Haunted Central Michigan University

Written by Mark A. France

Warriner Hall on the Central Michigan University campus is said to be haunted by an actress who died during a performance. The story says she was downstairs and tried to call upstairs to a friend using an out of commission dumbwaiter shaft. When she stuck her head inside the shaft, the dumbwaiter came crashing down and she was beheaded…or so so the story goes…
Ever since this “incident,” people claim they have seen strange blue lighting that accompanies her specter. She appears to stagehands and actors and is somewhat of a prankster, dropping lights, gels, and ladders.

Here are some accounts of personal paranormal experiences from my time at Central Michigan University back in the early ’90s. – Mark A. France

It’s funny, at how many locations on the CMU campus are reportedly haunted. So, during the school year, in 1993, the campus cable show I was working on, “Crosstalk”, decided to do a Halloween special called, “Crosstalk From Beyond”, based on the hauntings of Central Michigan University. We brought in a psychic student – Sarah Hunter – who claimed to see the dead, as well as a friend of mine who stated she could sense presences.

The producer of the show, Cindy Zastrow, also a past member of M.P.R.S. selected a number of locations to investigate for the show, which included Warriner Hall, Bush Theatre, and the old Barnard Hall dorm (which has since been torn down).

My job for this particular project was to investigate any and all claims, as well as hosting the cable segment on Bush Theatre. I spoke with a number of faculty members who had worked in each location over the years and checked out public records and newspaper clippings in the college library.

Warriner Hall

For Warriner Hall, I discovered the legend of the “elevator ghost.” It is said that the ghost has been sighted in the rafters, as well as touching actors behind curtains or appearing as a mist. In speaking with one of the employees at the Hall, another portion of the story unfolded on how a group decided to use a Ouija board on the stage of the theatre in Warriner. No sooner had the group begun, than a thick blue mist floated down from the rafters. This story was also reported in the local newspaper.

While investigating Warriner, we toured the stage area, the catwalks, the basement beneath the theatre, the location of the elevator, and even investigated the clock tower, where another legend – which has no documentation – talks of a pair of star-crossed lovers who committed suicide together by leaping from the clock tower during the witching hour, years ago.

There were a number of occurrences that we encountered during our investigation. The first occurred while touring the basement area, below the theatre. A number of the crew from the cable show claimed to feel a presence, while we also experienced some electrical difficulties. As we checked out the elevator, Cindy had her own experience as she was leaning over the break between the floor and the elevator itself, peering down the actual shaft. The area about the elevator was cold and a number of us crowded around as Cindy described what she saw down the elevator shaft. A moment later, she jerked back, nearly falling to the floor. Afterward, she stated that she felt a gust of cold air coming up from the shaft and passing “through” her.

My own experience came as we were investigating the clock tower. Having a member of staff along with us, the hour had just turned to midnight and a few of us were eager to climb the steel ladder leading to the top of the clock. As I was climbing up, there was a break between portions of the tower, a space that had glass windows around the exterior of the tower. Stopping a moment, I peered across the shadowed space towards the windows and I saw what appeared to be the face of an old man, bearded and wrinkly, staring back at me. I immediately descended the ladder and refused to go back up.

“Stopping a moment, I peered across the shadowed space towards the windows and I saw what appeared to be the face of an old man, bearded and wrinkly, staring back at me. I immediately descended the ladder and refused to go back up.”

Bush Theatre

Speaking with a faculty member named Doris, I found out that a member of maintenance had died one evening while cleaning near the theatre classrooms. Doris stated that she knew the man to be kind-hearted and it was sad when she discovered that he had been found sitting on a set of stairs, dead from a heart attack. Doris also stated that since his death, a presence could be felt around the theatre. With psychic Sarah Hunter along with us, we checked out the main floor of the theatre, where she stated she saw the apparition of a man near the front stage doors.

Barnard Hall

The final location, which, for me, was the most interesting, was Barnard Hall. With a story, well documented through newspapers, Barnard drew a nice-sized crew for the cable recording. Psychic Sarah Hunter joined us, as well as my friend who claimed to sense presences and a former staff member to be interviewed in the main entry area of the hall.

Having been closed, due to low enrollment, Barnard was opened just for our investigation. The air outside was chilly and rain fell briefly before we entered. As Cindy and some of the others set up to interview the former staff member, Sarah Hunter, my friend Robin and I made our way through the hall, along with several crew members. Without hesitation, Sarah guided us to a room, which she claimed to be the one where Carolyn had died. This was confirmed by the former staff member.

Cold spots were felt near one of the windows and Sarah stated that Carolyn was there with us. Equipped with a Ouija board, Sarah and Robin entered the dorm bedroom, set up the board and began asking a number of questions while I wrote them down on some paper and recorded the answers. After all the questions were asked and answered, I proceeded down to the main lobby, where I asked the same questions to the staff member to see if he could confirm the answers. Every question, he answered the same as the Ouija board. Afterward, a number of us checked out the attic area, where it was said the ghost of Carolyn would often roam.

The creepiest part came when we were leaving. As I looked up at the front of Barnard Hall, I noticed a window standing open in the attic section, just above where Carolyn’s room had been.

Have you had a paranormal experience at Central Michigan University?

4 + 1 =