Millikin’s Ghosts

Matthew McClelland, Arts Editor

As Halloween quickly approaches, the number of horror movies in theatres spike, and the year gets darker. It isn’t surprising that Millikin finds itself with a share of ghost stories.

Like other universities, Millikin has had its fair share of hauntings over the years. Probably one of Millikin’s most known ghost stories is the young girl who haunts the Albert Taylor Theatre in Shilling Hall. The ghost known as Rail Girl has been known to be seen among the upper balcony of the theatre, hence the name Rail Girl.

While the origin behind the young ghost is unknown, she has become part of the theatre’s history. Oftentimes, the Rail Girl is blamed for mishaps that take place during the shows and rehearsals within the theatre – in addition to other ghost hijinks such as footsteps and crying. The young girl, who appears in a white dress, is easy to appease however. She only requires the people who wish to use the theatre leave candy out for her before a show.

Another one of Millikin’s famous ghosts is the ghost of Aston Hall. This story, unlike Rail Girl, is based on a tragedy to have occurred on Millikin’s campus in 1927. Bernice Richardson committed suicide in the building by ingesting carbolic acid after her poor grades prevented her from rushing a sorority.

It’s rumored that her ghost still haunts the third floor of the building, and those who have seen her report only being able to see her from the top half. Aston Hall, currently not occupied, is set to be a freshman residence hall after renovations this summer. Maybe the reports of this ghost sighting will increase over the next few years. It is rumored that Bernice also likes to get up to some ghost hijinks, moving objects and disappearing around a corner not to be found.

Most Millikin students never get to see the inside of Millikin’s first gymnasium, which is now the home to rehearsal and storage space for the Department of Theatre and Dance. People have said that strange noises can be heard in the building. Reports have stated that within Old Gym the sounds of games past can be heard coming inside from the old auditorium. Reports have also stated that basketball dribbles, scoreboard sounds and cheers from the games that once took place can be heard within, and runners’ footsteps of the lofted track can be heard.

Other ghost stories from around campus include a body that’s stashed in the lower level of RTUC in the boiler room behind the steps. It’s assumed that a murderer hid their victim there behind the boiler. The walled up windows on the backside of Shilling by the main back entrance were put in out of a sign of respect to a professor who died in their office from a fire. Students report having feelings and seeing strange sights around the walled portion of the building. Other ghost stories have sprung around the barracks that were used to house former servers of the military during their time at Millikin.

So whether you choose to believe is up to you, but there are plenty of spooky stories to set the tone for Halloween.