The University of Alabama
Violence. Death. Destruction. When you walk onto the campus of the University of Alabama, you are walking into a place where gunfights, riots, and war have left a number of phantoms behind to haunt the hallways and grounds of the U of A.
The U of A opened its doors to the public in 1831, having about 100 students. Since its inception, the university had disciplinary problems, with gunfights on the grounds not being all that uncommon. After 29 years of trouble, the school was transformed into a military academy, and just in time to train soldiers for the Civil War. Some say that in April of 1865, a Union soldier came onto campus to sign a treaty. When he entered the cadet guardhouse, now known as Jason’s Shrine or as The Little Round House, he was beaten, tortured and murdered. Another version of the story is that when Union troops were marching to the university–specifically to burn it down–two confederate soldiers stayed behind to kill a few Yankees. When three Federal soldiers asked one of the young cadets where to find some whiskey, he told them to go into the small structure. Lying in wait was the second southern cadet who shot the three soldiers when they entered the building. If you put your ear up to the door, you can sometimes hear soldiers prowling for whiskey. On a foggy night, some say the spirits of soldiers can be seen marching through the quad to an unknown spectral destination.
Smith Hall has also had some spooky incidents reported from within. Some say that they have heard Dr. Smith’s carriage, which is exhibited on the main floor, careen through the building, the sound of wheels and horses coming out of nowhere. Footsteps also have been heard entering the upstairs classrooms and the sounds of a ghostly lecture coming from a classroom at night. One night, a few students tried to catch what they thought was an intruder in the building. They followed the voices to a classroom, and when they entered the room, the once lined-up rows of desks were scattered. They later discovered that a boiler explosion had killed a number of students who were in the room years before. In the basement, students have complained of feeling watched while working in the lab. An assistant was pushed into a closet one night and locked in. When he tried to open the closet door, it would not release him until morning. From then on, he ignored any out of the ordinary sounds, all interest in investigation had been sucked out of him.
The most common complaint students have is microwaves starting, stopping and making strange noises, even when the microwave is unplugged. Photos are developed showing light orbs floating through them, and footsteps are heard at night. Some say that a girl committed suicide by lighting herself on fire on the 13th floor of Tutwiler Hall. Shadowy forms of people have been spotted speeding through the halls.
Gorgas Library still entertains the ghost of its namesake, Amelia Gayle Gorgas and the Music Library is haunted by a man in black who wanders the stacks, sometimes touching people looking through materials. Hoole Special Collections Library has an elevator that will still occasionally drop off ghostly riders when the power has been turned off.
Even Tennessee Williams has a part of the hauntings at the University. Marian Gallaway, the theater director during the mid-twentieth century, has been sighted in white on the stage in her theater in Rowand-Johnson Hall. Marian’s husband had left her to pursue a romance with Tennessee Williams, and Williams supposedly used Marian as the inspiration for Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.
The students of the University of Alabama have a lot more “school spirit” than they may have bargained for.