University Museums shares ghost stories with community


Charlie Coffey/Iowa State Daily

Amanda Hill, former student and former University Museums worker, tells ghost stories from all over Iowa and within Iowa State University during an event at Morrill Hall on Thursday.

Ellen Bombela

Things got pretty spooky Thursday night in Morrill Hall as students and Ames community members listened to ghost stories from Iowa State, the Ames area and the state of Iowa. The stories were shared by Amanda Hall, former University Museums employee and ghost story enthusiast.

The event was hosted by University Museums.

Hall started the evening by sharing stories from around Iowa. Some famous haunted places in Iowa include the Villisca Axe Murder House, where an entire family was slaughtered by an axeman; the city of Van Meter; the Farrar Schoolhouse; and Merle Hay Mall. Legend has it that the mall was built over a monastery, and there have been sightings of a crying nun holding a dead baby at night.

Hall then went on to talk about different locations at Iowa State that are haunted.

Some of the different locations include the Memorial Union, Fisher Theater, Stephens Auditorium and the Farm House. Hall, who is a former Farm House employee, recalled a ghost story that one of her fellow co-workers experienced.

The employee, who was notorious for being organized and keeping things in order, was looking after the house during one of the university breaks. She set the table in the museum before leaving one night and came back the next morning to a very disorganized table.

The same thing happened the next night, and she asked other employees if they had visited the house. They said no. The employee found no explanations for the occurrences.

After Hall finished sharing her stories, she opened up the floor to any students who wanted to share their ghost encounters with the group to end the evening.

“I thought the event was pretty interesting,” said Luis Camacho, sophomore in computer engineering. “It was cool to hear about Mr. Big, who haunts Friley, because I live in Friley.”

Hall started collecting ghost stories not necessarily for the idea of ghost stories but rather the way the stories are composed.

“I like the way you tell ghost stories. I like the way that people get excited about them,” Hall said.

Hall enjoys hearing stories from anyone who is willing to tell them, but she said she isn’t interested in making up stories and telling them to other people.

“The rules that I have created for myself are I need to hear a story from at least a couple people before I really take it into account,” Hall said. “I can’t just invent stories. There has to be something to go on.”