Saturday, October 6, 2012

University of Denver's Ghostly Residences

October in South Denver. How can the conversation not turn to ghosts, specifically the alleged haunting of the University of Denver?

Any self respecting college is bound to have a ghost story or two, but few are as well documented as the spectral sightings at DU. Let’s start with the Mary Reed building, its dark, gothic interior and imposing castle tower making it one of the easily recognizable and most stately buildings on campus.

Completed in 1931, the building served as the university’s second library and today houses administrative offices and Penrose Library storage.

A transparent female figure is occasionally seen reading in the dark in a high back chair in the building's DuPont Room (believed by some to be Mary Reed herself). Others have complained of cold drafts in otherwise warm rooms, doors that jam and then mysteriously open and fresh light bulbs that inexplicably burn out. Frankly, that isn’t too hard to imagine, since the building is XXX years old.

But there have been numerous eyewitness accounts from staff and students. features a great tale of a student who wandered into the DuPont room and switched on a light, only to be started by an elderly woman in old fashioned dress, who stood up, faced the student and said hello. The student apologized and backed out of the room, leaving the light on. When he looked back, the light had turned off.

Books have been known to fly off the shelf in both the DuPont and Renaissance Rooms, and staff has complained publicly about strange rattling noises, and the elevator’s penchant for running on its own. Mary Reed herself is apparently watching over her building’s Renaissance Room, and the eyes in a portrait of her can be seen following visitors,

Some say the spirit is Mary Reed herself, while others say it is Marcella Miller DuPont, daughter of wealthy Colorado pioneers who were contributors to the university.

Either way, custodial staff have refused to work alone in the building after 10PM, when the building’s workers head out.

Equally creepy stories emanate from the Lamont School of Music’s Dunklee Hall. Legend has it that a student killed herself on the second floor of the hall, when it was a dorm. Music students have reported strange lights. One door, the last door on the right out of the elevator) is usually standing open. Upon exiting, students experienced the door quietly closing itself. 

Other ghosts in the DU neighborhood include a ghost child, allegedly seen in an alley near Jewell and Downing. There are also reports of a spectral flight crew from a WWII bomber that crashed on South Marion, near Porter Hospital. The crew's spirits have reportedly shown up in backyards and kitchens of area homes for decades now.

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