A full moon shines over the allegedly haunted David Hall. Photo by John Hicks.
by Dana Simpkin
As Halloween approaches each year, old tales of paranormal happenings around Concordia resurface. Disembodied voices, flickering lights and footsteps heard from empty rooms are just a few of the reported experiences. The campus’s rich history dating back to its opening in 1894 lends itself to many speculations by students on the cause of such unexplainable events.
Concordia’s oldest building, Founders Hall, has been rumored to hold many stories of students long gone—or of those who never left. The upper levels are blocked off due to the weakening infrastructure of the building, though some believe that there is something more than rotting boards hiding behind the locked doors. The running footsteps and voices of two young children have been heard by those who frequent the theatre department’s set shop in the hall basement.
“The kids are really scared, so the other ghosts turn the attic light on so the kid ghosts aren’t scared at night. The Concordia ghosts are nice,” sophomore Joshua Brumm said.
Though Founders, Schulke Hall and Streiter Hall are all equally known for their age, the greatest array of ghostly experiences come from David Hall.
“Everyone says David is haunted, and it’s true, but not for the reasons that everyone thinks,” Brumm said.
Before it was designated as a female dormitory, David was occupied by male students. They were relocated after a variety of pranks and extreme misuse caused damage to the facility.
“They lit a ball of t-shirts on fire and rolled it down the hallway and turned those stairwells into slip’n’slides…there was a little freshman boy at the bottom who didn’t know what was going on, and it hit him and he died,” Brumm said. “Now that awkward little freshman boy is roaming around a girl’s dorm, and he’s very confused.”
Although no evidence of a death resulting from a flaming t-shirt ball in the dorm has been documented, historical archives have shown that during its construction human remains were discovered in the ground below. They were turned over to the city and later identified as 18th-century Native American bones. After their complete removal, construction of the building continued as planned.
The earliest formal documentations of paranormal encounters in the dorm are from around 1976, when students reported curling irons, hair dryers and other appliances turning on and off on their own. Showers have been known to mysteriously turn on and off while no one is around as well.
Freshman Brodie Oshel claims to have seen a Native American woman wandering around David, as well as a Native American man in his own dorm, Ruth A.
“He’s always turning up into the stairwell at the end of my hall. He looked at me once, and it was creepy,” Oshel said.
Oshel, a Seward native, said that the hauntings extend beyond the confines of the campus. Jones National Bank & Trust Company, Seward Middle School, an abandoned farmhouse east of St. Vincent de Paul, and an area once known as the Hobo Culvert (now developed over by I-80) are all locations associated with their own respective ghost stories.
Junior transfer Lydia Farrar, a David resident, has not witnessed anything unusual on or off campus since moving to Seward.
“I don’t buy into it,” Farrar said. “But whether you’re a skeptic or not, the wild stories people come up with are pretty rad.”