As if school isn't scary enough, imagine attending a haunted school. Like a real-world Hogwarts, there are many students across the United States who attend classes and walk the halls with ghosts. So get ready to back to school and discover the ghosts of students and teachers that never left.
Pocatello High School
Pocatello High School is located in Pocatello, Idaho. This haunted high schools is perhaps one of the best documented school hauntings thanks to security surveillance cameras. Back in 2014, the school received national attention for several minutes of raw security video taken during a school holiday that showed some decidedly odd activity including electrical disturbances and what appears to be an apparition walking out of a bathroom. Likewise, custodians report seeing a female in a dress in the school's theater, kids mention seeing a spirit in the gym, and witnesses say they see a woman sitting in the window of a library when the school is empty.
Former "Poky High" principal Don Cotent talks about his late night experiences with the paranormal. Cotent states that on three or four occasions, he was disturbed from his work by the sound of someone banging beneath the floor with something like a broom handle. He says on each occasion, he stomped his feet and yelled to the intruder that he was busy and didn't have time for such distractions.
The school eventually brought in a paranormal investigative team that surmised the ghostly activity might be related to six deaths on the school property and the 1914 fire that destroyed the original building (the school was rebuilt in 1918).
In 2019, A&E's Ghost Hunters investigated the 125-year-old high school. The team experienced a great deal of phenomena there including significant power drains and electronic voice phenomena while they were there. They concluded something of a paranormal nature was happening at the school.
Tennessee High School
Tennessee High School in Bristol has three resident ghosts. Built in 1939, the school was originally known as "Fifth Street School." It has since been added onto twice. The ghosts seem to be tied to the original part of the school.
The high school student ghost known as Agnes was killed on her way to a formal school event, Class Night. Her car was struck by a train at the railroad crossing. Ever since her death, students and the staff have reported that Agnes haunts the school. There's even a report of her appearing in the auditorium's television booth.
Other sightings include:
- Disembodied footsteps in hallway (prior to carpeting)
- A girl in a white dress in the corridors
Another presence in the school is a phantom train that is believed to be the spectral manifestation of the one that killed Agnes. The train suddenly emerges from the gym and roars noisily down the hallway. This phenomenon is so intense the school hallways and rooms shake in its wake.
The third ghost is of a former athlete that students report seeing and even encountering him at games. The boy was hit by a car one night while walking home from a game. It's believed his spirit now resides at the school.
Lincoln High School
The Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota opened in 1965. It's also claimed to be a highly haunted school. There have been no known deaths on the premises, yet students, teachers, and janitors report a tall apparition and other paranormal activities.
Some eyewitnesses have experienced:
- Some hear footsteps in the hallway when nobody is present.
- People hear the sound of keys jiggling behind them, but no one is there.
- A 10-foot tall man in a trench coat floats six feet off the stage floor and then fades away.
- A person walks past an interior window in a flash of light.
- Doors open and close.
- Witnesses hear knocking and banging sounds in the basement and boiler room when all equipment is shut down.
- People find chairs where they shouldn't be in the basement section.
One witness also tells the story of her friend's deceased husband speaking to her when she entered a room. He said, "Char come here I got a joke to tell you." This was something he said often when he was alive and would then proceed to tell her a joke.
El Paso High School
This El Paso, Texas school is home to a scary haunting, and some consider it one of the scariest school hauntings in the country. What makes it so terrifying? It all stems from the wide range of ghostly stories that haunt the school.
- Sealed off hallways fill with mist.
- Unexplainable goo drips from the ceilings.
- There are hidden classrooms beneath the building.
Perhaps the most alarming is a ghost photo taken of the 1985 graduating class. In the center of the photo is a blurry image of what appears to be a student dressed in white. Mandatory reports that there was "no one standing there when the picture was taken, nor can the female in question be identified."
Some believe the ghost is a young girl said to have committed suicide at the school by leaping to her death from a balcony overlooking the hallway where the mist is often seen. Some students claim to have seen the ghost girl jump from the balcony, but disappear before she makes it to the floor below.
Tragically, one of the school's football players died from a broken neck during a game on the school's athletic field. Many witnesses claim to have seen his ghostly figure running along the football field.
Roy High School
Built in 1965, the Roy High School in Roy, Utah has been plagued by stories of ghostly encounters and unexplained paranormal events attributed to three separate ghosts.
The first is Backstage Mabel. No one knows who Mabel was, how she died, why she's at the school, or even how her name is known. She likes to hang out in the auditorium appearing back stage, especially on the winding staircase. Witnesses report she is a trickster and enjoys turning stage and other lights off and on. She moves stage props and even makes props disappear.
The next ghost, the lady in the purple hat, is said to be malevolent. She wears a purple hat and attempts to coax people who see her to follow her. Witnesses report having a foreboding feeling and sensing evil energy coming from her.
The next apparition moves about the entire school, but seems to favor hanging out in the halls. Witnesses have reported being in the halls when there was no one or just a few people on campus and sensing someone staring or glaring at them. Some people believe it is the spirit of a boy who was killed by a train.
Urbana High School
In Urbana, Illinois, you'll hear the ghost story of Urbana High School. The tower is considered the most haunted part of the building. Rumors state a secret doorway leads to the tower, and only a few people know its location. Located in the upper section of the building, there were once active classrooms there, but the area was closed off years ago.
The ghost of a female teacher in love with a student is one of the cast of specters residing in the school. The distraught teacher hanged herself in the tower. Two other ghosts are known to haunt the school:
- A ghost who was involved in a love triangle that included a married teacher
- The ghost of a boy who was another suicide victim
Other sightings include:
- Lights appear at night coming from the abandoned tower.
- Loud tapping noises come from the tower.
- Every time the fourth floor is painted, the walls begin to peel within a month without explanation.
Elizabeth V. Edwards School
In 2014, USA Today highlighted the SyFy Ghost Hunters investigation of the Elizabeth "Lizzy" V. Edwards School in Barnegat, NJ, named for its "original schoolmarm" who taught until she died in 1965.
The building is abandoned due to financial issues and has sat vacant since 2004. Built in 1930, it was used as both a high school and an elementary school. USA Today reports, "… some school officials believe the building" is haunted. They feel it's "... still inhabited by something, or someone, otherworldly."
Some believe the ghost haunting the school is Lizzy. She's considered to be a "good ghost." Lizzy along with her fellow ghosts spend their time "slamming lockers, turning lights on and off, and playing 1940s music for no one in particular."
Some other ghostly encounters include:
- Witnesses spot an apparition of a "translucent woman wearing a floral print dress with her hair piled up high onto her head."
- The same apparition has an indiscernible figure and wears khaki pants.
- Lights are seen on at night, but upon investigation it's discovered that no light bulbs are installed.
- A nighttime renovation worker witnessed a door opening, ran from the building, and returned to find his ladder had been moved to another hallway.
- An unplugged phone rings.
Matthew Whaley Elementary School
Williamsburg, VA was founded in 1699. Matthew Whaley was born in 1696 and died 9 years later (1705). It's believed that the colonial boy's ghost still haunts his namesake school, one of the most haunted elementary schools in the country, even though the school has been relocated three times within Williamsburg.
Matthew Whaley died at the age of nine from an unknown cause, and his mother sought to honor him by adding on to the "small grammar school" he attended. The school was called Mattey's School.
The Revolutionary and Civil Wars took their toll on the school house. It was moved once before relocating to its current address, 301 Scotland Street in Williamsburg, and is known as The Matthew Whaley School.
Matthew's ghost is said to haunt the school and school grounds along with two other spirits, also boys. Both students and staff have seen Matthew's apparition throughout the school and grounds. They've also witnessed other paranormal phenomena, such as disembodied footsteps in empty halls and classrooms.
Matthew's small ghostly form has been seen:
- In restrooms
- Along the path to the Capitol
- Playing in the school playground
- Wandering about on Halloween night
The two boys seen playing with Matthew on the school grounds are believed to be the victims of brutal beatings and lynchings. Whoever these male spirits are, they are joined by many other specters wandering the streets and buildings of this historic colonial city.
Old Milton Elementary School
Old Milton Elementary School in Alton, IL was built in 1904 and remained a school until 1984 when it was abandoned. In 1990, it was purchased by a decorative glass manufacturer that still maintains its business in the building.
Many believe the ghost story surrounding this building is nothing more than a myth. The event supposedly took place sometime during the 1930s when a janitor raped and murdered a school girl named Mary in the school's gym locker. Weeks later, the janitor hanged himself from an exposed beam in the school hallway.
Soon after the murder and suicide, teachers, students, and visitors began to see and hear things that could only be described as paranormal. When women visited the area where Mary was murdered, they often felt nervous and uneasy.
Other witnesses reported:
- Sightings and audio of Mary's ghost in an office
- Encounters with a hostile entity
- Unexplained sounds
- Strange shadows
A paranormal investigation and psychic exorcism of the malevolent spirit were part of a 2010 Ghost Hunters episode on SyFy Channel.
When the glass company moved into the building, the employees began to have similar ghostly experiences.
Some of the reported phenomena included:
- Footsteps at night in halls when no one was there
- Objects and items that appear and disappear
- An apparition of a small girl
- Mary's apparition appearing in a woman's office (located outside the former gymnasium)
- Objects in the room moved to other areas
- Apparition playing or sitting on stairs outside office
- Computer keyboard Xs and Os tapped out on the screen
One female employee even felt that she was being stalked by the janitor's spirit and eventually quit the company.
Fallsvale Elementary School
One of the most eerie hauntings happens at the historic Fallsvale Elementary in Forest Falls, California. Nestled in a forest, the old school's claim to fame has been the tales of the ghost children many students and teachers report seeing.
These apparitions emerge from the surrounding forest. They move about and play, apparently interacting with the school children. The children who currently attend the school take these ghostly encounters in stride. In fact, the ghost children are such a common occurrence that the children know their names.
It is possible that the old, abandoned school that is still on the property might hold the key to the mysterious ghostly children. Some paranormal investigators believe the building might be the hub of the activity instead of the forest.
Ghostly Tales From Scary Schools
There are many ghost stories about haunted schools that are little more than myths, but many others that have credible witnesses to strange and unusual events. Students and teachers have had paranormal encounters, but the sources of the activities remain a mystery.