Arcadia has a rich history of ghost stories, as if the haunted castle isn’t a big enough indicator of that. The campus is brimming with rumors of secret lovers dying on campus and hidden tunnels connecting long-forgotten buildings.
The Society for Castle Restoration (SCR), a club involved in maintaining the castle and the culture surrounding it, conducts castle tours, ghost tours, and a haunted house during the fall semester. The events help raise money to maintain the castle, rich with beauty and history. More details on when and where could be found on their Facebook page, @GreyTowers.
The SCR shares many of the ghost stories for the tour. While moving through the castle, the trained tour guide describes the Harrison family, who once lived in the castle and now haunt the halls, some say.
In the West Terrace, “Abigail,” a Harrison family friend, also reportedly shows her presence. The face of a long-dead woman appears in a mirror in a castle dorm room. A closet in one dorm room will call back to deceased inhabitants of the room, echoing throughout the room. The first-years hear children’s songs outside their rooms.
The castle is very lively in an undead way, according to the SCR.
“I’ve never dealt with ghosts personally, but my room was the nursery and my closet was where the two children were punished. Sometimes the door opens after being closed and lights will randomly turn on,” said Castle dorm resident Emily Schneider ‘20. “I believe it’s because of ghosts.”
The tour continues with a long walk around campus, with the guide detailing family drama around the bridge between the castle and Murphy and where horse stables and a powerhouse once were, and modern stories of haunting in dorm rooms.
“As with any ghost story, there will always be fabricated details to enhance it, but I full-heartedly believe many of the events actually have occurred,” said Kyle Binkley ‘20 after reading the stories.
— Kyle Binkley ‘20
It is hard to tell fact from fiction. Take the case of the ouija board. Ouija boards are rumored to be banned from campus. According to the SCR papers, RAs will confiscate ouija boards, considered a serious offense if you are caught with one in the castle, though according to those in charge, that is untrue.
“Ouija boards are not banned from campus, and they will not be confiscated. I believe the rumor stems from an incident a few years back, but there is no reason that students cannot own or use a ouija board here at Arcadia,” says Nick Kirkstadt, area coordinator for Heinz, Knight & Commuter Life.
Hidden tunnels are a harder mystery to crack. The Society for Castle Restoration makes no comment on the hidden tunnels, but some students claimed to have found them. Some say there is one between Stiteler Auditorium and Murphy Hall. The location often changes, but the story remains the same; Mr. William Welsh Harrison, the patriarch of the Harrison family, had a secret lover living off somewhere close enough to the castle for him to establish secret tunnels to reach her. How the tunnels ended up in Arcadia dorms outside of the castle isn’t as clear.
With Arcadia being a prime spot for all things spooky this October, get ready for a scare closer to home than you might like.