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HAUNTED KANSAS

THE GHOSTS OF KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY

MANHATTAN, KANSAS


Like many other colleges all across the country, Kansas State University has its own share of ghosts, phantoms and tales of things that go bump in the night. It seems that it must be a prerequisite that all colleges must have a haunted theater, a haunted fraternity house and at least one coed that has committed suicide or has been murdered...
Well, Kansas State University has them all.... and then some!

One of the colleges most famous haunted spots is the Purple Masque Theater, which is located on the main floor of the East Stadium on campus. The theater is alleged to be haunted by a mischievous spirit named Nick, who has never been seen, although his voice has been recorded on tape. It is believed that the ghost is that of an ex-football player who died in the building in the 1950's, when it was still used as an athletic center. He was injured one day during a practice and brought into the building, where he died soon after. His playful spirit has been here ever since, stomping up and down hallways, on staircases and on the theater stage. He also moves chairs and hides theater props at night but he is most famous for the levitation's! Wooden boxes that have been stacked in the dressing room have jumped to the floor and then re-stacked themselves... before the startled eyes of several witnesses. There is also a report of a fire extinguisher that was seen spinning around in mid-air, spraying white foam as it traveled.

Another haunted spot is the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house. The house is believed to be haunted by the spirit of Duncan, a former student who died in the house while it was occupied by the Theta Xi fraternity. He death was said to occur during an initiation ceremony when the pledges were bending over to be paddled. When it came to be Duncan's turn, he stood up suddenly and was accidentally struck in the head. It was said that the blow was a fatal one and he died a short time later.
The first reports of Duncan's ghost came in 1965, shortly after Phi Gamma Delta bought the house. The room where Theta Xi had stored their paddles was converted into a library and two paddles were left hanging on the wall.... one of which had Duncan's name on it.
The new fraternity brothers removed the paddles and painted the walls, but mysteriously an image of the paddle which bore Duncan's names kept appearing on the wall as a dark stain. Finally, they ended up paneling the wall.
In the years that have passed, reports of encounters with Duncan continue to be collected. The sound of phantom footsteps are common... as are lights flickering on and off and doorknobs being turned on their own. A quick check in the hallway always reveals that no one of this world is present in the corridor.

Located in the old St. Mary's Hospital building is the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. When they moved into the building many years ago, they found that something had been left behind by the previous tenants... two resident ghosts! The building was haunted by a former patient and a long forgotten night nurse.
The patient had been the last person to die in the hospital and his death was a strange one. As the place was closing down, the elderly patients were moved to a new hospital. The patient somehow rolled off his bed and was trapped between it and the wall. When a nurse checked the third-floor room, he thought the room was empty and the old man died there that same night. The new tenants of the house have never seen the patient, but they have heard him. He pounds up and down the third floor hallway at night, turns lights on and off and generally makes himself a nuisance. He is apparently also a fan of the TV show Star Trek.
One night in 1973, an ice storm knocked out all of the power on the street for a number of days. Somehow, every afternoon at 4:00 pm, the television would turn on and play a rerun of an old Star Trek episode. No other house on the street had electricity and there was no explanation how this worked!
And what about the nurse? Well, she isn't there anymore. Until the late 1960's, the nurse walked the first floor halls of the old hospital late at night, carrying a medicine tray in one hand and a candle in the other. One day, she just never came back again.... maybe she realized that the new occupants of the building no longer required her care!

The Kappa Sigma fraternity house is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a boy who hanged himself in the file room. Since his suicide, residents have heard all sorts of strange sounds, particularly the sound of someone jumping off the roof. They have often heard the sounds, but never find a living person to whom they can be attributed.
The ghost here is also sometimes seen! One night, while playing cards, one of the residents heard a strange sound upstairs. He left the first floor room where the poker game was being held and saw a white haze (which he presumed to be a ghost) appear at the top of the staircase. His companions saw nothing, arriving too late to his summons, and a search of the house revealed no one else inside.

Kansas State University is located in Manhattan, which can be found in the central portion of the state. The Delta Sigma Phi house is at 1100 Fremont Street; the Kappa Sigma house is in the northwestern part of the city, as is the Phi Gamma Delta house.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

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