Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bluefield State College

Bluefield State College is located in Mercer County, WV and has quite the interesting history!  In 1895, there was a huge need for higher education of WV's African-American population, which made up a large number of the coal company work force in Southern WV.  That year, Senator William Mahood passed legislation creating the school, which opened later that year under the name of Bluefield Colored Institute.  The original campus was a mere 4 acres in size, and the site was chosen because it was centrally located--within 100 miles of 70% of the state's black population.

That first year, Hamilton Hatter served as principal of the school, overseeing 40 pupils and the construction of the first three buildings on campus, one being an administration building known as Mahood Hall, named after Sen. Mahood.  Hatter held this position until 1906, when he was seceded by his assistant, Robert Sims.

During Sims' tenure as principal or president, the school became a "normal" school, or teacher's college in 1909.  However, it wasn't until 1931 that a name change to Bluefield State Teachers' College, cemented this change.  By 1943, the school underwent another name change, this time to Bluefield State College, and less than four years later, received its full accreditation.

Throughout this time, the school was still a predominately African American institution.  However, after 1954, partly due to the Brown vs. BOE landmark case, the school started its transition and desegregation began in earnest.  This was also a time when many of the local coal mines were being shut down, creating an even greater need for higher education for white students, as well as black.  Throughout the next decade, the change became more conspicuous as African-American presidents of the college were being replaced with white presidents, and it was rumored that more qualified black professors were being fired in favor of less qualified white professors meant to appeal to white students.

These tensions over race, combined with tensions over the Vietnam War led to the November 21, 1968 bombing of the physical education building on campus.  Although no one was seriously hurt or killed, massive property damage resulted, and as a result, the president of the college shut down all residence halls, furthering the transition of Bluefield from a residential black school, to a commuter-only mainly white school.

And, like many institutes of higher learning, throughout all of this history, the campus has picked up a ghost story or two.

The stories seem to concentrate on one of the campus' oldest buildings, Mahood Hall.  Although originally housing administration offices, the hall later served as dormitory space before housing the school's Business Department.  At one point, there was talk of turning the building BACK into specialized apartment housing, but the plan was ultimately scrapped, despite several major renovations.

It is unknown who she is, or how she got there, but students and staff alike have reported seeing a little girl in the hallways and in the basement of Mahood Hall.  To those who have been lucky (or unlucky) enough to have stayed there during its time as a dormitory, it is said that upon dozing off, many would suddenly awake and find themselves face to face with this little girl.  Since the college has not had any on-campus housing since the 1968 bombing, and the story of waking up to a little girl is so prevalent on several websites and print publications on WV haunted history, it makes one wonder....are these witnesses simply being punished for dozing off IN CLASS, or is this a simple detail that has been exaggerated or even made up?

We may never know, but at least one paranormal investigation group has been granted access to investigate Mahood Hall, and they walked away with some interesting results.  In 2010, Black Diamond Paranormal Society investigated the claims of the little ghost girl, but also another claim of another apparition seen.  It was reported that around 3am, the figure of a girl studying on the first floor was spotted, but then disappeared without a trace.  Along with several EVPs, the team also caught a video in which they believe the figure of a girl steps out of a first floor doorway.  Please see below for a link to this video!

Ghost Girl Video, BDPS

Photo property of THIS SITE

2 comments:

  1. what part of West Virgina is this in?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mercer County is in the southern part of the state, actually bordering Virginia.

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