As Halloween rolls around, so do the numerous ghost stories that have developed about Ohio State’s campus over the years.
Ohio State historian David Kellough has lived in the University District for 20 years, and has spent much of his time collecting and relaying ghost stories to the people on campus.
“There have been murders, suicides, drug overdoses and broken hearts. All of these fuel the ghosts that are all over this campus,” Kellough said.
One story that resurfaces this time of year is about Herbert Atkinson, the ghost of Bricker Hall.
Atkinson, a member of the Ohio State class of 1913, was described as the big man on campus.
As a member of junior class honorary, varsity basketball, the cheerleading squad and a fraternity on campus, there was not much that Atkinson missed out on.
Following his time as an Ohio State student, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees for 20 years and enjoyed his frequent visits back to the campus he had always admired.
Atkinson’s love for this school never faded, and his final request was that his ashes remain on this campus, specifically in Bricker Hall.
This building is home to many offices including the Board of Trustees and the office of University President Michael Drake.
The ashes of Atkinson remain between the first and second floors in Bricker Hall, masked by a commemorative plaque on the wall.
“Every once in a while there will be an event in this building and a strange looking man will be seen hovering around the edge of the room,” Kellough said. “If he is in fact a ghost, he is going to lead a round of ‘Carmen Ohio.’ He is definitely known to be a happy ghost.”
Even for those who don’t believe in ghosts, Kellough said the stories that have been passed down through generations in the Ohio State community and are a staple part of the history on campus.
“There is some part of me that doubts all of the stories, but they are fun to tell,” Kellough said.
However, not everyone is sold on Atkinson’s ghost still roaming the halls.
“I have never had any personal experience or felt anyone’s presence in the building, but I have definitely heard his story over the course of the time that I have worked here,” said
Kirsten Duris, a third-year in political science and employee at Bricker Hall.
Another story that resurfaces this time of the year is that of the lady in the pink dress who is said to haunt Pomerene Hall and Mirror Lake.
Kellough tells the story of Frederick Converse Clarke, a professor at the university and head of the department of economics and sociology, who shot himself on a hill by Mirror Lake in 1903 after an investment had gone wrong.
Angered at the university for not offering more help to her beloved husband, Clarke’s widow threatened to forever haunt the place of his death.
Students still occasionally notice the figure of a woman in a pink dress floating across the lake amid the fog over the water –– or construction.