The window on Ropp Hall’s fourth floor that is rumored to peek into an allegedly haunted dorm room. Photo by: Kasey Myers
By Kasey Myers
Whether it’s “Sandra” in Musselman library or the ghost of Ropp Hall, most Bluffton students have heard at least one spooky story involving the paranormal on campus.
“Sometimes I would hear footsteps in the hallway and there was no one there. I’d get so freaked out that I would have to stop what I was doing and go back to my room,” said junior Megan Good.
The first recorded campus ghost story dates back to 1930. This story was recorded in the campus newspaper of the time and outlines a ghost sighting in the belfry of College Hall.
According to Carrie Phillips, Bluffton University’s archives and special collections librarian, the roots of these legends can be found in the history of the university itself.
“When I came to Bluffton as a student in the fall of 1995, the story was that a student who lived on fourth in Old Ropp was stood up for a date, and she was so angry that she threw her dress into a storage room on that floor,” Phillips said. “And then the dress would occasionally be seen ‘floating’ around the floor.”
However, the legend has changed over time.
“There are two stories I’ve been told,” explained junior Kim Meyer. “There was a rumor of a girl who hung herself. They say if you stand on Adams bridge and look through the little circular window you can still see her body hanging. There’s another story of a girl who was contemplating suicide and doused the room in gasoline. But she changed her mind at the last second and ran out, leaving her roommate behind.”
“I’ve been in the room and it looks like it was either burned or someone decided to tear it to shreds,” Meyer added.
“I am not aware of and cannot confirm any such deaths in Ropp,” Phillips said of the tale. However, Phillips did confirm there have been fires in Ropp Hall.
“There was a fire (arson, set by a resident of that floor) on second Ropp Addition in September of 1998 from which there were injuries but no deaths,” said Phillips.
Phillips also described a residential fire on campus that was tragically fatal in 1978. However this tragedy occurred in Bren-Dell Hall, rather than Ropp Hall.
Significantly more information is available regarding “Sandra” the library ghost.
“Sometime within the last 10 years, the library received a large book donation from someone named Sandra,” said Phillips. “The books had a lot of margin notes, and library staff and student workers spent some time erasing those notes before books were added to the library collections or placed in the book sale. Staff soon started to notice lights on in the building, even after both staff and security confirmed those lights had been turned off on rounds. Staff attributed these lights to Sandra, being upset that her notes were being erased.”
The library’s student workers have adopted Sandra as an explanation for a wide variety of library mishaps.
“Sometimes the lights flicker or something happens with the circulation system and we blame it on her,” said sophomore library worker Alicia Loch.
Although spooky stories are often passed down from generation to generation for entertainment, students are encouraged to be wary.
“All ghost stories come from real stories somehow,” said Meyer.