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Spooky stories still haunt Glenville State College

GLENVILLE – Many have claimed to have had paranormal experiences at Glenville State College (GSC) over the years. Authors and ghost hunters alike have researched and investigated sightings in Clark Hall, Louis Bennett Hall, Pickens Hall, and the Administration Building. Many say the ghost in these buildings is “Sis Linn.” Stories about her haunting the GSC campus have circulated since at least the 1970s, not only around Halloween, but all year long.

Sarah Louisa Linn was born in 1853. She was trained as a teacher and was the only graduate of the Glenville Branch of the West Virginia State Normal School (now Glenville State College) in 1877. She taught classes in Glenville and Fairmont before marrying I. L. Chrisman in June of 1905 at her home where Clark Hall currently stands on campus. After their short marriage ended, Sarah changed her name back to Linn and ran a boarding house out of her home for female students. In February of 1919, she was found bludgeoned to death in her home. Locals were stunned by what was called the “Foulest and Most Bloodthirsty Crime Ever Perpetrated in Gilmer County” by The Glenville Democrat.

Linn’s gravesite lies in the cemetery adjacent to Glenville’s campus, and some say she still roams the campus looking for her killer.

Five years after the murder, officials from Glenville Normal School purchased Linn’s property, razed the house, and built Verona Maple Hall, a modern women’s dormitory for the time. Many said the dormitory was also haunted. After Verona Maple Hall was demolished years later, those spending time in the neighboring Clark Hall began to experience paranormal activity as well.

Haunted Accounts

GSC Associate Professor of Education Connie Stout O’Dell had an experience in Clark Hall. “It was just before the summer session started, and I was in my office on the top mezzanine,” Stout O’Dell said. She was grading papers when she heard a horrible noise. “It sounded like metal chairs being thrown around and as if people were moving metal desks.” She said that the noise lasted for ten to twelve minutes. “I thought it was the secretary moving things around downstairs.” She stopped grading papers and thought for a moment…it was odd because the noise sounded like it was coming from downstairs, upstairs, and the space behind the offices. So she decided to go downstairs to see what was going on. Before she got to mezzanine two, she thought to herself, “What if this is Sis Linn?” Just as she had that thought, the noises stopped and there was complete silence. She left and found the secretary who had been out of the building for over an hour; Stout O’Dell had been in the building alone.

GSC Associate Professor of Education Dr. Kevin Cain was working late one evening alone in Clark Hall. He was in his office on the second floor when something peculiar happened. “I heard metal chains dragging on the floor and then the sound of a door closing; it sounded like a prison door closing,” Cain said. He then took his work home with him and left the building for the evening. “After that, I started taking my work home all the time!”

Student Support Services Project Director Jerry Burkhammer said that when Louis Bennett Hall was a men’s dormitory, there were strange occurrences five years in a row. These occurrences happened in room 225 on the first night freshmen stayed in the dorms. Burkhammer recalls the story of a former student who said he was awakened during his first night in the room. The student claimed he saw a lady dressed in white at the foot of the bed who spoke to him. Louis Bennett Hall rooms are now used as faculty and staff offices and many still report unexplained noises and sightings. Employees say they often hear running back and forth in the halls, report lights turning on and off by themselves, and often witness the elevator opening and closing without an occupant.

Glenville State College’s beautiful campus holds almost 150 years of history. Despite the occasional unexplained occurrence, most people brush the experiences off as the sounds of old buildings settling and simple campus folklore. A haunted GSC? That’s for you to decide!

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