October 30, 2019
It’s not surprising that a university that dates back to the mid-19th century has a few ghost stories floating around.
Former SU Paranormal Club President Alan Heintzelman ‘12 spent a year researching the tales and, in honor of Halloween, here are some of the spirited accounts he shared with the club.
Seibert Hall might be the most likely candidate for a haunting as one of the oldest buildings on campus. Its stately white columns and elegant windows seem to hold secrets of years gone by.
Heintzelman recalls his own firsthand encounters with a spirit when he worked on Seibert’s ground floor in the information technology department. Heintzelman says the spirit made attempts to communicate with him by blinking the overhead lights on and off — sometimes in response to questions he asked aloud, including if the spirit was friendly (the answer was yes).
It wasn’t just Heintzelman who encountered the supernatural in Seibert — he documented eyewitness reports of a faceless girl standing in the hallway, a poltergeist moving objects from one side of the room to another, and apparitions making themselves “visible” on surveillance cameras.
Heintzelman discovered an article in the student newspaper that traced the hauntings in Seibert to Peter Born, a professor whose three children died suddenly of diphtheria around 1863. One problem — Seibert didn’t exist in 1863. The Greek revival building wasn’t constructed until 1902.
Rumors of hauntings also swirl around Weber Chapel — rumors Heintzelman never believed until John Zaffis, founder of the Paranormal and Demonology Research Society of New England, visited campus in 2008.
The Paranormal Club accompanied Zaffis to the chapel, where they felt a strong draft and spotted a dark figure moving amongst the seats. Zaffis reassured the club members that there were only good spirits in Weber.
Heintzelman’s research also uncovered another story of a psychic/medium going through Weber with the Paranormal Club and finding a “football team’s worth of spirits.”
TRAX didn’t open as an on-campus entertainment venue until 2006, but it has a long and murky history as a former warehouse. A friendly spirit is said to break props, throw things and move drinks on the bar.
During Zaffis’ visit, a ghost hunting meter picked up paranormal activity and the spirit reportedly told Zaffis that he gets lonely and enjoys interacting with the students.
Even after his investigation, Heintzelman remains uncertain about whether there’s a germ of truth behind many of Susquehanna’s ghost stories.
“Just because something goes bump in the night, appears to move on its own, or gives you a chill does not mean that a place is haunted. Even with my skepticism, I still enjoy the stories that make your skin crawl and keep you up at night wondering,” he writes in the introduction to his 60-page research project.
True or not, they sure are fun to ponder — especially on the spookiest day of the year.