Ghost stories reveal WSU’s haunted history

WSU archivist examines history of ghost in Smith Gym, two residence halls



Stevens Hall, supposedly haunted by a ghostly Black Cat, Nov. 2nd.


Trigger warning: This article contains graphic information in relation to death

As a chilly breeze brushes the shoulders of students walking around campus, some might pause to wonder whether it is simply the cool autumn air or something more frightful.

WSU’s campus is home to a number of ghost stories and mysteries, many of which stem from events that happened throughout the school’s history.

“There was a [person] who blew himself up with dynamite in Perham Hall, and people often [mistake the building]  as Streit … The guy in Perham Hall definitely did blow himself up, blowing out several windows at the time,” said WSU Archivist Mark O’English.

In 1979, the man was estranged from his girlfriend and he traveled to WSU Pullman to try to get back with her, bringing dynamite with him, O’English said. While the building was evacuated, the man blew himself up in his ex-girlfriend’s room, killing himself and injuring three students and two police officers in the process.

It is said that students have reported seeing a ghost in the area on multiple occasions and some believe it is the same man, according to Our Story.

O’English also said a former custodian believed Smith Gym might be haunted by a ghost as well. Several years ago, the former custodian wanted to research the death of Helen Smith, who the gym was named after.

“He just had come to the belief that it was her [ghost] in Smith Gym, and he was seeing or hearing things that were her,” he said.

While WSU has had many ghost stories over the years, there have also been mysteries on campus that remain unsolved to this day.

“[There was a] girl in … Stevens Hall who just disappeared one night, and they found … blood there. There was a piece of the rug [in her dorm room that] was literally cut out and missing, and she was found later down toward Lewiston, [Idaho] killed,” O’English said.

The student’s body was discovered rolled up in the piece of the rug that was missing from her dorm room in 1971, according to a WSU Insider article.

Emily Anderson, a junior biology major, said she has heard of another death in Stevens Hall from a couple of students. 

“They used to have teatime or something like that [in Stevens Hall] and one of the girls died. I heard something along those lines,” she said.

Anderson said she has a friend that greets the supposed ghost each time he walks by the hall. She said she has also heard the story of Orton Hall more often than others on campus.

“The one in Orton, I would hear Orton residents say ‘oh yeah since this place is haunted,’” Anderson said. 

The ghost of Railroad Sam, allegedly haunts the 12th floor of Orton Hall and appears when trains pass through the city, according to Our Story.

While he is known as the resident ghost of Orton Hall, little is known about him. Some believe he haunts the hall because it has the best view of the railroad tracks, while others speculate Railroad Sam or one of his children used to live in Orton Hall.