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The Galvin Ghost?!

West side of Galvin

It's that time of year again! Halloween approaches, and the hunt for the ghost of Ambrose Hall is on. Our beloved landmark even got attention from the local media and some middle school children this year.

The Ambrose Hall ghost story has been shared by students for decades. A quick email to our fantastic Archivist Onnica Marquez resulted in printed pieces ranging back as far as 1974 and as recent at 2012. She quickly provided 11 stories published in the Scene Magazine, Paper SACThe Buzz, and even one student assignment.

However, the story details ebb and flow throughout time. Some years the ghost was that of a student, while other years it was a faculty member. KALA Operations Manager Dave Baker '88 said the story is less about the ghost and more about the students.

"I think every student-journalist has researched this story at one point or another," he said. "In my opinion, it's not about the ghost, it's about these students digging for information and their pursuit to uncover new details."

Let's face it - Ambrose Hall is a great backdrop for a ghost story. It was the first building on campus, and tens of thousands of students have walked its halls. At one time, it served every need of the student population: classroom, dormitory, chapel, cafeteria, library, wellness facility, and post office. Its winding halls, numerous doors and windows – not to mention creaks and groans – help the imagination take flight.

Baker recalls his college years when the student newspaper office was housed in Ambrose Hall. Late at night, students would express their anxiety about the ghost making an unexpected appearance.

"I used to tell them we would put [the ghost] to work if he showed up," Baker chuckled. "In all my time in that building, I never experienced anything paranormal. The only unwelcome guest I encountered was a bat."

Baker said the steam heat in Ambrose Hall (which provided some interesting sounds) along with active imaginations may have played a part in the ghost story and its continuation.

"Students enjoy the legend and hearing about people's different experiences," he said. "But I've heard tales from employees as well. A housekeeper shared with me that she used to hear whistling in Ambrose Hall at night, and she was convinced it was the ghost of a student. A former faculty member said he used to see a figure walking the halls on the third floor when he was working in his office at night."

Another Ghost Story...in Galvin?

But none of those stories make the skin crawl quite like the tales relayed to Baker over 20 years ago. This time, the ghost story takes place in the Galvin Fine Arts Center.

"We have volunteer DJs who have shifts on KALA," Baker said. "I came in on a Monday and found a lengthy note on my desk from the two Sunday night DJs.

"They were on the air late doing their jazz show. They saw an apparition appear on the second floor of Galvin, outside of the radio station. It was a female dressed in white. When the DJs asked her name, she responded ‘Sara.' Then, she floated down the hallway, into the stairwell, and proceeded to the music wing."

Dave followed up with both of the DJs, but didn't think much of the report... until the following day.

"I got a call on Tuesday from the Monday night DJ. He was another long-time volunteer who was no-nonsense. He said ‘How did you play that trick? You have to tell me how you made that girl disappear last night.' After explaining I had no idea what he was talking about, he told me about his experience.

"He had gone out to his car to bring in a crate of records. When he returned to the building, he expected the doors to be locked, but instead found a girl propping open the door open for him. When he turned around to thank her, she was gone. When I asked him what she was wearing, he said white. That's when my skin started to crawl. The two parties had never spoken to each other."

Baker says there have been no reports since, but the experience has now turned into a legend of its own at the radio station.

"I've had students say they were recording something, and they felt something brush up against them. Others joke that when the equipment isn't working, it must be Sara's doing. I don't necessarily buy into it, but I always thought if we were going to have a ghost at the radio station, it would be one of our previous DJs who spun a record for us."