Stories to Tell in the Dark
Real or not, Westminster has its fair share of haunting encounters
by Johanna Snow (MSC ’14)
At 143 years old, Westminster is steeped in history and tradition—and its fair share of creepy mythology. Whether you’re a Parson or a Griffin, you’ve probably heard stories of Westminster’s unearthly residents. Perhaps you’ve even had your own spine-chilling encounter with the wailing lady who roams Emigration Creek and disturbs Nunemaker Place. Or maybe you’ve heard the mischievous giggles of the little boy who haunts Hogle Hall. Over the years, stories of these apparitions have been a topic of late-night, dorm discussion and have even attracted the media and ghost hunters to campus.
Some of the most hair-raising stories come from campus patrol officers, who are tasked with touring campus facilities every night. Joe Ferrari, director of campus scheduling, started his 23-year career at Westminster as a campus patrol officer. He has more than a few tales of mysterious nocturnal happenings—most notably, his ghostly encounter in Nunemaker. One night when he was on patrol, he noticed the lights in the building were on.
“This was after the custodians had left,” Joe explains. “Nobody should have been in the building.” Joe and his patrol partner went in through the main entrance, locking the door behind them. They swept the building top to bottom and confirmed that it was empty. “We were standing in the middle of the room—neither one of us anywhere near a light switch—and all the lights in the building just turned off,” he explains. The lights went on and off again. He chuckles a little as he says, “We couldn’t get out of the building fast enough.”
Campus has another infamous ghost: a legless boy in coveralls who roams Hogle Hall, making mischief and playing with the water fountains. Political science major Marley Dominguez (’21) tells a compelling story of this entity. One night, she and her boyfriend, Nick (a University of Utah student), fell asleep while watching a movie in her room. Several hours later, she was roused by a visibly shaken Nick. He told her he’d dreamt of a little boy’s funeral, then awakened with a profound sense of sadness to see a boy without legs sitting on Marley’s chair.
Theatre alum Chris Eggett (’16), audiovisual coordinator and network engineer for the college (and ghost skeptic), has his own stories to tell. Chris began his tenure at Westminster as a campus patrol officer. He’s heard all the stories and says most of them can be explained. Cries for help by the creek are actually the peacocks across the street, and possessed water fountains are just stuck on due to hard-water–clogged buttons. But there’s one experience he can’t explain: one night while he was patrolling Converse Hall, he heard a scratching noise emanating from one of the offices on the top floor. He went to investigate. “I opened the door, and there was this dark entity,” he explains. “It just passed by me. The best I can describe it is it’s about three feet, and it was there but not there.” To this day, Chris is at a loss to explain what he saw and heard.
We’ll leave it to you to decide whether Westminster is truly haunted. But as Halloween approaches, if you find yourself on campus after sunset, you might want to hurry to your car just a little quicker than normal.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.