GLENVILLE - Glenville State College is a beautiful campus in central West Virginia with a possible dark past lurking in the shadows involving a cold case, an unsolved murder and restless spirits.
All of these things sound like they came straight out of a movie and not from a college. There are many eyewitness accounts about the incidents from across the campus.
Most "experiences" or "sightings" happen in Clark Hall, Louis Bennett Hall, and the administration building. Many say the ghost in these buildings is "Sis Linn." There have been stories about her haunting campus since at least the 1970s not only around Halloween but all year long.
Sarah Louisa Linn was born in 1853. Outside of being the only graduate of the Glenville Normal School in 1877, little is known about her. According to records, she specialized in teacher education and taught classes in Glenville and Fairmont before marrying I. L. Chrisman in June of 1905 at her home, the current site of Clark Hall.
After her short marriage ended, Sarah changed her name back to Linn and ran a boarding house for female students. In February 1919, Sarah was found bludgeoned to death and her assailant or assailants were never found.
Some say she was killed by vandals breaking in for her prized homemade wine. Many say "Sis Linn" roams the campus looking for her killer.
In 1924, five years after her murder, officials from Glenville Normal School purchased her property, razed the house and built Verona Maple Hall. Many said the dormitory was haunted.
After Verona Maple Hall was demolished years later, those spending time in the neighboring Clark Hall began to experience paranormal activity.
Connie Stout, assistant professor of early education and director of field experiences, had an "experience" in Clark Hall. Once while grading papers she heard a horrible noise.
"It was just before the summer session started, and I was in my office on the top mezzanine," Stout said. "It sounded like metal chairs being thrown around and as if people were moving metal desks."
Stout said the noise lasted10 to 12 minutes and she thought it was the secretary moving things around downstairs. Stout stopped grading papers and thought for a moment.
"It was weird though because the noise sounded like it was coming from downstairs, upstairs, and the space behind the offices," she said. "Just before I got to mezzanine two, I thought 'What if this is Sis Linn?' At that very moment, the noises stopped- there was complete silence." Stout left the building and learned she had been alone.
Jerry Burkhammer, director of student life, said on Halloween one year, he was standing outside of the former dorms at Louis Bennett Hall with a safety officer and saw a couple of students playing with a Ouija board. When one of them started yelling he asked what was going on, and they said they asked the board to whom it was talking.
"They said the board spelled out 'Sis Linn,' and she said that she would be in Clark Hall at midnight. It was four minutes until twelve. We decided to walk up to Clark Hall to see if anything was happening," Burkhammer said.
"At the stroke of midnight, there was a light on the second level. We saw a woman hanging by a noose in the window. The officer and I ran upstairs, and when we got to the door, the light went out. We opened the door, nothing was there, and everything was in order. It is strange and unexplainable; like the clock tower chimes thirteen times on Halloween night at midnight. It does this every year."
Cameron Perry, assistant athletic director of operations and compliance, said he had an encounter.
"I was awakened during my first night in that room and saw a lady in white at the foot of the bed who spoke to me," he said.
Now that Louis Bennett Hall rooms are used as offices, faculty and staff report unexplained noises and sightings. Many employees say they can hear someone running back and forth on the fourth floor.
Next door to Louis Bennett Hall is the Harry B. Heflin Administration Building, the historic building with unexplained encounters. Ellen Minney, campus service worker, has had them in the building.
"I get anxious every time I am in the basement," Minney said. "I constantly look over my shoulder and work quickly to get out."
While emptying trash cans, she has heard her keys in the door begin to jingle, but they stopped moving before she got to them and lights will go on and off at times.
During the incidents, she is always the first and only one in the building.
Once, she was working and heard a voice whisper, 'What are you doing here?' in her ear. She replied, "You know I am here every morning!"
Minney also had an encounter with a spirit in Clark Hall.
"I was working with my supervisor and another worker waxing floors. When we left the empty building, all of the lights had been turned off and the doors were locked," Minney said. "After we got outside, we turned around to the same building with every light on."
Even after numerous experiences over the years, most people are not afraid.