oldest town in Texas has its fair share of the paranormal. Stephen
F. Austin State University is allegedly home to numerous spooks.
The Turner Fine Arts Auditorium at SFA has more than fine art
in the building. A ghost named Chester is believed to haunt the building.
Chester is believed to be the ghost of the architect who died before
the building's completion. It is said that Chester misinterpreted
the blueprints, and the building was erected backwards. After learning
his plans were backwards, the legend says Chester took his own life
in disgrace. Chester’s believers think the architectural mistake is
likely the motivating factor in the haunting.
Others believe that "Chester" is the ghost of a former SFA drama student.
Students have reported seeing Chester’s face on a stage curtain. During
the 1960’s witnesses say Chester appeared onstage as an extra ghost
in a play.
SFA drama students have reported strange noises within the halls of
the building, as well as intensely cold spots.
Chester was seen originally in a photo of the original theatre cast
of Hamlet. The actor who was cast as the “ghost” in Hamlet fell ill
on opening night. The director replaced the actor with a stand-in.
After the play, the cast took a photo. The photo allegedly shows only
a faint glow coming from where the ghost portraying the character
was standing. Cast members were shocked.
A spiritual team entered the theatre building to do a reading. The
team reported a mediocre feeling within the halls, but asserted a
strong feeling of a presence within the theatre itself.
Mays Hall 11 at SFA is also said to be haunted, and students
are baffled by an indescribable negativity, that is said to overwhelm
those who dare enter. -
Before the building was a dormitory, it was a hospital, with a morgue
in the basement. At the opposite end of the basement is a deep bomb
shelter that was built in the early 1940’s.
The Mays Hall basement is usually locked, but from time to time, it
is broken into by those who cannot resist the urge to explore. The
basement reportedly harbors heavy feelings of negativity. The ill
feeling is mild toward the old bomb shelter, but those who have wandered
the old morgue say the feeling intensifies the closer one comes to
a false wall within the basement.
No one knows what is behind the mysterious false wall, and no one
has identified the presence that seems to be projecting such negativity.
Although college students often go exploring in areas that are off
limits, none have been reported to be so brave as to inspect the false
wall, or what might be behind it.
Students speculate that someone who died in the hospital, or perhaps
someone who was stored in the morgue is unhappy and haunting the building.
On the third floor of Griffith Hall residents claim to be haunted
by a former resident assistant, who allegedly leapt to her death after
playing with a Ouija board. The community shower lights reportedly
flicker every night at the same time, which is believed to be the
female spirit’s time of death.
A girl in tattered clothes has been spotted at the end of the hall,
but when residents do a double take, the girl is gone.
According to residents who have either lived in Griffith Hall or stayed
in the dorm, at approximately 2 a.m. every night in the south wing
running footsteps can be heard. One resident reported watching out
of the peephole of her dorm room as she heard the running footsteps
approaching. Though she did not see anything or anyone pass by, she
felt a gust of cold air rush under her door, just as if someone had
SFA and its deeply rooted history, has been keeping students busy
hunting ghosts for decades. Those who are not ghost hunting are likely
© Dana Goolsby
23, 2010 Column
Reporter of The Grapeland Messenger
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