True hauntings of Iowa State



Alex Ryberg

Students, alumni and Ames residents alike came to gather at the Science Hall on Halloween night to listen to scary stories from their own campus.

Many don’t think about the dark history of Iowa State; however, there have been many tragedies and accounts of strange happenings on campus. Strange occurrences and hauntings have been reported, such as bizarre giggling that can be heard in Stephens Auditorium or a ghostly audience member in Fisher Theater.

The spookiest story, however, occurs in the Birch-Welch-Roberts Hall. 

A couple years ago two Department of Public Safety, DPS, officers were doing their nightly routines through campus when they spotted someone standing on the big white balcony in the Birch-Welch-Roberts dormitory complex. Students are not allowed to be on that part of the dorm, so the officers yelled at the figure to get down, according to a story told at the event.

The figure, who appeared to be a man, proceeded to jump straight up in the air and land on the roof two stories above. He quickly squeezed his way into a window that led to the dorm’s attic. The DPS officers rushed inside and up to the top floor to try and locate this man. Once they got up to the attic they found him, hanging from the rafters. The student had been missing for two weeks.

On a lighter note, accounts of a loving ghost that lives in the Iowa State cemetery had emerged a couple years back. Students that were emotionally distraught would find solace at the cemetery for some alone time — or at least they thought they were alone.

Some had said that while they were in the cemetery alone, they felt a pair of arms gently enclose around them as if to comfort them. It’s said that the ghost had lost their child, so it spends its time consoling upset students that come around the cemetery. 

Another story that came from the cemetery was of an old groundskeeper that used to tend to the plants and grass that surrounded the tombstones. This groundskeeper had worked there for many, many years and he always had a dog with him to help him out with his work. He loved his dog so much he kept the dog’s name when he got a new one.

The man eventually passed away and was buried in the same cemetery. After his passing, students reported hearing a dog playfully barking in the cemetery. When one followed that sound, they would always end up at the groundskeeper’s grave.

Away from the cemetery is a story about Friley Hall, one of the oldest dorms on campus and definitely one of the spookiest. While there are many, many accounts of creepy sightings and oddities around the dorm, most seem to centralize around a specific room in the basement of Friley.

This room is guarded by two heavy doors and doesn’t serve a purpose because it’s not up to code. Despite its lack of purpose, there seems to be a lot of paranormal activity surrounding that room. Students have reported a lot of odd things, from the ghost of Abe Lincoln walking through the closed door to students having dark dreams about being stuck in that room with the walls oozing red blood. Due to this occurrence, the room was dubbed “The Devil’s Legion Room.”

A student who had worked there over the summer said she was walking through the basement to leave after her shift had ended. Since it was the summer the dorm was mostly empty except for maintenance and other student workers. While she was walking past that room she heard a loud slam, as if someone had run shoulder first into the doors from inside.

Safe to say she didn’t stick around long enough to see what was making that noise.