Spooky Story Two: Haunted Illinois College
With all of this rich history, you know this place has to be haunted
Beecher Hall was built in 1829. This two-level building is now used as a meeting hall for two fraternities - Sigma Pi and Phi Alpha. There's been tons of reports of footsteps that can be distinctly heard in one room, always coming from another. If somebody follows the sound, then the footsteps will suddenly be heard in the other room instead. Decades ago, this was a medical building and cadavers were secretly stored on the upper floor. Some believe that this may explain the ghostly activity.
The med students here were not supposed to have the cadavers, but they stole them from local hospitals and cemeteries for their studies. They hid the corpses in the attic until the stench of decaying flesh alerted college officials to their presence.
Other legends claim that the ghost here is that of Williams Jenning Bryan, who has returned to haunt his frat house. He was a member of Sigma Pi and was often in the building during his years at Illinois College. There are others who say that it might be Abraham Lincoln’s ghost, since he had stayed there during his visits.
The David A. Smith House was built in 1854 and is home to three sororities. There are several different stories regarding the young daughter, Effie Smith, and her suicide. Whatever the varying circumstances, the one common denominator is that she jumped out a window from the attic. To this day, they say if you move Ellie's rocking chair away from its spot near that window and leave the room, the chair will somehow return to its proper spot.
Perhaps the most compelling haunting is at Ellis Hall, built in 1957. The urban legend was that some girl didn't get a bid from a sorority and she hung herself in Room 303. In that room and those dorms surrounding it, doors will open and shut on their own, radios will turn on and off by themselves, and windows will also open and close.
After some digging, the truth is that no girl killed herself there. However, a young lady named Gail did die in Room 303. She was already terminally ill while attending college, and passed of natural causes in bed. In fact, a plaque in her memory is still on the door of room 303.
Students living in or near the room say that doors often do open and close on their own and they are always missing stuff. If they ask Gail to return the missing item, it will sure enough be found shortly thereafter.
One former resident that lived in the room directly below room 303 said that she often heard knocking sounds from the other side of the wall. The funny thing is, it's an outer wall and there aren't any trees or object even close to it.
Another former student said:
"I attended this college and stayed in the dorm where this girl died (My girlfriend at the time was a student and it was in her dorm). My former girlfriend woke up to find a female ghost floating above her over the bed. The radio would often come on by itself, but it would always play music from the 70s or 80s even though we never left it on any stations that would play music from that time. We were also awakened by her hair dryer turning on by itself."
Illinois College is absolutely full of all kinds of reports - from Civil War soldier ghost sightings to objects floating around. Sturtevant Hall, Crampton Hall, the McGaw building, Rammelkamp Chapel, and the Fayerweather House all have just tons and tons of stories.
In fact at the Fayerweather House, the attic was converted into a series of dorm rooms, but they are no longer used. No one would stay there, as too many students complained of freaky things happening too often. Reports of footsteps and scratching on the walls at night, doors slamming, and even objects flying around the rooms was enough for the adminstration to close the newly renovated doorms for good.
Whether or not you believe that the campus of Illinois College is haunted, you can't so easily dismiss the thousands of reports from students and faculty alike - and I'm sure it's a repuation the administration doesn't want to advertise.