Beware of these CU, University haunted hot spots

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The Daily Illini Photo Staff

The Psychology Building is one of many places on campus and around CU that are haunted hot spots.

By Sydney Wood and Kylie Corral

Unfortunately, midterms aren’t the only spooks and scares to be aware of this fall season. The University usually benefits from its extensive history in the Illinois prairie, except when it’s ranked as the sixth most haunted college campus in the United States

And that ranking was made for a reason. Matt Mullins, lead investigator of GhostNET Paranormal, said there are some haunted places in C-U he’s heard rumors about and has even tried to investigate with his team. Here’s a list of some rumored haunted places in C-U, with some expert commentary from Mullins.

 Psychology Building, Champaign, Illinois

To start with an on-campus haunted spot, there are a few eerie legends regarding the Psychology Building on East Daniel Street. If you’ve ever used the southwest corner stairwell, you’ve probably questioned the purpose of the fortified chain cage that climbs up the entire length of the stairwell. According to an article by the University’s Alumni Association, there may be an actual reason for this cage. 

The University constructed the cage after two students fell down the eight-story stairway in 1975. Rumors say one of the students died from the fall, which was later deemed a suicide. Another student threatened to jump from one of the stairway’s upper levels; the plunge would’ve resulted in his death. Though he didn’t actually jump, he died a few years later. According to local legend, the student returned to haunt the Psychology Building and has remained in the building ever since. 

Urbana High School, Urbana, Illinois 

If there’s one universal rule on the day of Halloween, it is to stay away from creepy, possibly suspicious-looking doors. Please. 

In the Champaign-Urbana community, there is one such legend that exists. The door of speculation lies within the Urbana High School, and it is rumored that when a student finds the door, they acquire access to the most haunted part of the building. While the location of the door remains a mystery to many who receive their education there, another rumor arises as well. 

The second rumor concerns another door leading to the clock tower of the school, and rumors say someone died there after an unfortunate love affair. Many people have heard strange sounds coming from the tower along with strangely bright lights that are visible from outside. One teacher said the word “help” was painted on their classroom wall that never seemed to stop peeling despite the staff’s consistent efforts to repaint. Another particularly famous story about the tower is when the door was mysteriously open, accompanied by loud tapping noises emitting from above. The police were even scared off. Today, the door leading to the tower has been locked to keep students from wandering into the room. 

The third and final rumor uncovered about Urbana High School is the presence of a tall man clad in a top hat and holding a cigarette, who wanders the halls and disappears when he is followed. 

Mullins has attempted to get in contact with the school but to no avail. 

“I’ve sent them emails and emails and emails,” he said. “Because what we do, we don’t want to trespass or do anything illegal. We’ve never gotten any calls back.” 

Lincoln Hall, Champaign, Illinois

Unfortunately, the good luck that comes from rubbing Abraham Lincoln’s nose before exams won’t protect you from the rumored spirit that lives on the third floor of Lincoln Hall. Rumors say that sometimes its face can be seen gazing out of one of the building’s western windows, long after people have left the building. The ghost’s identity is unknown, but some suggest that it’s a former teacher’s assistant who jumped out the window. 

English Building, Champaign, Illinois

There must be something about the Main Quad that attracts paranormal activity. As one of the oldest buildings on campus, the English Building used to serve as the women’s dormitories. If you’ve been on one of the University’s college tours, this story should be familiar. 

The current building has an atrium that used to serve as a swimming pool. Stories say one of its residents drowned in the pool, though whether the drowning was intentional or accidental is unclear. Another rumor says a woman hung herself. 

Mullins said it’s difficult to get into the English Building to investigate “because a lot of people are skeptic.” 

“A guy told me, and he was a complete skeptic,” Mullins said. “And he said, ‘Oh, ghosts aren’t real and the stories you heard about a woman hanging herself. That’s not true.’ I’m like, ‘Well, it’s online on multiple websites.’”

Though this urban legend is highly debated, some students still claim to hear footsteps and doors opening and closing even when the building is empty.

Woodlawn Cemetery, Urbana, Illinois

The Woodlawn Cemetery has long been rumored to be haunted. Passersby of the cemetery say if it is late enough at night, you can see what looks to be a moving light that resides there. It is unknown what the blue light is and how it came to be, but it is undeniably there as witnesses have attested to this oddity. As one of the most haunted places in the C-U community, it’s a pride for those spooky story lovers, no doubt. 

It also happened to be the resting spot for Champaign-Urbana’s famous Busey family. Many monuments around the graveyard happen to also be dedicated to certain people belonging to that family. Along with those prominent members of the cemetery, Woodlawn has been here in Urbana since 1907, marking it as another old landmark in the C-U community.

However, if you’re up to seeing Disney-Pixar’s famous ghost light in Champaign-Urbana, you can find just that when walking past the Woodlawn Cemetery.

The only real way to determine whether or not these places are haunted might be to visit them in person. Mullins said he and his team are conducting an investigation at the Old Ford County Nursing Home, which used to be a poor asylum. The investigation will be live streamed on FaceBook live Oct. 30, and GhostNET will be randomly picking viewers to lead the investigation for 20 minutes at a time. 

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