Sunday, January 20, 2013

NC's Dana Auditorium Has a Ghost...or Two

I don't really like posting TWO haunted locations not in the tri-state in a row, but as part of my 2013 resolutions for this site, I am determined to finally finish Round One of my Haunted America series!  I'm also determined to post more frequently, possibly once a day, and I admittedly don't have all my research together this morning for any of the the blogs I have planned out.  So, I grabbed my copy of Triad Hauntings by Burt Calloway and Jennifer Fitzsimons and picked the first location that looked interesting.  Luckily, I was able to find enough supporting evidence online to whip out today's entry:  The Ghosts of Dana Auditorium.

Dana Auditorium was built in 1961 on the campus of Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.  It was named for Charles Dana, a local philanthropist who donated $250,000 to the college for the completion of the project, which was built on the former site of an 1891 YMCA building.  However, the land on which the Dana Auditorium stands actually has a history going back even further than the creation of Guilford or its predecessor, the New Garden Boarding School.  It has ties that go all the way back to the Revolutionary War.

The Battle of Guilford Courthouse was fought March 15, 1781 in which British troops defeated the Americans, leaving over 172 total casualties, and over 600 total wounded soldiers.  In order to assist the many wounded and dying, a field hospital sprang up nearby...directly on the site where the Dana Auditorium would be built.

Shortly after its completion, the Dana Auditorium obtained its haunted reputation.  Many believe the resident ghost is a man who they have dubbed Lucas, and who was a soldier who died at the field hospital from injuries sustained in battle.  Lucas almost always seems to make himself known at the same time each night:  2am, leaving a wake of security guards and the occasional late-night music student his prime targets.  Lucas, while seen and felt throughout the building, tends to favor only two rooms---the Moon Room and the Choir Room.  He especially enjoys playing one of the many pianos located in the Choir Room, and also messing with the locks.

In 1973, Lucas gave two security guards quite a fright, as they entered into the main auditorium to find one of the heavy chandeliers swaying on its own accord.  As they watched, the chandelier fell and crashed, leaving them both pretty shook up.

From time to time, Lucas is actually spotted.  A security guard turning a corner in the hall encountered a weathered looking man directly in front of him.  When questioned, the man said nothing, but turned and walked into the Moon Room.  Lucas has also been seen in the auditorium's balcony, along with another possible apparition. 

In more recent years, the ghost of a little dark haired girl wearing a white dress has been seen, and many say she's mischievous, and possibly, a little malicious.  One student staying late to rehearse on the piano noticed the little girl watching him in the Choir Room.  Creeped out, he immediately left.

As to the identity of this little girl, no one online has really brought forth any theories, however, it is interesting to note that Shadowlands actually has a listing for the Mary Hobbs Hall, a campus dormitory, being haunted by a little girl named Mary.  According to the legend, Mary had a slumber party with several friends in the attic of the home.  Some local boys, wishing to scare the girls, started throwing rocks through their window.  Somehow, a fire started, and Mary didn't make it out alive, and thus, now haunts the dormitory.

However, according to the college, Hobbs Hall was never this private residence as listed.  Rather, it was built in 1907 as a female dormitory and named after the wife of Guilford President, Lewis Lyndon Hobbs.  Mary Hobbs wished to improve educational opportunities for women with financial difficulties, and thus, set up Hobbs Hall as a co-op type facility where girls could live, and share the chores of cooking, cleaning, etc. as a way to support themselves.  By the 1940s, the attic of the building did house up to 12 seniors, which was considered a privileged location. 

There WAS a fire that broke out in the attic on November 29, 1976, caused by a curtain coming in contact with a curling iron. The impact of that fire, as seen in the blackened, charred remains of the attic, is still visible today, and is probably the basis of this legend.

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