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Mystery of CSU History Tour tells history, ghost stories

ram-rumble

Oftentimes, students take the campus for granted. However, Colorado State University’s historic buildings have a haunted past.

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For the last three years, RamTrax has hosted the Mystery of CSU History Tour to teach the community about CSU’s colorful history, as well as the campus’ ghost stories and urban legends.

“We talk about the Land-Grant Act, first years on campus and the buildings surrounding the Oval,” Jennifer Lobermeier, RamTrax program coordinator, stated in an email. “While all the historical information is true, the myths and legends may be more fictional than fact. But in all, the tour is showcasing our awesome history.”

One of the toured buildings is Student Services. Built in 1948, this is the second most haunted CSU building, according to tour guide Majerle Simpler, a CSU sophomore studying anthropology. The building was originally Braiden Hall, the men’s residence hall. However, during construction, architect Eugene Groves was committed to an insane asylum. Rumor has it that Groves intended to kill his wife in his building.

“The question is, ‘Did [Groves] leave his building behind?'” Simpler asked.

The layout of the building is full of oddities. Many of the Student Services passages are very narrow; Simpler said students had to bring furniture in through the windows when they moved into the residence hall because doorways were too small. Student Services also has stairways that lead to nowhere and doors that open to walls.

A sign on a door in the basement of the Student Services building. The door leads into a wall and staff have no idea how the sign came to be there. It is a stop on the History and Mystery of CSU Tour. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)
A sign on a door in the basement of the Student Services building warns faculty and students. The door opens to a wall and staff have no idea how the sign came to be there. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)

Simpler said in 2013, a Colorado ghost hunters chapter investigated Student Services. The ghost hunters asked spirits to communicate by clicking a flashlight on and off. Although the ghost hunters took out the batteries, the flashlight mysteriously turned on. The ghost hunters determines that the entity is a friendly spirit named Donny who knew Groves.

Some believe Student Services is still haunted. During Mystery of CSU History tours, Simpler said orbs have been photographed in the building.

Anthropology sophomore, Majerle Simpler, talks about some of the buildings on campus that are not in existance any longer. The CSU timeline is inside Johnson Hall. Simper gave the History and Mystery of CSU tour Monday. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)
Tour guide Majerle Simpler, a sophomore anthropology student, talks about the buildings on campus that no longer exist. The CSU timeline is inside Johnson Hall. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)

Another stop on the tour is Johnson Hall, the original student center which included a cafeteria and game rooms. Johnson Hall no longer has the stage in the ballroom, but the backstage is still decorated with playbills on the walls and ceiling. Simpler said people have reported hearing female voices singing and the footsteps of dancers backstage. A faculty member reported being punched in the gut twice in the building.

The backstage are of Johnson Hall still has old performance posters from when the building was used as a theater. It is a stop on the History and Mystery of CSU Tour. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)
The backstage are of Johnson Hall still has old performance posters from when the building was used as a theater. It is a stop on the Mystery of CSU History Tour. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)

One of the historic campus sites visited is the Oval. This was designed in 1918 by President Charles Lory to centralize the campus, which previously had randomly-placed buildings. The Oval was also the site of old campus traditions. Simpler said men would take their girlfriends to the stoplight on Laurel Street to kiss at midnight. The girlfriends would agree to kiss until the stoplight turned green, not knowing that the stoplight stayed red from midnight to 6 a.m.

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Another Oval tradition was lover’s lane. It was considered good luck for couples to walk across the Oval. Mystery of CSU History Tour attendants Nate and Kelli Clark were married in the Oval in 2011.

“It was a big wedding and we needed a place to fit [all the attendants],” Kelli Clark said, adding that they chose the Oval because they thought it was a beautiful spot.

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Nate and Kelli Clark stand in the Oval during the Mystery of CSU History Tour. The couple were married in the Oval in 2011. (Photo credit: Megan Fischer)

Simpler said the most haunted building on campus is Ammons Hall. The building was originally the women’s recreation center and included an indoor pool and gymnasium. A woman supposedly drowned in the swimming pool, and people have reported seeing wet footprints in Ammons Hall. Custodians have reported their vacuum cords coming undone and being pushed by ghosts.

Lobermeier said while touring Ammons Hall, a light mysteriously turned on upstairs even though no one was there. Lobermeier also heard growling and a giggling girl from opposite sides of the room and footsteps upstairs.

Simpler said paranormal investigators have visited Ammons Hall. Investigators have been pinched in Ammons Hall and found red marks on their bodies. This is another location where many photograph orbs in the building. When electronic voice phenomenon sessions have been conducted in Ammons Hall, investigators have detected footsteps, as well as a friendly presence and a demonic presence. Simpler said the demonic presence may be responsible for the growling.

Collegian Interactive News Team Member Katie Schmidt can be reached at socialmedia@collegian.com or on Twitter @KatieDSchmidt.

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