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Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

Kansas State University, known affectionately as K-state, was founded in 1858 with only 53 enrolled. Today, its elegant, castle-like campus is home to over 23,000 students. The football stadium especially is beautifully constructed, housing The Purple Masque Theatre on its east side.

As if the name isn’t eerie enough, the theater is said to be haunted by a ghost named Nick. The mischievous spirit has yet to be seen, though his voice was once allegedly recorded on tape. He is believed to have been a Kansas State football player in the 1950’s, when the theater was used for athletics. The story tells that he had been injured after a brutal tackle during practice and brought into the building’s cafeteria, where a coach later found him dead.  There is dispute over what had actually killed Nick, as some claim it was from “intuitive shock” after both of his parents died in a car accident on their way to see him play. Legend says the reason he stays behind in the theater is to wait for their return.

In the meantime, the deceased jock seems to enjoy picking on the living theater geeks. Mysterious music, anonymous footsteps and shoulder taps, clanging pipes, and the constant moving of objects and chairs are some of the freaky events for which Nick is deemed responsible. At one point, a fire extinguisher appeared to spray everywhere on its own. While séances were held and TV documentaries made in attempt to contact the young phantom, there is no actual record of any football player by the name of Nick. It is likely that his story came from those of the other two football players who died at Kansas State: Bobby Mayer and John Holden.

The second famous ghost of Kansas State hangs around the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house. Known as Duncan, he died during a hazing when the house was still occupied by the Theta Xi fraternity. The initiation required all members to be paddled, but Duncan stood up suddenly and was fatally whacked in the head instead. When Phi Gamma Delta overtook the building around 1965, they changed the storage room into a library, but hung the paddle labeled with Duncan’s name on the wall. This was eventually removed, but its image reappeared on the wall as a dark stain. It reappeared through multiple paint coats as well, and eventually the brothers paneled the wall.

Like most colleges, the Kansas State campus used to include a hospital building. St. Mary’s was changed to the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity house, gaining two ghosts in the process. The first is known as George, an elderly patient who, during the hospital’s closing down, fell off his bed and died trapped there by the wall. His spirit proved to be nothing more than a nuisance, until an enormous ice storm in 1973 blacked out the entire street’s power for days. The only exception was at 4:00 pm every day, when the house’s TV would turn on to play one rerun of Star Trek before going black again. The only explanation was that George had been a fan of the show.

The second ghost was a nurse who had fallen down an elevator shaft, injured her legs, and bled to death. Since then, her ghost walked through the hallways, medicine tray and candle in hand, looking for any patients in need of her care. The stories become even more far-fetched, as Kansas State claims to be haunted by a boy who hanged himself in the file room, and a girl who was electrocuted after dropping her hairdryer in the bathtub. Clearly, it’s not just the living students that incoming freshman have to worry about.

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hottie says:

October 31, 2005, 1:57 pm

my music teacher told me about this guy. he said he’s not mean, but he just kind of tricks u. like he moves stuff around.

allen says:

January 29, 2006, 7:31 pm

how did he get such a nasty hit that he died all of a sutton or was he badly injured and died a few hours later

kelly says:

May 27, 2006, 3:52 pm

na i dont belive that story

stephanie says:

June 8, 2006, 3:11 pm

i wounder how long ago was this well email me and let me konw i belave in this storys cause they r real laters

Eli says:

July 27, 2006, 2:43 pm

i for a fact know this one is true my dad and all his brothers went to k-state, and one time we were in manhattan, my dad gave me a tour of the campus. he dident say a word when, we were walking on to the old football staduim, i got a serious case of goose bumps, i looked to the side and saw this gated off hallway and my dad told me that is were they rushed a football player that end up dieing of his injys. then a couple of months later they had all the chair set up for a concert and some guy walked into the room alone,and people herd a hudge eruption of chairs crashing all over, and when they went in there the guy was hudeled in the corner and wouldent talk when he recoverd, he told the story of some kind of goast or force, tossing all the chairs accross the room
and ever seince then it has been closed

angel says:

August 9, 2006, 6:31 pm


Wilk says:

August 17, 2006, 5:47 pm

Which building was/is the Purple Mask Theatre in? Is it the new Theatre in Nichols Gym? I don’t recall it being in McCain. Anybody remind me.

Wilk says:

August 17, 2006, 5:50 pm

Whwn was this supposed to have happened?

chris says:

August 19, 2006, 12:55 pm

can anyone tell me how far away manhattan is from wichita?

Ellen says:

August 21, 2006, 1:48 am

Wichita in less than 3 hours from KSU. I also know for a fact that this ghost story is true. The Purple Theatre is actually located in “Old Stadium” (the all limestone stadium on the corner of Anderson and Denison that is now a soccer field.) I had very good friend…who was also rather quiet and would NEVER lie, come back to our sorority house sheet white and in tears. Apparently she was walking through the stadium with her boyfriend when they both stopped as they heard a clicking sound coming down a hall. When they turned around, they saw the back of man in antique style football pads, clicking his kleets down the hall. This was the same hallway they rushed “Nick” the football player down in his last moments. He is said to haunt the stadium, which at one time had a Theatre in it called the Purple Mask. There are a ton more hauntings I personally know about at KSU if anyone is interested, I went there for 4 years.

Jazmine Martinez says:

August 30, 2006, 10:16 pm


Carl says:

September 20, 2006, 2:06 am

Here’s an elaboration of the story (I lived in Manhattan for 20 years, and my mom was a KSU professor). Nick’s parents were on their way to the game and were killed in a car wreck. Nick himself was injured on the football field and died soon after. Nick’s ghost paces the halls, waiting for the parents to arrive at the game. Crazy stuff.

kristin says:

September 26, 2006, 5:34 pm

Does anyone know of any other haunted locations at KState? I’ve heard about Pi Phi Polly which is about a girl who was either killed or murdered in the old Pi Beta Phi house (which is now Lambda Chi Alpha.) And I’ve heard the story about Gamma Phi Beta and the chicken nuggets and all that. Anything else exciting?

BlackSheep says:

October 5, 2006, 3:49 pm

I would like to hear move stories from Ellen….it’s been a while so I will check back. Always love to hear a good ghost story.

keys says:

October 28, 2006, 11:10 pm

Does ne one know about ne hauntings around the JC area besides ft. riley?? I recently went to a house n got some pics.. the results are pretty interesting. I want to do some kind of research on the house so i can get my facts.

JacinB says:

December 20, 2006, 4:23 pm

After a bit of historical research into this, there are elements of the story that are true, but many more that appear to be ‘embellished’ over time.

In the 1950s, there were two K-State football players who died. Bob Mayer, a junior fullback, died of polio. John M. Holden died after colliding with another player during a game of intramural football.

There is nothing that I can find, however, that tells of either of these players’ parents dying in a car accident while travelling to the game.

The Purple Masque is located under Memorial Stadium’s eastern stands.

Andria says:

December 27, 2006, 6:46 pm

well i am not for sure about that story it sounds kinda made up or something but who really knows maybe people should go there and play football or something and see what happens maybe it will play to. :)

Aaron says:

June 18, 2007, 12:06 am

This actually is a true story. I have heard of a couple eyewitness accounts of “Nick”

galena says:

July 29, 2007, 12:51 pm

hey, i would love to hear some more ghosts stories also about k-state. email me please!

Jodan says:

September 23, 2007, 5:46 pm

Memorial Stadium? Really???? I don’t believe this is true. First of all, my brother used to play lacrosse in Memorial Stadium for the three years that he attended KSU. Never once did he say anything to me, and usually he is the one in the family who both experiences these types of things (though not very many) and likes to talk about these sorts of things. He would be there both late at night and during the day, and never ever saw a thing.

Secondly, I have been in Memorial Stadium countless times myself, both attending lacrosse games and other times during my adventures at KSU. I have been in both sides of the stadium, both with family and by myself, and I have never gotten chills, or seen anything at all concerning ghostly happenings. The only relatively unsettling thing that I had seen there, and wasn’t so much unsettling as it is cute, was one really ticked off chihuahua. I don’t know what people have seen, but I really don’t think it is a ghost.

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