This collection of ghost stories based around university campuses will almost certainly bolster the beliefs of those who accept the paranormal, especially ghosts.
For others, who aren’t open to beliefs in ghosts and other paranormal activities as well as outright skeptics, Swayne’s work will be less than convincing.
The author states in his “disclaimer” that the people and circumstances involved in these stories are difficult to verify.
He goes on to say that fact and fiction in many of these instances are easily blended and the “actual causes of paranormal activity” are difficult to determine.
It is clear Swayne, doesn’t want these stories to be regarded as “historical accounts” but rather part of the oral traditions and tales told on campuses as much because they are fun as fact.
The author has collected these campus legends from across the country and an avid reader might find delight in pursuing some of the sources cited in the bibliography.
Of particular interest to Kansas State University students and area residents will be the tale of
KSU’s Purple Masque Theater.
Many who have attended productions in the theater under the east stands of old Memorial Stadium will think the dank, almost dungeon-like location ideal for a haunting.
Readers may be surprised, however, that the ghost alleged to roam beneath the east stands is said to be that of a football player named Nick who died in the stadium in the 1950s.
As K-State’s football team played in Memorial stadium from the time the east stands were built in 1922 until 1967, perhaps some football player did die in the old stadium but there is no record of one named Nick having perished there.
In any case, the ghost hasn’t done anything too dramatic other than make some noise, move a few boxes, empty a fire extinguisher and make a light bulb explode directly over an instructor’s head after being challenged to give some sign of its existence.
While K-State’s ghost roams a theater, hauntings on other campuses occur not only in theaters and music halls but also in dormitories or residence halls. Quads, grounds, cemeteries and virtually every other site on a campus may host a ghost. Even administration buildings and classrooms have their share of ghosts according to the author.
With Halloween approaching, if a reader can willingly suspend disbelief, this might be a fun read.
Elby Adamson is an educator and writer living near Clay Center.