by Malcolm Langner, Contributing Writer
Despite the terrors that came with 2020, nothing comes close to some of the spooky UMF stories which resurface during Halloween. Rumors swirl around buildings on campus, most are about Mallett Hall, Merrill Hall and Purington Hall. This Halloween is bound to bring back hidden memories and spirits which reside in them.
UMF was founded in 1864 as the state’s first public institution of higher education. With such a long history comes many stories—some good, some bad. One of the most common stories comes from the Nordica Auditorium in Merrill Hall. Here, there have always been whispers about Madame Nordica—a famous opera singer from Farmington in the late 1800s—haunting the hall.
Bob Samson, a part-time UMF police officer, can advocate for these hauntings. “One night I was conducting a foot patrol at about three in the morning. I had a person who was interested in police work shadowing me on my rounds. We were on the first floor of Merrill Hall when we heard a loud scream or screech. It sounded like a crow cawing, but louder,” Samson said. “I assumed someone had snuck into the building so I had that person stand in the hallway so he could see both exits. I went to the top floor and worked my way to the basement checking every room, every closet, every nook.”
Samson continued by saying, “The person I left in the hallway said no one left via either exit. I checked both exits and both sets of doors were locked and secured.”
Not everyone may believe in the supernatural, yet there is no doubt that something spooky took place that night in Merrill Hall.
Merrill Hall isn’t the only sketchy hall on campus. Mallett Hall is notorious for unexplainable phenomena, spooking students every year. Rumor has it that a woman died in the elevator of Mallett. Others say she killed herself. These rumors have led to many interesting nights in Mallett.
Kaci Bates, a sophomore at UMF, has a story of her own. “According to my roommate, I was sleeping one night and I shot up very suddenly. Apparently, I started singing the Happy Birthday song in a low, eerie whisper,” Bates said. “When I got to the verse ‘Happy Birthday dear *blank*’ I gasped and fell back asleep.” Now, maybe the hauntings of Mallett don’t have anything to do with this, but don’t be surprised if your roommate gets possessed for a few seconds if you live in Mallett.
This last story comes from Stone. Unlike the other halls Stone does not have an historical past, but nonetheless there are some blood curdling stories.
Ileah Arcand, a sophomore at UMF, was a resident in the basement of Stone her freshman year when she and her roommate pulled an all-nighter. “At about 3 a.m., we heard a horrible scream coming from the kitchen/laundry room down the hall,” Arcand said, getting chills about the memory. “Of course, we went to check to see if everything was okay. As we investigated we came to realize that there was nobody around.”
Unfortunately for Arcand, this wasn’t her only disturbance. “Another time, I went to the vending machine in the laundry room (the same room as the scream). As I walked in I noticed a group of people in the kitchen from the corner of my eye. When I turned to see who it was there was nobody there. I ran straight back to my room,” said Arcand. She also mentioned that she would constantly hear doors being slammed in the middle of the night, while there were only four others living on the floor.
These are just a few stories spread throughout the history of UMF. Whether these are ghosts or simple coincidences, they remain intriguing. “I think a lot of people experience things that have no explanation, like that screeching I heard. I have no idea what it was, but I know I heard it,” Samson said.
With Halloween coming up, it wouldn’t be shocking to hear a few more ominous, chilling tales during the spooky season.