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The Appalachian

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Hauntings of residence past: Legends of Coffey Residence Hall

To upperclassmen at Appalachian State University, the name Coffey Residence Hall might ring a bell. To new students and underclassman, the name could have no meaning.

Coffey residence hall before it was demolished in June of 2010. The dormitory was said to be haunted by the ghost of a man that committed suicide. Courtesy of Appalachian State University Special Collections
Coffey residence hall before it was demolished in June of 2010. The dormitory was said to be haunted by the ghost of a man that committed suicide. Courtesy of Appalachian State University Special Collections

Built in 1953 and once home to the Honors College, Coffey Hall stood in place of the current Summit Residence Hall.

Former Summit resident, Andrew Clausen said he has never heard of the old building that once stood.

“I lived on the second floor of Summit and I never once heard of Coffey Hall,” Clausen said.

So, in the commotion of building a bigger and better residence hall, old legends began to be forgotten.

In Appalachian’s earlier years, Coffey Hall was utilized as apartments for faculty. During that time, a professor who went by the name of Max took up residence there.

Rumor has it that Max took his own life in the bathroom of room 311 and stories say he continuously haunted the third floor and room 311 of Coffey.

During the mid-1980s, an unidentified psychic from Blowing Rock had visions of a local dormitory. These visions consisted of an old church graveyard on a hill, a dormitory in the west and a side entry door. Students identified this location as Coffey.

In this vision, the psychic entered the building and saw blood spewing out from under doors and into hallways. This vision also consisted of the recurring appearance of the date Oct. 31.

Students who took up residence in Coffey could identify with this legend because strange occurrences frequently happened.

Another paranormal instance that persistently revealed itself was the White Lady.

Proclaimed to have been buried in a graveyard under Cone Residence Hall, the White Lady used to present herself to students by roaming outside  resident’s windows on the second and third floor.

In 2010, Coffey Hall was demolished.  Along with its destruction, the hauntings of Max and the White Lady vanished.

“I wish I knew about this old residence hall because I lived on the second floor where these paranormal things happened, but everything was fine when I lived there, nothing strange or out of the norm,” Clausen said.

Story: Jessica Hawkins, Contributor

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    Stephanie OtrantoAug 5, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    I lived in Coffey Hall for three semesters (Spring 2007 / Fall 2007 / Spring 2008). I had an unusual experience during Spring 2007 midterms. I was in my room alone finishing up a midterm paper. My laptop was plugged in, and I had just saved all my work thankfully. Seconds later I saw out of the corner of my eye the bathroom light flicker and go off. Followed by the hallways light flickering and going off shortly after. I thought something was shorting out and got up to investigate, when everything when dark all at once. I stood in the dark and remembering (Max) the ghost, I jokingly said Max have you had your fun. The lights all came back on at once right after I said that. I checked outside my room and someone passed by, and I asked if they noticed the power go out everywhere and they said nope. I checked my laptop and (grateful for that last save) realized that even though plugged in had zero battery and wouldn’t turn back on. That was my only strange experience while living there.

    Aside from playful ghosts, it was a wonderful dorm. It was like a close knit family. It’s where I met my husband in the Fall 2007 semester. I still have a brick from the steps where we met.

    Stephanie (James) Otranto
    Alumni 2010

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