At over 100 years old, Maryville College has no shortage of ghost stories about almost every building on campus. Over the years, these legends have been passed down from student to student as well as collected in old publications of the Highland Echo, telling the stories of MC’s ghostly residents.
The most written about ghost at Maryville College is Whiskers, the ghost that is said to reside in Anderson Hall. His first appearance was as a character in a short, fictional story titled “Whiskers” by MC alumni Weldon Hila in 1930.
However, in the years after being written, the ghost in the story seems to have taken on a life of its own. Reports began to appear in Highland Echo articles as early as 1981, paired with testimonial from students and faculty members alike, claiming to have witnessed something paranormal in Anderson Hall.
The legend of Whiskers, spurred on by these experiences, continued to blur the lines between reality and fiction with some claiming that Whiskers was an old night watchman who had lost his leg in an unknown accident, while others said that he is the ghost of a Civil War soldier whose leg was amputated on campus and never returned to him.
The only consistencies in his story throughout the years are Whiskers’ elderly appearance, his peg leg and his ghostly mission to find his missing appendage.
Another ghost documented by the Highland Echo resides in Pearsons Dining Hall, from a time when Pearsons was a dormitory. A female student apparently died on the fourth floor, either in a fire or by suicide depending on who is telling the story.
In the beginning she was said to appear before students in the dormitory on the fourth floor, but after Pearsons was rebuilt and the fourth floor no longer existed, the stories did not stop. Instead reports came in that the ghostly student was spotted on Pearsons second floor, in the basement and even on the roof of the building, pacing the space where her dormitory room once was.
There is also the story of the Woman in White who is supposed to haunt the upper floor of the House in the Woods. Her origins are unknown, although some speculate that she is the ghost of the house’s original owner, Mrs. Walker.
The story is that if you walk by the House in the Woods at night and look up into the windows, sometimes you can see a spectral woman dressed all in white, continuously pacing the upper rooms and constantly combing her long hair.
However, the most famous female ghost written about in the Highland Echo archives is Lily. She haunted the old Maryville College Theatre that existed before the Clayton Center was built. Lily was said to have been a theatre student from many years ago who worked backstage but always wanted to be an actress.
According to reports from students in the Highland Echo from 1993, Lily continued to be a part of the theatre she loved having been spotted on the catwalks during shows and rehearsals, always seen in her favorite costume, a black and white dress.
These are only a handful of the ghost stories that have circulated around campus over the years. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the stories are a creepy but interesting part of Maryville College’s history.