DePauw's Spookiest Stories


East College

Of course, the most gothic and historical building on DePauw’s campus has to be haunted. According to student folklore, the bell tower, which was hand rung on all special college occasions and to celebrate athletic victories, actually has a spookier past. It was rumored that a former University president’s daughter hanged herself inside the Bell Tower. In 1981, a janitor was working outside the haunted building when he claimed to have seen a young, black-haired girl sitting on the steps of East College, but when he turned around again, she had disappeared. Some students and professors also reported hearing regular footsteps going up and down the stairs. In 2009, members of the Hoosier State Paranormal investigated the building and successfully recorded several creaking sounds coming from the stairwell reaching the famous bell tower and heard a desk being scooted across the floor in the basement room they were in. 

Roy O. West

Although first-year students have not been able to experience the library’s eeriness, previous all-nighters at Roy know the story of James Whitcomb. The former governor of Indiana served from 1843-1848 and donated a vast collection of books to the Roy O. West Library, with detailed instructions that the books should never leave the library building. It’s said that a student in the early 1900s took “The Poems of Ossian” to his room and found himself awakened by Whitcomb’s chilling spirit, who pointed at him and chanted, “Ossian! Who stole the Ossian?" Needless to say, the poor student stayed awake all night and returned the book to the library first thing in the morning.

PCCM’s Haunted Elevator

It’s rumored that a construction worker, unfortunately, passed away in the elevator shaft during the construction of the Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media, which houses The DePauw. Supposedly, the hydraulics malfunction is attributed to that worker’s ghost because as soon as the elevator was finished, it began moving from the first level to the basement despite nobody being inside. Moreover, the elevator’s door supposedly opens at odd hours of the night without anyone pushing the button. Since this accident, locals have also been hearing indescribable noises.

Kappa Alpha Theta

Bettie Locke, the founder of the first women’s fraternity in 1870, is said to still be haunting its building to this day. Members of the sorority, both past and present, have shared their rather mysterious encounters with the apparition. Some of Theta’s members claim that Locke, as they affectionately refer to her, is to blame for a number of eerie occurrences, including flashes of light, door slammings without warning, and ouija board discussions. According to the legends, Locke is most often seen in room six keeping an eye on her sorority sisters while they sleep.

Edna Collings Bridge

The Edna Collings bridge, although being the “newest” of Putnam County’s nine covered bridges, has already held its position as one of the most famous bridges in Indiana and as the most haunted. According to local legends, the bridge is haunted by a mother and her child. The best-known variation of the tale claims that a young child by the name of Edna Collings frequently swam in Little Walnut Creek during her residence. On their way into town, her parents would drop her off, and when they came back, they would honk three times to signal that it was time for her to leave. When Edna one day didn't answer the horn, they searched the creek and discovered she had mysteriously drowned. Her mother is alleged to have hanged herself out of grief at the death of her child. 

To this day, cars can still be seen parked by the bridge, attempting to catch sight of her chilling ghostly figure. To summon her spirit, you must drive onto the bridge, stop your car, and honk three times. Edna is supposed to show up and try to get in the car with you. Some witnesses have discovered kid-sized handprints on their car and heard a nearby young girl laughing.