Shawnee State University
Shawnee State University

Given the brief time it has existed (only since the mid-1980s), Shawnee State University might easily be ghost-free. But some buildings on its campus in historic Portsmouth reputedly host plenty of spirit activity--all linked to places bulldozed before the first student ever cracked a book at Shawnee.

Campus Bookstore
Before the bookstore was built, an older building stood on this spot, either a former halfway house or simply a home for single women. While the university used it for faculty offices it became known among the teachers as a haunted place. Commonly people would feel eyes on their back or hear footsteps creaking the floorboards--all while a pair of ghostly women made their way up and down the staircases, through corridors, and up from the plaza out front where they were sometimes spotted as they came in. The women's conversation could be heard, and they looked real enough to fool many witnesses--until they evaporated right in front of the eyes. No one is known to have reported the women in the shiny new bookstore, but the truth of the matter is still up in the air.

Clark Memorial Library
Another relative mystery in the ghost-identification department, the college library was built in the place of several nice homes. Sculptures made from the windows of the departed houses hang inside a spiral staircase. One female student whose grandfather had lived in the houses said she'd spent time talking to him upstairs at Clark Memorial, despite the fact that he'd died before the college was built. Others have had less personal, but no less uncanny, experiences--most commonly the strong sensation of having company in an empty room. Electronic equipment is turned on and off by unseen hands, and the silence of the stairwell is frequently interrupted by abrupt and sourceless sounds. The lowest, basement level of the building seems to be the most active.

J.R.R., who worked at the library while in college, recounts her supernatural experiences there as follows.

"I worked at Clark Memorial Library for a year when I was a student at SSU. When I started working, I was warned by some other student workers that not everyone liked working in the basement where I was assigned, where the children’s collection, classrooms, and technology center are located. Because I worked nights, I was often alone after seven or so until eleven on weekdays and midnight on Sundays. Apparently, this freaked some people out. I soon saw why.

"While sitting at the desk in the room I worked in, I would get the strong feeling that someone wanted my attention—the sensation you get when you are busy looking at something or talking on the phone and someone is standing there waiting for you to finish and help them. It was unsettling because there was a computer at the station and when looking at the screen, my back faced the back door which led to other stacks. There was never anyone there. More than once, I was so sure that someone had been standing there looking at me, I walked the entire downstairs looking for them but never saw anyone.

"I enjoyed the quiet job because it allowed me to do my homework while at the desk, so I learned to deal with the creepy feeling I got sometimes. However, other things started happening that scared me more than just a little.

"About six or seven months into the job, something really odd started happening. Across the hall from the room I worked in is a technology center where professors and students can check out audio and visual equipment for classes. This center closed earlier than the rest of the library, so it was only open for a few hours of my shift before the people who worked in there shut it all down and locked it for the night.

"One night, I heard music. One of my jobs was to make sure that people did not disrupt the quiet atmosphere, and this music was loud, so I went looking for the culprit. I realized that the music was coming from the closed technology center. I peeked through the window on the door and saw that a cd player was on and playing. I thought it was odd that it came on because the center had been closed for hours, but thought maybe it had an alarm function and someone forgot to turn it off. I ignored it, but when I went back to my desk, the music grew louder and louder until it was becoming annoying. As I was about to call upstairs to ask someone to get security to go in and turn it off, my boyfriend came halfway down the stairs and asked me who was playing the loud music-—they could hear it upstairs. We called security to turn it off. As security unlocked the door, the music grew louder. When the door was opened, the music stopped. The security guard looked at the cd player and the switch was in the 'off' position. This happened several more times after that night.

"Another odd thing that would happen is that books donated to the library (these have stickers inside them naming the donor) would periodically fall off the shelves downstairs—just sort of drop forward. A few of us caught this out of the corners of our eyes."