With Halloween just a week away, a popular activity is to visit haunted houses. However, local folklore suggests our very own campus may be home to a few ghosts and ghouls.
Derryberry Hall is said to be haunted by one of Tech’s most well-known presidents.
“President Derryberry’s funeral was held in Derryberry Hall Auditorium. Some say that President Derryberry himself may be seen walking the halls from time to time,” said Graham Kash, professor of English.
Legend suggests President Derryberry is not the only ghost lurking around Tech’s campus.
The Backdoor Playhouse, located in the basement of Jere Whitson Building, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former student.
“His name is Michael. He was a student about 15 years ago. He was very active in the theater program, but he had some problems and he committed suicide,” said Mark Creter, Backdoor Playhouse artistic director.
After Michael died, his mother told Creter that Michael had always been a prankster and not to be surprised if he haunts the Playhouse.
“It grew from that. There are times light cues happen at the wrong time or something wonky happens with the machines for no apparent reason, so we say that it was Michael who was the culprit,” said Creter.
According to Creter, Michael is a friendly ghost committing only playful pranks.
“Michael is our ghost and he is a good one. I certainly don’t do anything to dissuade the stories. I think it’s fun. Most theaters do have a ghost. We turn a ghost light on when we leave the theater; that’s a theater tradition,” said Creter.
The Phi Delta Theta fraternity house just off campus has a ghost of its own, based on the fraternity’s lore.
Legend has it that decades ago, a brother died in one of the upstairs bedrooms.
“It had been some time since that happened and a brother was at the house alone. He thought he heard somebody, so he started calling for someone. That’s when he heard from upstairs somebody say ‘howdy.’ He looked for who the voice could have come from but no one was home,” said Phi Delta Theta President Austin Long.
After that incident, the house ghost was nicknamed Howdy.
“I lived here for a year and I would wake up and my blanket would be thrown off my bed completely across the room, or something that I put on the table would be placed somewhere else,” said Long. “It’s small stuff, but you definitely notice it.”
The Phi Delta Theta house has belonged to the fraternity since 1969. Before that it was the home of the Crawford family, one of the founding families of Tech. According to the brothers, the house’s age and creaky floors add to the eeriness of the legend of Howdy.
“The only real experience I had with him was when I heard him run up the stairs; it was clear that somebody had run up the stairs, but no one was there,” said Phi Delta Theta member Jacob Marlett.
Some people believe the ghostly legends and stories surrounding Tech, while others choose to chalk up the stories to made-up lore.
“Whether you believe it to be true or not, it is fun to hear the stories,” said Kash.