Haunted: The Blackburn Joker

Bayleigh Williams, Writer

Look below you. Think about the soil that this campus has been built on. I’ll let you in on a little secret: we’re walking on Native American burial grounds. Ever since Decatur’s colonization, the idea of Indian spirits haunting the town was a trend. Parts of the stories were fabricated, but the other parts of the stories were probably true.

Throughout the 19 century, cemeteries like “The Common Burial Grounds,” “King’s Cemetery,” and many other smaller cemeteries had been unearthed and hastily built on top of. Then, another cemetery was created in the 1860s–the “Calvary Cemetery,” which is still intact today. Meanwhile, residents were finding skeleton-filled coffins, skulls, and miscellaneous bones beneath their homes and restaurants up until the 1990s.

As the turn of the century has passed us by, people have still reported cases of ghostly encounters. Millikin is known for its haunted old gymnasium, Albert-Taylor Theater, and Aston Hall. So far, it seems like these ghosts are all fairly young, yet only the Aston ghost is a Millikin alum. As for the ghosts in the Old Gym and Albert-Taylor, no one really knows.

However, did you know that Blackburn Hall is also rumored to be haunted? Junior Human Services major Kayce Fuentes and Junior Music Education major Ryan Wood have both experienced a supernatural presence within the residence hall that they called home.

“When I lived in Blackburn last semester I definitely heard a woman whisper my name one night when I was laying in bed alone,” Wood said.

Even though Blackburn is a co-ed residence hall, the individual rooms are not. Wood never mentioned there being a woman in the room, so who could it have been?

Fuentes had a more threatening encounter her Freshman year as she was studying in her room–BB 217–for her chemistry class and listening to music.

“So I’m there right, strugglin,’ when the music cuts out. I didn’t freak out immediately because I thought it was just bad wifi, but then suddenly I hear this demonic voice screech at me and I throw my laptop and run out of the room screaming. Didn’t go back in for like 20 minutes.” she said.

Similar to the situation with the Old Gym and Albert-Taylor, we have no idea whether these ghosts are Millikin alum, or simply perturbed Natives. One theory is that the ghost is a girl who lived in Blackburn Hall and that Blackburn Hall is her favorite place on campus.

In the story written on the website, The Haunt Spot, the girl was apparently murdered during summer break. Now, residents have reported seeing her as if she were just another student here at Millikin.

“Some students have seen her gliding down hallways and staircases to only disappear into the wall,” The Haunt Spot reports.

But she’s not the easiest ghost to have to deal with, because just as Fuentes was raucously disturbed during her studies, other students have recounted similar stories. If we had to name the Blackburn ghost, we’d have to name her The Blackburn Joker.

“She will turn lights out on students that are studying for exams and is known to turn off stereos if they are played too loud for her. There are also reports of disembodied footsteps and doors opening and closing,” wrote The Haunt Spot.

Furthermore, The Blackburn Joker has also been known to tamper with the maintenance crews’ equipment each time that they have tried to renovate the building, by knocking over paint cans, breaking power tools, etc.

Just like Rail Girl, it doesn’t seem like you want to annoy The Blackburn Joker. If you do, she might tease you–and it will only be amusing to her.