On Oct. 29, the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center, along with the Department of Arkansas Heritage, presented “Haunted Sites at Arkansas Tech University.”
“Learning about Arkansas Tech, it’s just interesting to know what happened here,” said Brooke Miller, a sophomore psychology major from Bigelow. “People should definitely come next year and learn about our campus especially.”
Matthew Smith, a sophomore agriculture business major from Hermitage, said, “It was very interesting to learn about the supposed ghosts on our campus, the origins and how I might see ghosts one day.”
There are three buildings on campus that take claim as the most haunted: Caraway, Tucker Coliseum and Witherspoon.
Caraway takes the prize as the most famous haunted building on campus. The ghost that haunts this building is known as “Gracie.”
According to Shelle Stormoe, education outreach coordinator for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, in the 1940s, Gracie’s room was right above the doorway at Caraway (the room’s window is now bricked up).
Gracie had an unknown hardship in her life and hanged herself out her window, so she could be seen by anyone leaving the front door.
It is said Gracie has talked to people and gave disapproving looks to males coming into the once all-female dorm.
Tucker Coliseum’s ghost, James Paul Lovelady, was a legend on campus even before he died. Lovelady was a Wonder Boy in 1958 and was said to have been an amazing basketball player. You can see his numerous newspaper clippings on a dedicated Facebook page named James Paul “JP” Lovelady.
Lovelady died when he was 22 after an automobile accident. His ghost is said to play basketball on the court after hours, mess with the trophy case and even try to distract people while shooting.
The last ghost occupies Witherspoon. The ghost of this building is none other than the man the building is named after, Gene Witherspoon. After more than 20 years of teaching music at Tech, Witherspoon died of a heart attack.
Stormoe said students have smelt his cigar smoke in the elevators and even heard him playing music.
“It was about seven or eight at night, and I heard someone playing the piano,” said Dr. Jason Warnick, associate professor of psychology. “I was wondering how in the world could they could play the piano so loud as I’m trying to get some work done, so I go out angry and sleep deprived, and I go into the hallway, and I don’t hear anything.”
Warnick went back to his office, and this scene played out three more times. On the fourth time, “I ran out this time, checked every room and no one. So I packed my stuff and left.”
His wife said she was grateful the ghost got him home early.
Stormoe gathers encounters like these from students, teachers, alumni and anyone associated with the campus. Over the years she has collected these stories, and through this collecting process, the stories have corroborated some of the others.
She shares her research with the public through lectures and leaves it up to the audience to decide if the history and research about each site equals truth.
This lecture ended with a bonus haunted site, the Allen House, where Stormoe brought a piece of audio evidence with her. Many were left speechless by this evidence.
For more information on the Allen House or any of the haunted buildings at Tech, contact Stormoe at 501-324- 9786 or at email@example.com.