GHOSTS OF THE PRAIRIE
According to the Marquette Tribune and Rick Hendrick's page on Weird Wisconsin, Marquette University in Milwaukee has a few "school spirits" of their own!
There are a number of alleged haunted spots on campus, but perhaps the most famous is its East Hall. This building was once a YMCA and is said to be home to a ghostly boy who has been nicknamed "Whispering Willie". Legends sat that Willie was once a young boy who drowned in the swimming pool here and since that time has been seen swimming alongside solitary students who are doing laps in the Rec Plex pool. In addition, he is often blamed for any of the unexplained events that occur in the building. They say that his ghost is known for opening and closing doors, turning lights on an off, unrolling toilet paper in empty stalls and of course, (which earned him his namesake) repeating in whispers what people are saying.
Ghostly tales began to be told at Johnston Hall in the 1960's. According to the legends, two Jesuits committed suicide from the fifth floor balcony of the building and have been haunting the place ever since. Students have reported seeing pale faces of two figures in fifth floor windows, have experienced plunging temperatures, unexplained footsteps and voices, and say that cameras or other recording equipment frequently fail to work. Two years ago newspaper staff spent the night on the fifth floor and according to their stories, captured a "strange human figure" on film and heard voices that they could not explain.
Or could the building have been haunted long before the two Jesuit's deaths? The stories also say that the spirit of a Native American man also haunts the basement and lower levels of the building. He is said to be angry about the fact that Johnston Hall sits atop land that was once used as a burial ground for the Mascountens tribe. This ghost's appearances are always accompanied by extreme cold and a pale blue light.
Cobeen Hall is another reportedly haunted spot on campus. According to the Marquette Tribune, "The ghost is an art critic. If he likes the room's occupants, he leaves them alone; if he dislikes the residents, he tears down any posters they try to hang."
Across the street is Tower Hall, a former hotel in the 1950s. One day when the hotel was still in operation, a fire swept through the building and killed a young boy of about seven or eight. The stories say that this boy is seen every few years, peering out the windows or calling for help from people on the street below.
The Varsity Theatre down the street features a lurid tale, wrote Michael McGraw in his article in the Marquette Tribune. A projector operator once took a smoking break near a large ventilation fan in a hallway off the balcony. Somehow his clothing was caught up in the rapidly rotating fan and the young man was sliced to pieces. He's never seen (thankfully), but often renders help, turning on lights and locking doors workers forget to latch.
Marquette's Humphrey Hall served as the Milwaukee Children's Hospital until 1988, when it was converted into campus housing. The upper floors of the building were renovated but the lobby downstairs remains virtually the same as it was back when it was a hospital. In fact, the bakery in the lobby fronts the former emergency room doors, which remain closed to students and staff alike. And while the living do not walk past them, perhaps the dead do?
The most famous ghost of the building is that of a little girl in a white hospital gown who wanders about on the fifth floor. She walks about, lost in her own world, but if she suspects that she is seen by one of the students who lives here, she runs away. She then vanishes around a corner or into a room, even passing through a solid door. In addition to this little ghost, loud screams and the crying of children can often be heard in the night and sometimes disturb the sleep of the building's current residents. Public Safety officers never find anything out of the ordinary in response to calls , nor can they ever find a trace of another young girl who sometimes appears on video security cameras monitoring the building's rear entrance.
© Copyright 2001 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
Sources: Weird Wisconsin and "Campus Haunts," Michael McGraw, Marquette Tribune, Wednesday, October 25, 2000
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