Campus News

Bowdoin Featured in New Book of Ghost Stories

Story posted July 02, 2002

Are "denizens of the other side" roaming the Bowdoin campus?

Stories that Bowdoin College is haunted have circulated among students, faculty and staff for years. The belief continues to garner support through reports of mysterious goings-on in campus buildings. Now these tales have been featured in the new book Ghosts of the Northeast (Aurora Publications 2002) by historian and numerologist David J. Pitkin.

Bowdoin is featured in the book's chapter on school and college ghosts, with the spotlight on Adams Hall, "The Old Medical School." It's not surprising that tales center on that particular building, as even today the "great hook" used to hoist cadavers from the cellar to the upstairs dissection labs can still be seen hanging from the ceiling. Intrepid ghost hunters need to climb to the top floor, and go to the end of an art studio to find the spot.

The book recounts the experience of a Bowdoin custodian who had fallen down a flight of stairs at Adams. When the EMTs arrived by ambulance to transport him to the hospital, the custodian reported he had been alone, "then pushed from behind by an invisible force."

While the EMTs may have thought their patient was nuts, security officers in Rhodes Hall gave each other knowing looks as they filed their report. For them, this was just one more incident to add to "a long list of unexplained situations."

The book speculates that perhaps "energies or personalities linger from those Medical School days."

One person who won't dispute the evidence is Assistant Director of Security Louann Dustin Hunter, who was interviewed for Pitkin's book. According to Louann, security personnel always take pains to warn new officers about Adams and its history of mysterious goings-on. Lights go off for no reason. Vacuum cleaners mysteriously shut off--when no one but the housekeeper using it is in the building.

She recalls an incident in 1993 when the latest security rookie to be warned took great offense when strange happenings occurred in Adams during his patrol. He was convinced his colleagues had been the perpetrators, just to give him a scare for fun. "Until the day he left the department," Louann says in the book, "he couldn't believe we had nothing to do with the lights going off."

Students have their own stories about Adams' ghosts. Tina Nadeau '01 reported to the Orient that their study group, who met in Adams' "sub-space" (the old Medical School morgue), saw a strange mass of bluish-white light hovering about a foot above the floor and moving back and forth across the doorway. According to Pitkin, thousands of people have reported seeing similar bluish lights at haunted sites.

Louann points to other Bowdoin buildings that may be haunted as well, singling out Hubbard Hall as "the freakiest building on campus." She tells a story about a fellow officer who was doing his post-midnight rounds in Hubbard. He had checked throughout the entire building, secured all doors, and extinguished the lights. Just as he was about to leave, he heard a voice behind him call out "Hello." Surprised, he called back in response but got no reply. Determined to find the person, he went back through the whole building, unlocking and relocking doors, and checking all rooms. He found no one. Convinced the building was empty, he once again shut off the lights and headed for the exit. And once again, from the deep recesses of the building, came a mysterious "Hello."

According to Louann, the shaken officer decided "he had checked enough"!

David Pitkin is also the author of Saratoga County Ghosts and Spiritual Numerology: Caring for Number One. Read more about the author by clicking here.

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