This was a special treat. While ghost stories circulate around the University of Oklahoma’s campus, it is very rare for a paranormal team to be offered an opportunity to investigate there, and by all accounts no one had ever investigated Ellison Hall. Would we find the ghost of the rollerskating boy that is said to haunt there?
Originally named Hygeia Hall after the Greek goddess of health and well-being, Ellison Hall opened in 1928 as OU’s infirmary. In the early 1930s it was renamed to honor Dr. Gayfree Ellison, the Director of Student Health from 1920 until his death in 1932. In 1971 the building transition to the home of the University of Oklahoma Student Association, and now it serves in a variety of capacities including the Student Services Center, Native American Studies, African and African-American Studies, and the dean’s office and administrative staff.
Ellison Hall’s greatest legend is that of a boy who had been mortally wounded rollerskating down Elm Avenue during the depression. Staff attempted to save his life at Ellison Hall but were unable to. It is said on quiet nights he can be heard rollerskating down the hallways. Other sounds, such as people moving down the hallways, are heard as well, and staff witness motion activated lights being turned on in hallways and bathrooms when no one else is around.
Society of the Haunted was invited out to Ellison Hall as part of an upcoming college yearbook feature on the haunted aspects of OU, including our occult specialist, Chris Borthick, who is on staff at the college. We had access to all hallways and conference rooms, the administrative office on the third floor, and the basement. Beginning with the basement and working our way up, we swept each level before deciding to concentrate our efforts on the third floor, which had held the operating rooms during the building’s infirmary days, and the basement.
The basement was eerie, humid, and a tight fit. Now just a narrow hall lined with shelves for storage, it was apparent that the majority of the old area had been walled off, accessible only through a small, locked maintenance hatch. The staff on hand chaperoning our adventure were reluctant to confirm our suspicions about the basement wall, but they did tell us that the hatch is used to access the campus’s steam network and maintenance workers do not like venturing inside.
Although it was the third floor that we ended up concentrating our efforts, the second floor should not go unmentioned. We did hear some thumps emanating from behind a few of the locked doors, and the motion activated lights in one of the bathrooms flicked on when no one had entered. The sounds of someone walking around the first floor filtered up to the second floor lounge, but upon inspection by Andrew and some of the yearbook staff not a soul was found.
Activity on the third floor picked up as the night went on. Like the second floor, we could plainly hear movement and thumping about inside a number of the staff rooms that were locked to us. The main administrative area had a distinct feeling of pain and sadness, likely residual from its days as an operating area. It was up here that our psychic, Vanessa Hogle, offered the idea that the sound of rollerskates that people hear could actually be the sounds of hospital beds being rolled down the hall. Cathy Nance and Logan Corelli heard activity pick up at their end of the hall coming from both rooms and the stairwell. At times it sounded like someone was actually walking up the stairs but, again, no one was found.
There is more to come about this investigation as we continue to review evidence and compile our personal experiences.