on YouTube to see what some of the brave souls who tried it out found.

Maybe you believe in ghosts and maybe you don’t, but these stories have rooted themselves into the chapters of Miami’s history. And though the stories are mostly retold in the fall, remember that the supernatural could always be lurking. Happy Halloween! (Don’t look behind you …)


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