Haunted History Comes to Life on Archives’ Ghost Tour 

By Phoebe Chen | Staff Writer

5 mins read

Just before Halloween, on Oct. 26 at 5:30 p.m., The Special Collections and University Archives hosted a walking ghost tour on campus. Drew was ranked the ninth most haunted campus in The United States by Collegeconsensus.com

Due to the large attendance, the group split into two groups. The first group was  led by the Manager of Special collections, Candace Reilly, and the second was led by University Archivist Matthew Beland. Each group stopped at a variety of buildings that have reported ghost sightings. 

Hoyt Hall, a residence hall which used to serve as an asylum, has a deep history with strange spirits. The most prominent spirit is said to be the ghost of a woman  named Carol, though there is no evidence as to where this name came from. “I heard she doesn’t like men, and she plays with my lights,” said Sophia Patti (‘23), who moved into the fourth floor of Hoyt this semester where the majority of Carol’s interactions with the living world have taken place. According to Reilly, this could be the reason why the fourth floor of Hoyt is strictly reserved for women. 

The S.W. Bowne’s Great Hall, a building modeled after the Oxford Christ Church Hall, is said to hold the ghost of its founder, Bowne, himself. “If I were a ghost, I feel like I would definitely haunt this place,” said Reilly, noting the beauty of the building. Apparently, the heavy metal chandeliers that hang off the ceiling’s decorative pillars are known to swing, even though there is no wind in the building. There have also been accounts of a man with gold spectacles at the top stairwell and a mysterious handprint in the cement in the basement.

Photo courtesy of Dee Cohen.

Drew University is home to the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre which hosts the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. This is where a ghost named Reggie has made his home. Before the building hosted Shakespearean plays, it was the Bound Gymnasium. Reggie is said to have had an accident in the basement’s pool and drowned. This ghostly presence is known to play with the lights and hide the actors’ costumes behind the scenes. Anya Chachkes (‘23) whispered to a group of friends, “About once a year, I see the lights flicker, and then they just shut off when I get too close.” It is a theory that if Reggie is acknowledged, he is easier to handle. The actors of the theatre make sure to say goodnight to Reggie when they leave for the night.

Mead Hall, a mansion originally built in 1832, is the oldest building on the University’s campus. It is believed to be haunted by Daniel Drew’s wife, Roxanna Mead Drew. Roxanna’s portrait in the foyer will tilt to the side after being straightened, and some have said that they notice her eyes following them as they walk past. To add to this spooky detail, Mead Hall endured a fire in August of 1989. During the fire, a firefighter reported a woman in a long, white dress trapped in one of the mansion’s second floor rooms. When another firefighter rushed in to save her, she was nowhere to be seen. No one with a long white dress was on record of working at Mead Hall that day either. 

At Drew’s Seminary Hall, there have been reports of chandeliers randomly swaying. Late-night studiers in the building have reported hearing church services when no one is in the chapel. Some people have even heard the organ playing on its own and people singing hymns. “There are theories that the ghosts travel between buildings,” stated Reilly. It could be possible that they all gather at Seminary Hall to cause this haunting ruckus.To learn more about Drew’s haunted history, visit https://haunteddrew.com/ or contact the Drew Archives at speccol@drew.edu to join the next scheduled annual ghost tour.

Featured photo courtesy of Dee Cohen.

1 Comment

  1. Hi. Thanks for the story. I’m Matthew Beland, the guy in the academic robes in this article. I appreciate the, ahem, spirit of this article, but I must say that there is no evidence in the University Archives (or anywhere else) of Hoyt having ever “served as an asylum.” It’s always been a dormitory for (sometimes stressed but never insane) students.

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