Friday, March 2, 2012

The Ghost of West Virginia Wesleyan

 Name a college or university in West Virginia (or anywhere else for that matter) and you'll likely get a ton of stories regarding ghostly happenings throughout the campus.  West Virginia Wesleyan is no different...

West Virginia Wesleyan is a small private institution in Upshur County, which began in 1890 as the West Virginia Conference Seminary.  In 1895 the school built what was to become the oldest women's dormitory in the United States, Ladies' Hall.  It is Ladies' Hall where the ghostly folklore of West Virginia Wesleyan is centered.

In 1917, a young student and resident of Ladies' Hall by the name of Agnes Howard died after a brief illness.  After looking into the matter at the WV State Archives, and then through Ancestry.com,  I found Agnes' death certificate, which states that she died on December 21, 1917 in nearby Harrison County.  The cause of death was due to "complication [sic]."  The imagination can run wild with what the poor young girl actually passed away from. But, while information on her actual death is scant at best,  most reports do indicate, though, that she was single at the time of death, and that she was born in Webster County.

In any case, Agnes Howard, former student of West Virginia Wesleyan DID die while attending the institution, and in her honor, Ladies' Hall was renamed Agnes Howard Hall on June 7, 1920.  Interestingly, her father, C.D. Howard, was quite wealthy and had made quite a generous donation to have the hall built, so some say that it was named in his honor as well. 

While I do not have information pertaining to what floor Agnes occupied while in residence, I'm going to guess that it was the fourth floor, due to nearly all reports of paranormal activity coming from that section alone.  It seems as if Agnes prefers to be felt, and even heard...but rarely seen.  She also apparently likes to bother residents while they are sleeping.  The same stories of beds shaking occupants awake, hearing one's name being called, and phenomenon commonly believed to be sleep paralysis, with and without accompanying hypnagogic hallucinations are reported by numerous students each year.


Campus History

National Register Application for Agnes Howard Hall

Newspaper Article on the Hauntings
The bulk of information on this story comes from this article, which also contains a photo of a painting, allegedly of Miss Howard.

Some of the historical information for this blog came from A History of West Virginia Wesleyan College by Kenneth M. Plummer, pg. 56.

4 comments:

  1. I was a student there. I lived on the fourth floor and woke up one night unable to move and felt as if someone was on me or near me. I thought I heard my name. I believe I was witness to Aggie

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  2. The family and I stopped to explore Buckhannon a bit this past weekend, after taking Luke to the French Creek Wildlife Preserve. We had a wonderful time, but I REALLY wished I would have stopped by the college and at least gotten some pictures of this particular building!

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  3. I lived on the fourth floor of Aggie during all but my first year of college (on the suite side). I quite liked it there.

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  4. I lived on the fourth floor of Aggie during all but my first year of college (on the suite side). I quite liked it there.

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