Kansas State University
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.