Haunted UNL

With the coming of the fall season, not only do Husker fans have football to look forward to, but the upcoming holiday as well: Halloween. With Halloween comes a thrill for ghosts and haunted places, and Lincoln is far from short on either supernatural occurrence. For visitors, or even local residents for that matter, one does not have far to go in order to explore the most haunted of Lincoln. Indeed, the University Campus itself hosts several of these— troubled places.

The Temple Building, courtesy of Meranda Wellman

Built in 1906, the Temple Building was constructed to house various student activities. Eventually, it came to host the school’s radio station and theatre department.

According to various sources, the Temple Building is haunted by a man who fell from the rigging in the fourth floor’s theatre. Some say that he was a carpenter who was working during the Temple’s construction; others say that he was a stagehand who was working on a 1940’s production of Macbeth. Either way, it is said that the man’s apparition can be seen on or near the stage, and in the sound booth. There have also been reports of noises in the fourth floor attic, and a shadowy figure in the building’s basement. A few unofficial paranormal investigations have been conducted, but so far, nothing has been confirmed either way.

Another haunted location on the UNL campus is the Neihardt Residence Center. Every Halloween, Neihardt hosts a ghost tour. The stories range from a demonic porcelain doll to a Satanic cult site in the basement. Most of them are likely made up, but two of the stories seem to have a little more substance to them.

Back during the 1930’s and 40’s, Neihardt was used as an infirmary. Apparently, there was a polio outbreak during that time, and many people were housed under its roof. Unfortunately, not all who were admitted came out alive. One resident in particular, it is said, enjoyed the outside, but because of her condition, could not venture out. As such, she would leave her window open. Nowadays, it is said that if one closes the curtains on the third floor of the Love wing of Neihardt, they will mysteriously reopen. Another incident tells of a ghost who likes to stack change in the safes found in the Raymond wing.  According to an article by Melanie Mench of the Daily Nebraskan newspaper, Lola Young, a residence life services supervisor at Neihardt stated, “At first, I didn’t believe it, but so few people know the combinations. She just wants us to know she’s around.”

Besides these two possible incidences, there have also been stories of chairs moving in the lounge downstairs, the sound of a guitar playing in the basement when no one is there, and the ghost of a girl wandering around in the courtyard at night.

Pound Hall, another dormitory connected to the Neihardt complex, also hosts an array of paranormal occurrences. As a former resident of Pound, I found this to be the most terrifying.  During my three years there, I had experienced many strange things, mainly involving the unexplained activation of various electronics. Especially when living on the fifth floor.  One of the most memorable manifestations occurred while doing homework with two other friends in my room. As I was writing up an essay, my iPod dock suddenly decided to turn on and play music. I turned it off and continued with my essay. Half an hour later, the same thing happened again. I was nowhere near my iPod dock.  I tried chocking it up to a power surge, but none of my other appliances, which were plugged into the same outlet via a power strip, were affected. And it has never happened again.

Supposedly, as I found out later, during the 60’s, a young girl committed suicide by jumping from a fifth floor window. Electrical appliances turning on randomly are not the only occurrences. According to various sources, books have also been reported to fly across the room by past residents. Whether this was the result of an unusual power surge or the troubled spirit of “Lucy” remains a mystery.

So if you are ever visiting any of these places, and you hear or see something strange, don’t be afraid, it is probably only UNL’s local ghosts making an effort to say “we’re still here.”

(Note: all sites require permission to visit or investigate)



About: Meranda Wellman

Meranda Wellman is a recent graduate with a degree in English and Medieval Renaissance Studies from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Her hobbies include reading, writing, sewing, and participating in Medieval Reenactment events.