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Haunted housing

The Appalachian Online

The rumored ghost of East Residence Hall is famous enough across the state to have a personal page on, a website dedicated to North Carolina legends of haunted areas.

East Hall, established in Appalachian’s early years as a teachers college, is the original dorm on campus and considered the spookiest by many students who inhabit its walls. The basement hosts the Office of Sustainability, where paranormal activity stems from, freshman Haley Bennett said.

“There’s a bricked-in door downstairs,” Bennett said, “and it seems like the kind of place you would hide bodies. I’ve heard plenty of stories — my friends mirror shattered when she wasn’t in the room and another friend’s water bottle flew of the desk.”

According to, the hauntings may be linked to the suicide of a student in the 1970s. While the death of a student is not confirmed in Appalachian State’s archives, freshman Hayley Perusek said the hauntings are likely the work of multiple ghosts.

“The first week of school I could feel a ghost’s presence and the first two weeks of school the ghost was in my room,” Perusek said. “I know because I woke up at two or three in the morning and I could feel something. I was really freaked out and I asked it to go away before I went back to sleep and had a nightmare — I never have nightmares.”

The incidents in East Hall seem harmless, Perusek said. Often, her sink cuts on and off.

“One night my sink full turned on, and I was so freaked out I started yelling at my roommates, ‘The ghost is here!’ She got up to turn it off, but then 15 minutes later it did it again.”

East Hall is not the only dorm on campus rumored to be haunted. Sophomore Katie Pate reports continuous paranormal activity in her dorm at the Living Learning Center.

“I’m not entirely sure why the LLC is said to be haunted — many call it Hogwarts so maybe that has something to do with it,” she said. “Everyone who has a story says they hear strange things or that things in their room will move when no one is there. One of the resident assistants told me that during her training, before any of the residents moved in, she would hear something tapping on the wall in the next room.”

Pate has lived in the LLC for two years. During her freshman year, Pate said her Zippo lighter disappeared and reappeared only to fall on her head from the top shelf of her closet.

“This year I live in the suite above the archway and things have been getting weirder and weirder by the day,” she said. “Things have been falling off of our desks. I hear doors open in the middle of the night when no one is coming or going, and my suite mate saw the door handle to the bathroom be pushed down and pop back up while it was empty.”

The scariest encounters, Pate said, stem from opening and closing closet doors and nightmares that plague her suite mate. The nightmares result in an encounter more corporeal than most students are used to.

“My suite mate has had dreams where she is talking to a ghost and wakes up sitting up in her bed, holding its hands. She will sleep walk out of the room,” she said. “This week a guy who lives on my hall had a white board come off of his wall. I went to go look at it and it looked like it had been thrown from the wall and was flipped upside down.”

Summit Hall, the honors dorm on campus, opened four years ago. Despite the relative newness of the dorm, junior Dagan Danevic reports haunted happenings from the start of the semester. Since then, the ghost has not returned.

“My roommate and I have bed rails for the bed that’s now bunked,” he said, “and we walked in and everything was fine. They were leaning against the wall next to my bathroom, and when my roommate and I turned around it was perfectly positioned against the door, flush. It was like bars on the door. We were locked in for a minute and freaked out. My only guess is it somehow got hung on the door, but that explanation doesn’t make sense.”

Despite reports from the LLC and Summit, the most intense encounters still occur in East.

“My second day or third day at East I was sleeping and my roommate was coughing,” alumna Alexa Smith said. “I thought she was dying, and then I heard the words ‘no, I need a psychiatrist.’ It did not sound like my roommate. I turned around and there was this thing, this figure right in front of me, and it came right at me. I could feel myself screaming but I could not physically move.”

After the encounter, Smith called her mom but did not report the incident to her roommate until later. Smith’s roommate did not want to stay in the dorm after hearing her story.

“I don’t really know what happened to it,” she said. “My purpose was to physically move and I couldn’t. I just felt paralyzed from the shock. I didn’t tell anyone but my mom until three months afterward. I didn’t know how to talk about it.”

Sophomores Lainey Triplett and Maura Macchia lived in East for the 2014-2015 school year, and both witnessed the ghost traveling in the hallways. The two did not immediately confide in each other about the sightings.  Triplett noticed an unidentified female while packing up to leave home for one weekend.

“I was going down the steps and up to pack up our cars and I saw this girl walking down the hall,” she said. “There was a light emerging for her, I couldn’t tell who it was so I tried to identify her. She was wearing white pajamas and was really pale, I didn’t get close enough to see who it was and then later I saw her again and I mentioned it to [Macchia].”

Macchia felt shocked to discover her roommate also saw the figure. Macchia once encountered a “pale girl with red hair” standing by the sink in the sub level bathroom. She was not a person from the dorm or a friend of anyone on the floor, Macchia said.

“I was trying see who it was,” Macchia said, “and this sounds weird but when I looked in the mirror I couldn’t see her face or make out her features. To this day I can’t tell you what her face looks like. I saw her again walking into my room and I saw her turn the corner and I knew it was her because she was so pale- I never saw her with anyone else.”

At the beginning of the year, the girls kept a ghost encounter tally sheet on the front of their door. The floor collectively kept track of ghostly happenings.

“We were bringing it on ourselves, and once we took the counter down everything stopped until we started seeing the girl,” Triplett said.

The encounters intensify overtime as Halloween approaches, Pate said. Although she never considered leaving the LLC because of paranormal activity, she and her friends have taken other measures to avoid encounters.

“Honestly, we have said prayers, we have salted the rooms and I sleep with an amethyst under my pillow, but maybe it is all just superstitious,” she said.

Like all superstitions, the ghost of East Hall has its skeptics. In the spirit of Halloween, The Rotten Appal, Appalachian State’s unaffiliated parody news source, published an article titled “East Hall Ghost Actually Kind of Hot.”

Perusek sticks by her story that ghosts haunt the residence hall.

“There are definitely ghosts here. Everyone thinks it’s a joke but they’re here,” Perusek said. “Nothing really super scary happens, it’s just scary because it’s ghosts… they’re just terrifying because you can’t see them but you can feel them.”

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