Students and faculty share paranormal stories


Jackie Norman/ Iowa State Daily

Students gather at Morrill Hall on Oct. 31 to hear the ghost stories of Iowa State; including places such as the Memorial Union, Linden Hall and the Farm House. 

Sarah Muller

While many believe ghosts and goblins come out during Halloween, at Iowa State, some locals claim to have experienced paranormal activity year round. 

Here are a few of their stories:


Multiple tales haunt Friley’s halls, but two experiences by students are similar.

In 2015 Sarah Etheridge, senior in performing arts, was taking a shower at 1 a.m. on the third floor of Friley when the bathtub mysteriously turned on. She peeked out of her shower stall to check if she was the only person in there when suddenly all of the showers started streaming out hot water. She gathered her belongings and ran to the door, but as soon as she made it to the exit, all the showers turned off.

On the first floor, Andrew Smith, senior in design and performing arts and employee of Model Farm, was mesmerized by three isolated doors that were always locked. One night his freshman year, he came home late from the design building and decided to take a shower, which was a room near the three mysterious doors. He turned off the water and heard creaking amongst the pipes. Suddenly the other shower turned on.

“I went into full panic mode,” Smith said.

He ran back to his room. But, his curiosity with paranormal activity caused him to return to the scene and the showers were off. Smith had heard stories of the three rooms being haunted so he decided to investigate. When he tried to open the first door, it was locked. His hand gripped the second doorknob and it wouldn’t budge. However, the third door clicked open. He stepped in and there was nothing to be found.

“It was just eerie,” Smith said. “I don’t want to call it a presence, but there was a feeling of something else there.”

He retreated and shut the door behind him. As he began to walk away, he heard the door unlatch and swing open, but Smith had to keep walking.

Memorial Union

Late at night, Memorial Union staff have reported “the sound of what could be ghostly activity,” according to the Memorial Union website. The sound appears to belong to Hortense Elizabeth Wind, the only woman on the wall of more than 500 names of students or alumni that have lost their lives to war. She was a home economics graduate in 1915 who died as a chief dietitian due to the flu epidemic. She is honored in the “integrity” stain glass.

Marston Hall

Kerry Anne Dixon, facilities project manager, believes a little girl haunts the hall of Marston Hall. During the 2016 renovation, Dixon was hearing multiple stories of people hearing a little girl laugh on the upper levels of the building. They didn’t know whose child would be running through what was then a construction zone. However, Dixon experienced the young girl’s giggles for herself and there was no one to be found.

During the construction small things continued to be moved around or misplaced without explanation. When one of the project engineers from the construction management firm was walking through the building, locking up at night all of the toilets flushed at once. Dixon doesn’t believe it was a prank as there were four floors of bathrooms that flushed.

“Our little girl was at it again, she never did anything viscous, just a little mischievous,” Dixon said. “She’s not really been around much since then. I’ve not heard anything from the staff since. I just guess that she is happy that people are in there once again.”

Music Hall

Former Iowa State student, Erin Cochran, was waiting for a friend in a practice room of the Music Hall. It was approximately 11 p.m. and Cochran assumed the building was mostly empty.

The sound of a piano was coming from another room. Curiously, Cochran began to investigate and realized the tunes were coming from the practice room next door.

“I peek inside and the lights were off so I knocked to see if someone was in there,” Cochran said. “There was no response. I opened the door and there was not a soul inside.”

Farm House Museum

David Faux, program assistant of University Museums, explained the dining setting in the Farm House Museum was late Victorian styled. A student employee was working at the time the exhibit was being shown and when they started their shift the student realized that all the place settings were moved to a precise 45 degree angle.

The employee believed someone was playing a trick on them, so they straightened out the settings and continued on her shift.

The next day, the same employee returned for her next shift. All the settings were placed back to the 45 degree angle. The employee called the main office and asked that whomever was playing the trick would stop. Nobody confessed to the joke.

When the employee returned for their next shift the following week, the place setting was at 45 degrees.

“I guess [the employee] took the time to actually physically thread and sew each piece of silverware into the table cloth,” Faux said

As the employee walked in the next day for their shift, the thread had been snipped and all the place settings were changed to the mysterious 45 degree angle.

Frustrated, the employee called the university to see who had keyed in and out of the Farm House. The University informed her that she had been the only employee who checked in and out of the building.

“[The employee] freaked out,” Faux said. “She refused to work there any longer. Another student who worked there came in set it to normal and it never happened again.”