A Haunting Stroll Through Penn State

by Levi Opsatnic


“Image courtesy of Onward State”

When many of us think of fall hikes, we like to head out to a place thriving with rich wilderness. A place full of the sounds of bird calls and rushing streams. However, with Halloween right around the corner, I thought It’d be fun to deviate a little bit and highlight a few of the “spookier” places that State College has to offer. After all, it is the prime time of year to experience these supernatural events.

So fasten your seatbelts and tune into some twisted tales of everyone’s favorite town. But be warned fair reader: a few of these stories might be too much for those of us easily spooked.

Pattee Library


It might surprise many of you to know that several of the floors within the library have their own haunted tale, but the two most commonly noted haunted areas are the basement and the top floor. Stories of unexplained phenomena have rung through the lore of Penn State. From sudden screams to ghostly figures rifling through book pages, several “eye witnesses” claim to have seen several odd visions throughout the halls of this library. Even accounts of random falling books and shelves or rogue book carts have passed from the lips of library-goers.

Now, are these all stories made up to spook people or are there grains of truth to any of these?  Of course, no one knows for sure, but try walking the library by yourself and you might start seeing and hearing things too.

Schwab Auditorium


With President Atherton being buried right next to the building, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his ghost has been known to wander through the building and its surrounding areas, especially during plays and other events.

And President Atherton isn’t the only ghoulish figure that calls the Schwab Auditorium home. In fact, many people have made mention of a soldier’s spirit roaming around the auditorium and its neighboring rooms. No one exactly knows who this soldier may be, but he is apparently quite fond of solitude, as well as hanging out in front of windows where he can be seen by those passing by.

Old Botany Building


Old Botany is one of the oldest remaining buildings on campus and is one of the places that President Atherton’s wife, Frances, or “Fanny”, calls home. Fanny is said to be a calm ghost and not one to really startle or scare anyone.  She can usually be seen sitting on a chair looking out the second window and peacefully knitting away. But what is she knitting and for whom, none can say.

Keller Dorm

Home to a very unfortunate circumstance, this dorm is the site of a student’s suicide. Years ago this student had hung him or herself in one of the stairwells. Since then, some disturbing tales have been encountered. No one is sure whether or not this circumstance lead to any of these hauntings, but it is a bit peculiar that they all seem to have come to fruition after this event. Unexplained voices, shocking sights, and creepy events, have all been recalled, but the most unnerving of stories is that of a particular student and their dorm room.

Throughout their stay in this particular dorm, this student would randomly get locked out of their room without any explanation. One day, he returned home to find what looked like someone sleeping in his bed. However, when he pulled the covers away, there wasn’t anyone to be found. Puzzled, he decided to go and get his Resident Assistant, but when they both returned, they found the door locked and what sounded like someone thrashing the room to pieces. Once the noise subsided and they finally got the door unlocked, that is exactly what they found: the room completely torn to shambles with no one in the room to apply blame for the actions. This was a mystery left unsolved, but the mess was certainly something to see.


For being known as such a quiet and quaint campus, it seems that Penn State has its fair share of spooky tales. Once again, are any of these accounts true? No one can surely say, but I do feel as though they are at least worth a little exploration on everyone’s part who may be interested.

Who knows, you may get a lucky encounter with the late President Atherton, or better yet, his boo-tiful wife, Fanny.


So if you’re looking for something to do this Halloween, grab your camera and see if you can spot the ghosts of Penn State.

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