From The Lantern, Friday, October 29, 2004


By Kendric C. Winters

Just walking around campus in the daytime can give you the creeps.

From MacPherson Hall there have been reports of lab instructors who gave students only 45 minutes to finish two hours' worth of workbook problems.

On Seventeenth Avenue between Larkins Hall and the power plant, one student almost fainted when she remembered the face-numbing winds that would be ripping through there this winter.

And every time one journalism major walks past Sullivant Hall, he shudders when he thinks about the tubby little redhead who blew him off for a study date almost one year ago.

But it's Halloween: A time to look past everyday horrors and contemplate the spectral and truly weird. There's no shortage of that at Ohio State. People have been entering OSU for 130 years, but not everyone has made it out alive.

Few things are as inherently creepy as bell towers - they house hunchbacks and snipers.

In the 1880s, before it had bells, Orton Hall's tower was a favorite reading place of the OSU's first president, Edward Orton. The walls still bear the smoke-streaks of the oil lamp he read by. Some say they've seen a flickering light in the tower late at night. The ghost of Orton? And - one supposes - the ghost of his reading lamp.

If you dare to walk inside, you'll see that Orton Hall's geological museum is packed with dead things - something's bound to be spooking up the place. A ghost-tracking Web site called Forgotten Ohio claims a wandering Neanderthal lumbers around Orton's hallways, grunting, slamming doors and banging on things.

Or you can go to Bricker Hall and meet Herbert Atkinson. He's been dead for more than 50 years.

In a ghoulish moment of school spirit, the OSU trustee requested in his will that his remains be laid to rest somehere on university property. Board members decided to place his ashes in a wall on the second floor of Bricker next to a conference room where he'd already killed countless hours in meetings. A small plaque marks his resting place.

There are all kinds of fun Halloween rumors about Ohio State. Google "ohio state university haunt" and find them yourself.

Nor has anyone publicly claimed to have seen the ghost of Jeffrey Dahmer - not that you'd find his ghost all that terrifying. Dahmer was a tall, blond, good-looking guy. He was also a smooth talker.

He took classes here at OSU for a quarter after murdering two men in Bath township. Then he moved to Milwaukee, where he drugged, strangled, raped and ate 15 more young men over five years. A fellow inmate killed Dahmer in a Wisconsin prison in 1994.

But no one really needs to fear the ghost of Jeffrey Dahmer. Ghosts just scare people - they don't eat them.

In an ever-changing community of more than 50,000 people, there's a fair chance another resident of our fair university shares Dahmer's muderous hunger.

Maybe it's someone you met in your biology lab who was particularly handy with a scalpel. Maybe its someone who bought you a drink at Old School. Maybe it's the guy staring at the back of your head right now.

Maybe it's someone you know - just not as well as you thought you did.

Happy Halloween.

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