Athens is a sleepy small city located in the lower southeastern region of Ohio. With a population just barely above 28,000, this area of the state, at one point in its history, had a fairly large Native American tribal presence from the Shawnee. Whether some are buried in the land of Athens remains up for debate, as does the location of bodies from the former Athens Lunatic Asylum. But what do these final resting places have to do with paranormal activity at Ohio University?
Ohio University was founded in 1804 and was actually started years earlier and was recognized as the first chartered university in the state of Ohio under the former Congress of the Confederation. The first three students enrolled at the university in 1809, while the first-ever bachelor’s degrees were granted in 1815. As the years rolled by, more degrees and programs were added to this public research university which has an endowment somewhere in the $570 million dollar range as well as a student population hovering near 20,000. With so much mild-mannered academic success, what truly lurks in the shadows at Ohio University?
Is Ohio University Haunted?
The most haunted place on campus is said to be Wilson Hall. This dormitory residence was actually built in 1964 and named after former alumni Hiram Wilson. Standing at a simple four stories, this all brick co-ed building has been anything but quiet. Students have claimed that Room 428 has given off the most supernatural activity. The door has opened and closed without anyone there to do it. Disembodied voices are said to be heard emanating from not only the room but down the hallway, as well along with on and off again pockets of freezing cold air. The activity has been surprisingly active as objects have been seen both levitating and being thrown across the room by an unseen force. In fact, students have claimed to see very demonic-looking faces in the door and threshold of the room!
Origins for the paranormal activity here have been lent themselves to a blend of fact and oral folklore. Sometime in the early 1970s, a female student lived in the room who was a heavy practitioner of astral projection. Astral projection is the meditative practice of spiritually leaving one’s physical body to discover the different vibrational conscious planes of existence. It is incredibly dangerous because not only is returning the spirit back into the body nearly impossible, but the physical body can also be temporarily inhabited by a malevolent entity. Eventually, the young woman committed suicide in a bizarre ritual and the room has been sealed shut. Did her own astral projection experiences cause her suicide? Or was it perhaps demon driven? Bizarrely enough, Wilson Hall is situated midpoint in an actual pentagram of cemeteries!
There are surrounding cemeteries that if you look at the campus geographically, Wilson Hall sits dead center of them all including the remains of Shawnee members as well as those from the Athens Lunatic Asylum. Paranormal theorists speculate that the pentagram itself is used in conjurations of very powerful magic and the fact that Wilson Hall is central to them has some wondering if this were the epicenter of some bizarre ritual, given Room 428’s history. Is the power from the mystical practices of the Shawnee? Or the negative energy associated with the asylum? Today Room 428 is still sealed and these questions remain largely unanswered, but if one is in Wilson Hall please steer clear of Room 428. Or not.