Stivers Middle School

Stivers Middle School in Dayton is one of Ohio's creepier haunted spots, a big, 1900's-era school with tall windows. Up until the '30s it had an athletic complex in the basement, featuring an olympic-size swimming pool which was simply floored over when the basement was rebuilt into classrooms.

The story behind the ghost is that in the 1920s a teacher who swam every Friday was found Monday face-down in the pool. In one hand was a broken pointer; in the other was a locket. One of the pictures in the locket was of her parents, while the other was of a man--but the head had been torn off the picture. Complicating things was the fact that she had a senior student aide who she was especially close to, who never returned to school. The suspicion that she'd been sleeping with the student, coupled with his complete disappearance, leads most people to suspect that he drowned her and then scraped his picture from her locket--unless he too was a victim of some unknown third party. The mystery is part of what makes the story so intriguing.

To this day hollow footsteps are heard, and a lady with long white hair is occasionally seen in the halls. Disturbances are especially common in a certain basement classroom where a metal trapdoor in the floor at the back opens into the empty swimming pool. This room remains cold all the time, to the point where students need their coats in the warmest weather. Noises are heard behind this room's door after it's been locked up for the night.

Under the room, the pool itself is a kind of sub-basement that's seemingly the focal point of all the paranormal activity. It's possible to climb down into it and stand up almost straight, but not many people choose to do so. The atmosphere is reported to be oppressive and terrifying.

The students of Stivers are familiar with their ghost, even going so far as to alter their production of Beckett's Waiting for Godot and rename it The Ghost of Stivers. Still, many of them are afraid to stick around after dark.

Some stories from the haunted basement of Stivers Middle School were sent to me as follows:

A teacher there told me that recently some students were asked to climb down in the pool to clean it out. Apparently there was junk that had accumulated from many years of people "storing" items down there. According to this teacher (a few others concurred) a student took a picture of someone inside the pool cleaning for a school project. They say that a dark figure was behind the student who was sweeping with a broom in the picture. They stated that it looked like someone wearing a hooded robe or something. I was not able to confirm this claim myself because the picture had gotten "lost," according to them.

Another teacher told us about an incident in which he was alone with one other person late at night. He said that it sounded like all the bells in the school where going off simultaneously and continuously. He said both he and the other person were at first frozen in fear, then ran as fast as they could out the door.

Another school worker reported putting an object down, coming back to use it and finding it gone, then searching for the object everywhere...only to find it where he'd put it down in the first place.

Some teachers actually have a name for the ghost, although I can't recall what they call her right now. One teacher said she would nicely "talk" to the ghost when she went in the room, to make herself feel better I guess (one sided conversation from her to the ghost of course).

Special thanks to Ryan for the pictures.