Families Uncover Drew’s Haunted History on the Archives Tour

By Rosalie Sapperstein

3 mins read

This year’s family weekend offered fun and interesting activities for Drew students and their visiting families. True to the fall season and enthusiasm for Halloween celebration, Drew organized an early “Drew Ghost Walk Through Campus” on Oct. 8, 2022. 

Beginning in the Archives, the tour kicked off with ghost stories before University Archivist Matthew Beland set off and told tales of Drew’s haunted buildings. Mead Hall was the first stop. It is known for stories of “bumps in the night,” with ghost sightings dating back to a fire on Aug. 24, 1989, when two firefighters reported seeing a woman in white disappear when they reached out towards her. Next, Beland brought tour-goers to Seminary Hall where there have been rumors of hauntings with reports of the organ repeatedly being played at night and mysterious lights flickering. At the third stop, The Kirby Shakespeare Theater, a ghost is deemed responsible for playing with the light fixtures and moving props around. The third tour group even gave the ghost the affectionate nickname of “Reggie.” The tour concluded at Hoyt Hall where there was an opportunity to have a discussion with Beland. Attendees asked how the annual ghost tours started and what they have to offer current student life at Drew.

“We were looking for ways for the library to interest undergraduate students in Drew’s history, and the library in general,” said Beland about the ghost tours’ origins, which span back to 2016. “And we thought, ‘Why not ghosts?’ because we sort of knew that Drew had some ghost lore, and we ran with that.” The tours started out small at first, consisting only of talks accompanied by pictures of the buildings. “It’s evolved since then to now,” Beland said. “We’re actually doing real tours.”

“Just come and explore and see where it leads,” said Beland to any students interested in future events. “For me, I connect it all to the history of this place—the documented history, the photography, the stories of the people.” 

The tours offer students a chance to learn more about the history of Drew. It is a great way to be a part of campus festivities, especially during the Halloween season. There is another upcoming ghost tour later this month on Oct. 26, 2022, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., starting at the Archives. For more details, and to get in touch with the ghostly side of Drew, visit https://haunteddrew.com/.

Featured image courtesy of Dee Cohen.

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