Stories about haunted buildings along the Oval, such as Bricker and Orton halls, have become a beloved part of Ohio State lore. However, many younger generations of Buckeyes have grown more familiar with a different ghost story.
“I had more nightmares while living in Morrill (Tower) than I have experienced at any other point in my life,” second-year in exploration Trevor Thompkins said. “One night, I woke up and nearly yelled out because I thought someone was staring at me from my closet and was moving towards me.”
Thompkins lived in Morrill Tower as a first-year and, like many of his former suitemates, has his own version of the tower’s ghost story. Thompkins said it is rumored Jeffrey Dahmer, an infamous American serial killer, lived in room 541.
“I lived in 541. Of course I found this out after I moved in,” Thompkins said. “It was bizarre.”
It is rumored Dahmer lived in Morrill Tower for a short time before dropping out of school and joining the army. A representative at the University Registrar confirmed Dahmer did in fact attend OSU, but could not give out any information regarding his residence while here.
Many residents of Morrill Tower have heard different versions of the tale.
“I heard that some murderer died on the 13th floor and that now he haunts it,” second-year in biology Samantha Michalski said.
Michalski also spent her freshman year in Morrill Tower playing the game of ghost story telephone with previous tenants.
“The first time I heard it was from my dad, after he went on a tour with my older sister,” Michalski said. “Before I actually moved into Morrill Tower, I was told they shut down the 13th floor because it was so creepy to live on.”
The 13th floor of Morrill Tower is open.
Graphic novelist John Backderf, who writes under the pseudonym Derf Backderf, released the book “My Friend Dahmer,” which chronicles the life of his high school friend Dahmer. Backderf discusses Dahmer’s short time in Morrill Tower while at OSU on the blog for his graphic novel, myfrienddahmer.com.
Some students, including third-year in marketing major Lydia Backscheider, use websites such as Backderf’s blog as the source of inspiration for their haunted heralds.
Backscheider and her suitemates in Morrill Tower performed a séance during the final week of her freshman year.
“We started thinking about all the people who had lived in this room, began searching Jeffrey Dahmer, found sources on the Internet who confirmed that he lived there and just got carried away,” Backscheider said.
Backscheider said her suitemates dressed in crazy outfits, lit candles and were led through the séance by an app Backscheider purchased, Ghost Seance, which instructs users on summoning spirits.
“The whole building is just so creepy being so large and industrial,” Backscheider said. “When everyone had moved their stuff out, it looked a lot like an old insane asylum.”
Thompkins also said the dark, stuffy atmosphere of Morrill Tower could be a major factor in students thinking it is haunted.
“With a building so big that has housed so many people over the years, it’s not hard to believe that people would spread stories of weird things that have happened there,” Thompkins said.