Ohio University is known for a lot of things, being one of the top ten of biggest party schools, our crazy Halloween parties, and our top rated journalism school. But what many people don’t know is that Ohio University is one, if not the number one most haunted university in the United States. Ohio University was established in 1804, so it only makes sense possible ghosts could be lurking about at a school with such rich history. So what makes Ohio University deserve this spooky reputation? A few years after Ohio University was established, a mental hospital called the Athens Lunatic asylum, now known as The Ridges, was built right by Ohio University in 1874 and was in operation until 1993.
Athens was considered an ideal place for the patients, quiet and beautiful, but over time it became very overcrowded. It started to use inhumane practices like lobotomy, and many patients died while being admitted there. The Ridges is no longer a hospital, but is now used by the university as a museum, and classrooms for art students. Even though it is no longer occupied with patients, legend has it they still haunt the halls. One legend stands out in particular, the legend of Margaret Schilling. She was a patient that went missing one day, and was not found until a month later. When she was discovered, an outline of her body and hair stained the floor and was never able to be washed off. Legend has it you can still see the stain till this day.
There are two or three cemeteries at different places at The Ridges. There is one cemetery that stands out in particular, the one located at the rear corner of The Ridges. It is the one most explored by people and students. Almost all of the graves have only a number engraved no name, and no date. The only ones properly identified on their headstones are ones that relatives of the patients paid for. Most haunted legends arise from the circle of graves without a headstone in the middle. Legends say that this is where witches would perform séances, but Ohio University’s official claim is that it was caused by vandalism. People who have been brave enough to visit it at night have reported to hearing screams and seeing strange lights.
The Ridges isn’t the only place that is known to be haunted on campus. Ohio University’s very own residence hall, Wilson hall, is considered the most haunted on campus. When you look on a map, there is said to be five cemeteries that form a pentagram with Wilson Hall located in the center. A pentagram is a five pointed star that is a religious symbol, and is either interpreted as a safe place, or a place of evil. In the 1970s, in room 428, a young man mysteriously died. Every person who lived in the room after that reported to hearing strange noises or seeing objects move. Similar occurrences kept happening until a young woman moved into the room and violently died after practicing occult in the room.
The room after her death was then closed off, prohibiting anyone from living in it. It has now been converted into a boiler room. However, room 428 isn’t the only spooky thing about Wilson hall; the hall is also rumored to be built on top of an ancient Indian cemetery which is a location for major spiritual energy. Wilson isn’t the only residence hall that’s rumored to be haunted. Jefferson Hall has a “marble sound,” where it sounds like hundreds of marbles are being dropped on the top floor of the building which is supposed to be “empty.” Washington Hall is rumored to have a basketball team haunt its halls, and people have confessed to hearing basketballs being bounced in the hallways when no one is there.
Legend also says that Crawford Hall has also experienced ghostly experiences after the death of young woman Laura, who fell from a fourth floor window. Lights turn on and off on their own, doors slam shut and open on their own, and the Bob Marley song Laura will not play on any musical device. Even though I have named many places on campus, these are not the only ones to be reported to be haunted. If you want more information about these locations or are curious about any of the other spooky legends about Ohio University, you can visit www.forgottenoh.com/OU/ou.html or www.hauntedathens.com. You can also check out on YouTube Ohio University’s episode on SyFy’s Scariest Places on Earth!