Tour ASU's 'haunted' hallowed halls

An old operating room at the Polytechnic campus

There are things that go bump in the night for no apparent reason.

Arizona State University carries within its hallowed halls stories of spirits that purportedly haunt the university.

There are tales of a boy with a red balloon who wanders the former barracks at the Polytechnic campus. And, if you ever think you hear a phantom bark at the Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory, you may be experiencing the ghost of a dog who is rumored to haunt the building at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Other select ASU “haunted” places:

• Matthews Center has many stories associated with ghosts such as a librarian who reportedly died there during a fire who still frequents the place and another woman who lost her life in the building and supposedly stalks workers who toil in the basement of the building late at night.

• The Community Services Building on Curry Road is a former tuberculosis and children’s hospital where people have mentioned eerie, unexplained occurrences such as things falling off shelves and doors closing. Some have reported hearing the sounds of children playing in the building’s halls while others feel a spooky presence at night.

• A spirit has purportedly been sighted at the old Williams Air Force Base Hospital on the Polytechnic campus. One ASU employee whose department had storage there recalls walking through a door from a modern, remodeled university room into an area that was like walking into the 1940s complete with an old operating room, olive drab tiles on the floors and walls and lights and cabinets on both sides of the room. He went farther into the space and found an old scrub area and an autoclave used to sterilize instruments. Enormous four-feet in diameter parabolic lights were still hung in the operating room creating an “absolutely creepy” atmosphere.

During a different journey into the rooms from yesteryear, the employee opened a door and scared the daylights out of two ASU staff members who stammered, “You came out of there! You know that’s haunted, don’t you?” One of the two employees who had been in the old area alone reported seeing someone walk across a doorway. The other staffer said she went home that night and dreamed that she was in the area near the autoclave and saw the word “Jason” being written into the dust on top of one of the cabinets “by nothing.”

• The Virginia G. Piper Writers House once served as the home of the university’s presidents. There is a rumor that the home is frequented by the ghost of Dixie Gammage, wife of President Grady Gammage. She became an invalid and was confined to the house’s second floor where she stayed until she passed away. After her death, she was purportedly seen on occasion walking past second-story windows dressed in a bathrobe and wearing a hat.

• There are stories about a spirit inhabiting the halls of the U.S. Post Office on the Downtown Phoenix campus. Rumors of people walking in the hall with no one there and doors closing on their own accord persist.

• Another story tells the tale of Native American warriors who allegedly roamed the halls of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at night. Bones loaned to the territorial college by the U.S. Army in the past reportedly were stored in the building. The ghosts apparently disappeared when the bones were repatriated to the tribes.

There are also tales of African spirits in the building who were linked to skeletal remains there and a few people claim to have experienced the ghost of a former professor who seemed to be a friendly sort at least.