The entrance of the Trahern Building was decorated for the tour. RALPH ACOSTA | THE ALL STATE
The land that Austin Peay State University sits on has a long, complicated history, home to at least five colleges along with previous residences and other buildings.
Because of this rich history, APSU is a prime locale for ghost stories and other alleged paranormal appearances. Some believe, and some don’t. These stories make for plenty of entertainment and discussion, especially around Halloween.
APSU’s Adult, Nontraditional and Transfer Student Center teamed up with the Govs Programming Council to organize a tour of campus, The Hauntings of Austin Peay Spooky Tour. They were held on the night of Oct. 20 from 7-8:30 p.m.
The tours were split into two groups with either Ashley Kautz or Jennifer Lindahl FROM the ANTS Center.
The idea came from Transfer Student Leaders, who were eager to take advantage of APSU’s many ghost stories in order to create an inclusive event showcasing campus lore.
“When planning Transfer Orientation, the TSLs recognized how many ghost stories are tied to campus. This sparked the idea that we should host an event where we showcase campus lore,” Kautz said.
The guided tours stopped at four locations: the Trahern Building, the Woodward Library, the Morgan University Center and Harned Hall. Every stop involved different story and some included testimonies from long-time APSU staff.
“Beyond having fun, the goal of Spooky Tours is to increase institutional belonging. As a transfer student, it can be hard to make your new school ‘home.’ As a former transfer student, I struggled to make APSU my home and tied much of my collegiate experience to my first institution. The ANTS Center and TSLs hope to help recent transfer students make APSU their home,” Kautz said.
The story in the Trahern Building revolves around Margaret Dancy Fort, a former English professor here at APSU. Her son, Joseph B. Trahern Jr., was a major donor to the Trahern project. Margaret may have died in 1966, but it’s rumored her ghost haunts the third floor of the building.
Meanwhile, the Woodward Library is supposedly haunted by an unknown amount of unnamed soldiers. During the Civil War, the building there was used as a makeshift hospital for wounded and ill soldiers. Two sisters, Mary and Susan, were said to have served as nurses during this time. Now the pair, along with the ghosts of the soldiers who died there, are rumored to haunt the library’s basement.
The last building in the tour was Harned Hall. The building was a women’s dorm until the 1980s and a woman died tragically during this time. The story goes that she and two other ghosts haunt the building.
Sergeant Charyl Ramsey shared her own experience with Harned, saying that fire alarms kept randomly going off in Harned until she told the ghost to stop. She noted that one officer saw a ghost in a window and some officers don’t want to check Harned at night.
The night finished with ghost scares and free s’mores for attendees. The ANTS Center and the GPC plan to improve future tours to create a more immersive experience. “We hope to continue to grow this event to include more stops, speakers, and maybe a paranormal professional, like Lorraine Warren,” Kautz said.
She believes the event is inclusive and enjoyable for a diverse group of people. “Honestly, we have had staff, faculty, and students of all ages attend and enjoy this event. While I would say it’s especially beneficial to newer students, I think all would enjoy,” Kautz said.