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Campus hauntings

October 27, 2010

By Hailey Silvey, Staff Writer

Graphic by Kelley Lyness

“Goodnight Charlie!” If you are in the Clegg building before it closes up for the night, you will probably here both professors and students alike saying this phrase. But who is Charlie? Charlie is Charles Clegg, the president of Young Harris College from 1950-1963. He died in 1963, of a heart attack. The Clegg building was being built when Charles died, and the building was named in his honor. It is believed that Charles Clegg’s spirit currently resides in the building that was named for him.

The ghost in the Clegg building is by far the most active ghost at YHC. That’s right, the most active one. There are many ghosts at YHC. Supposedly, there are ghosts in Appleby Center, the Blackbox theatre and Enotah Hall. Charles Clegg is the most recognized ghost on campus though. Charlie has been known to play the organ that used to be in the basement of the Clegg building, walk across the stage, find lost props, break props, whisper lines to actors that are drawing a blank on stage, speak to people and even touch them. Charlie is usually a nice ghost, but he has been known to frighten people out of the building.

The idea of Charlie is not something that stressed out, exhausted students have created. Dale Cochran, who has worked in the Clegg building working on sets and props for about 30 years, has had many encounters with Charlie.

He says that while working in the shop in the Clegg building, he will hear someone call his name from outside. He will walk outside and there will be nobody there. He said one day while working in the shop, someone came up beside him and in a very loud voice said, “hey.” He said rather than being scared, he just calmly replied with a “hello.” He also believes he might have even seen Charlie during one occurrence. He said he was walking down the aisle when he saw someone standing in the aisle. He politely said “excuse me” and stepped around the figure. Upon looking back, he realized that there was actually nobody standing there.

Charlie is not a shy ghost by any means. Many students have seen Charlie, and even though Charlie is said to be a “friendly ghost” he has scared some students so badly they refuse to enter the building at night. One student was working in the basement one night and she had a stack of CDs sitting on a stool. The CDs suddenly fell over. Thinking nothing of it, the student picked up her CDs and resumed her work. The CDs fell over a second time. The student was so frightened by this occurrence that she never entered the building alone at night ever again. Although the sightings and events could just be people’s imaginations playing tricks on them, it does give people something to think about.

Not all the students believe in Charlie. Many of them have never had an encounter with him. Others realize that the building is very old and creaks and other noises are completely natural. Freshman theatre major from Conyers, Alyssa Lowery, said “I don’t personally believe in the ghost, but it’s fun to think about, and I will keep the tradition alive.”

Charlie Clegg is not the only ghost on campus. The Black Box is also supposedly haunted by a ghost named Jesse. Jesse was a janitor in the early 1990s that loved the theatre. One night he was driving home and was killed in a car accident. His ghost has supposedly haunted the Black Box ever since. Jesse has been known to move items in the store room, make noise and walk on the catwalk. When the building is locked and there is nobody present, the motion detector lights will go off. Jesse has been seen all throughout the day, whereas Charlie is usually seen at night. One student says that she was working in the Black Box one night, when she thought she saw someone in the balcony. She did not really take any notice, until she glanced back up. She then realized that nobody was standing in the balcony at all.

Enotah Hall, although being brand-new, is supposedly haunted by a ghost who hangs from the third floor at night. It is thought that this might be the ghost of Byron Herbert Reece. Byron Herbert Reece was a poet who worked at YHC. He contracted tuberculosis and after grading his student’s papers, shot himself. He died on June 3, 1958. In the later hours of the night, you can see a figure hanging from the third story. You can also see Reece sitting outside on the grass working on what is believed to be a book of poetry. Byron has been known to turn computer monitors on and off, knock on doors and shake blinds. These occurrences have been known to happen at all times of the day, not just at night.

One hundred people were asked whether they believe in ghosts or not. Of these one hundred, 43 students said they absolutely believed that ghosts were sharing our campus with us. Many of the students who said yes believed that more than one building was haunted. The other 57 people said they did not, but they had heard the rumors. It is not unheard of though for students to go on their own search for ghosts. Kelly Bryson, a undecided major from Anderson, S.C. said, “I’ve had experiences myself in the school and seen things I can’t explain. I recently went ghost hunting in Clegg and had some weird experiences that freaked me out. I will not be going in there by myself at night again.”

Apparently we are sharing the campus of YHC with students and faculty from the past as well as the present. Whether or not these ghosts are truly here is a matter that can be questioned. If you want to find out more about the ghosts at YHC, simply go to Google and type in “ghosts at Young Harris College,” and you will find out all you want to know. But if this is not enough, try going on a ghost hunt yourself. We’d love to know what you find.

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