Have you ever been walking around campus — without headphones in — and heard a whisper from the Wolf Ears when no one is around? Maybe you’ve seen the motion light in your suite bathroom turn on when no one else is home. Maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe it was one of the ghosts that are said to haunt NC State’s campus.
Tim Peeler, de facto campus historian for all things pop culture and a communication strategist at NC State University Relations, has documented some of these ghost stories and urban legends and has taken his time to make them available to students who are interested to know what may creep in the dark.
Peeler described the untimely death of a student after falling off of a ladder at the Yarbrough smokestack in 1989. This death led to urban legends around campus for years of students falling into the smokestack and dying.
The Nightmare on Crybaby Lane
This ghost story begins with the ghost of a road and a building. The remnants Crybaby Lane and the Nazareth Orphanage, which was also a seminary, were buried when Centennial Boulevard was constructed. There are rumors that continue to circulate of the sounds of wailing babies coming from the area. These rumors likely stem from three fires at the orphanage. However, no children died in these fires, but one of the seminary students did. Maybe this ghost is just due to an active imagination.
As Above, So Below in the Steam Tunnels
Maybe you can blame this one on the Satanic Panic of the ‘80s, or maybe some rituals in the steam tunnels that run through campus brought about some evil spirits. The steam tunnels, though off limits for students, became a place of gathering for a group of students in the ‘80s to play the tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons. Some of the members of the steam tunnel D&D group plotted a murder in a restaurant on Western Boulevard in 1988 and carried it out, which led to two books and a television miniseries based on the crime.
The Haunting of Spring Hill House
Spring Hill House still sits on Centennial Campus and is registered as a historic building. For a historic building, it’s not as peaceful as one would expect. There are several claims of wailing babies that come from the house, with police having to be called out for motion sensor disruptions at night.
In 1918, Winslow Hall was used as an infirmary for people infected with the Spanish flu. Over 450 cases were treated in Winslow, with 13 people dying. One of these was Eliza Riddick, a nurse treating patients at the infirmary who also happened to be the niece of W.C. Riddick, the school’s president. Riddick and the others who died in the infirmary are said to still wreak havoc overnight, leaving papers on the floor and wandering the halls looking for patients to treat.
Close Encounters of the Holladay Kind
In 1889, a fire of unknown origin broke out in Holladay Hall, destroying some of the woodwork. Later that year, when the building was being replastered, one man would stay overnight with a lantern to keep arsonists from destroying the hall again. Every so often, he is said to return to his nightly spot to watch for intruders. He might be there now. Maybe you should go look in the windows, or maybe not. He may think you’re an intruder or campus security might.
It seems fraternity initiations have always been secretive. However, one scream king won’t keep quiet about his initiation. Allegedly, if you stand on the bridge on Pullen Road that runs over the railroad tracks, you can still hear his screams as he was literally scared to death during his initiation.
The next time you hear a knock on your suite door and see no one there or see someone walking through the bookstacks at D.H. Hill Jr. Library — because we know no one really uses those — keep your mind open because the answer may be creepier than you’d expect.