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Roanoke ghost stories


Michael Watts

Staff writer

The long years of history at Roanoke College can definitely spur up good ghost stories, especially around Halloween.

A few buildings on campus have been reported haunted. Miller Hall, before it was renovated, holds a memory of a tragic death. In September 1876, David Bittle, one of the founders of Roanoke College and its first president, died of a sudden heart attack in a room, where the stairwell is now.Dr. Carter, a communications professor, has evidence of an EVP, a digital recording, of a strange, unearthly voice, but there is no sense of what is being said.

Monterey house is one the most famous buildings on campus to be reported haunted.  According to history, the last owner of the house was Katherine Albert Burke, who in the 1960’s, knew nothing about Roanoke College’s proposal to renovate the Monterey House into the president’s residence.

When Mrs. Burke was informed about this plan, she said,

“Roanoke College will get this house over my dead body.”

On September 28, 2000, Mrs. Burke died and the house was sold to RC by 2002. In 2005, during the Spring semester, a RC board member and law professor, Dr. Carol Swain, stayed at the house. During her stay, she awoke one night claiming to see a figure of a woman that made a casting motion with her arm going over and above her head.

Since then, Dr. Carter’s INQ 110 “Ghosts and Human Perception” class has been doing paranormal investigations at Monterey House every year. The students are equipped with dowsing rods, thermometers, and digital recorders. The investigation started Monday on Halloween and will end November 4, taking place from 9pm to 4am. Students were split into groups and each group went on the investigation on different days.

“Dowsing rods were used to identify spiritual ‘hotspots,’ and were generally pretty accurate. For instance, during one part of the night I got a sensation that felt like a hand was being drawn up and down my arm. Dr. Carter came in with the dowsing rods and when they got over my arm they crossed almost immediately,” Katherine Binney 15′ said about her Halloween night investigations.

“I didn’t feel too much on the first floor, but the top floor had a few rooms that really stood out because of the way they felt. One felt welcoming, and a couple felt extremely oppressive, and the oppressive ones ended up having a lot of activity for Hannah, [another classmate] and me,” Binney 15′ said.