Column: We've got spirits, yes we do! Look at us, we're number 2!

PROFESSOR MARC EATON stands in the basement of West Hall — one of the places he’s helped investigate for ghosts. Ian Stepleton photo

I have a friend; let’s call him Ben.

Back when I was a student at Ripon College, he told me tales you wouldn’t believe of, well, otherworldly happenings in his room in Bovay Hall.

Take, for example, this story of what happened one year upon returning from a Thanksgiving-weekend trip; he regaled me again with the tale last week.

First, he found his lamp on, though he was sure it was off when he left. Then he found his door strangely unlocked.

“So I walked into my room expecting something to be awry, but the only strange thing was my light flickering on and off, at an interval of every few seconds,” Ben said. “Being skeptical of what was happening I tried turning the light off but that didn’t work; even with the light switch in the ‘off’ position, the light continued to flicker.”

So, he unplugged it and tried a different one instead.

“The lamp stayed on for 10 to 15 minutes with no problem and then, without warning, started to flicker on and off again, just like the school-provided desk lamp.”

Electrical problem? Not so, according to the school’s Plant Department. Friendly prank? Nope.

But there was this rumor of the room being haunted ...

Finally, a skeptic brought his own lamp into the room.

“After five minutes or so Karl got fired up and yelled, ‘Alright you **** ghost, if you are here, then prove it!’” Ben recalls. “Immediately his halogen lamp flickered off and then on again ...”

(Insert Twilight Zone theme song here.)

IT’S STORIES SUCH AS this one that have put Ripon College on a different sort of top-10 list than to which it’s accustomed.

According to, Ripon College is the No. 2 most haunted college in the Midwest.

“I’m particularly interested in the folklore and ghost-lore of colleges and universities ...,” said Michael Kleen, who wrote the list. “There are a number of books that focus specifically on campus ghost-lore, and I thoroughly dog-eared their pages preparing this list.”

After doing so, Ripon College stood out, he explained....

“The college has been accommodating of paranormal investigators who want to see if they can find evidence of spirit activity in campus buildings,” assistant professor of sociology Marc Eaton said. “Thus far, I have participated in three investigations with a paranormal investigative team that has been given full after-hours access to Lane Library, West Hall and Rodman Center.”

Did they find any para-students? No, but he and the investigators with him aren’t dissuaded. ...

To read the entire column, see the Jan. 30, 2014 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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