School Spirit: Haunted places around UConn

 University of Connecticut’s Depot is home of the Mansfield Training School which used to be an institution for the mentally ill. The building is now abandoned and supposedly ‘haunted’. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

University of Connecticut’s Depot is home of the Mansfield Training School which used to be an institution for the mentally ill. The building is now abandoned and supposedly ‘haunted’. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut has been around since the 1880s, and with a constant influx of people, scientific studies and stress, this campus is undeniably haunted. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, this campus has seen a lot of faces through the years, and some may be just a bit more supernatural than others. Basically, someone call the Ghostbusters, because we might actually need them.

Before I was even a student here, I heard the rumors about Depot Campus. One look at the area and you can understand the talk. The brick buildings have their windows shattered or boarded up, are overgrown with vines and look close to falling apart. They’re also rumored to be covered in graffiti like “Get out” and “Red Water Flows” in red paint.

One of the buildings, the Mansfield Training School, used to be an institution for the mentally ill. Thus, it’s no surprise that students view it as a haunted, abandoned insane asylum like those featured in horror movies. Honestly, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t home to some paranormal activity. (Just a note: People have gotten arrested for trespassing in Depot Campus, so while being a Ghostbuster sounds great, this might not be the best place to try it).

Next on the list is the cemetery. New Storrs Cemetery, located next to North, has been around since the 1860s. It’s seven acres large and even contains the graves of the Storrs family. Between the obelisk, the crypt and the crumbling border walls, not to mention all of the graves, it’s most definitely haunted. I mean, it’s a graveyard: case closed.

Then, there are the cages in the UConn Forest, located behind Horsebarn Hill. UConn participated in a genetics project in the 1980s where they bred coyotes and beagles together. One of the so-called “Coydogs” (worth approximately $340,000) was even murdered by students. Some of the cages can still be found in the forest. Haunted? Maybe not. But the whole story is undeniably creepy.

And now for the fun stuff: UConn has a variety of rumors about haunted dorms. The most popular two are Eddy 501 and Busby 154.

A past resident of Eddy 501 allegedly killed themself, and students say the room is now haunted. People have reported feeling cold breezes within the dorm even when the window is closed and hearing knocks when no one is there.

Jacob Tomassi, a third-semester anthropology major who lives in Eddy, says he’s well aware of the rumors.

“I have heard stories of ghosts and places being haunted in Eddy,” Tomassi said. “Specifically on the fifth floor, as well as on my floor (the second). Some say that pieces of paper fly off the walls, while others say they witnessed items falling off walls.”

So, is it real?

“I don’t know,” Tomassi said. “Anything is possible.”

In an even more bizarre tale, Busby 154 is rumored to be haunted, and rooms 254, 354 and 444 supposedly feel the effects of it, too. Two students were in the dorm one night when they heard a knock on their door and opened it to have a World War II-era prosthetic limb fall onto their feet. They shut the door and left the leg there but awoke to find it inside their dorm the next morning. In the days afterward, they also reported hearing weird tapping and their microwave beeping at odd hours.

Nowadays, residents around the -54 rooms report hearing strange whistling sometimes.

Casey Wheeler, a third-semester undeclared major and a current resident of Busby 154, says he doesn’t really believe in the rumors.

“We actually just found out like two weeks ago since someone sent one of my suitemates an article about it,” he said. “We pretty much just think it’s funny that it’d happen to us. I don’t really believe any of it and I don’t think any of them do either.”

When asked if he’d experienced anything strange in the room, he said he hasn’t.

“Nothing weird has really happened at all,” Wheeler said. “To me, it just seems like the kids who it happened to were just being paranoid. Pretty cool thing for us to hear about near Halloween, though.”

Haunted or not, UConn is still home to a lot of fun legends. It’s up to you whether or not you want to believe the rumors.

Think your dorm is one of the few haunted? The Daily Campus has got you covered with an article on how to cleanse your dorm of supernatural energy. When in doubt, sage and religious symbols are your friends.

Say what you will about ghosts and the supernatural, but UConn has been here for so long that I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it was home to the paranormal. For all we know, the ghosts of Jonathans past are spending their days running through the fields on Horsebarn Hill. And honestly? All power to them.


Courtney Gavitt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at courtney.gavitt@uconn.edu.