FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 21, 2013
For More Information: Annette Barnette
Public Relations and Marketing Director
Glenville State College
Glenville, West Virginia
Glenville, WV – A cold case, an unsolved murder, and restless spirits from the past…all of these things sound like they came straight out of a movie and not from Glenville State College. There are countless eyewitness accounts about the incidents from across the GSC campus. The majority of the ‘experiences’ or ‘sightings’ happen in Clark Hall, Louis Bennett Hall, and the Administration Building. Many say the ghost in these buildings is ‘Sis Linn.’ There have been stories about her haunting the GSC campus since at least the 1970s not only around Halloween each fall but also all year long.
Sarah Louisa Linn was born in 1853. There is little known about her life. She was the only graduate of Glenville Normal School in 1877. According to records, she specialized in teacher education. She taught classes in Glenville and Fairmont before marrying I. L. Chrisman in June of 1905 at her home where Clark Hall currently stands. After her short marriage ended, Sarah changed her name back to Linn and ran a boarding house out of her home for female students. In February of 1919, Sarah was found murdered and bludgeoned to death in her home. The assailant or assailants were never apprehended. Some say she was killed by vandals breaking in for her prized wine that she made herself. Many say ‘Sis Linn’ still roams the campus looking for her killer.
Five years after her murder, officials from Glenville Normal School purchased her property, razed the house, and built Verona Maple Hall – a modern women’s dormitory for the time. Many said the dorm was also haunted. After Verona Maple Hall was demolished years later, those spending time in the neighboring GSC Clark Hall began to experience paranormal activity.
GSC Assistant Professor of Early Education and Director of Field Experiences Connie Stout had an ‘experience’ in Clark Hall. “It was just before the summer session started, and I was in my office on the top mezzanine,” Stout said. She was grading papers when she heard a horrible noise. “It sounded like metal chairs being thrown around and as if people were moving metal desks,” Stout explained. She said that the noise lasted for ten to twelve minutes. “I thought it was the secretary moving things around downstairs,” Stout said. She stopped grading papers and thought for a moment. “It was weird though because the noise sounded like it was coming from downstairs, upstairs, and the space behind the offices.” So she decided to go downstairs to see what was going on. Just before she got to mezzanine two, she thought to herself, “What if this is Sis Linn?” She thought that at the very moment the noises stopped, and there was complete silence. She left the building and found the secretary who had been out of the building for more than an hour. Stout had been in the building alone.
GSC Associate Professor of Education and Dean of Teacher Education Dr. Kevin Cain was working late one evening alone in Clark Hall. He was in his office on the second floor when something peculiar happened. “I heard metal chains dragging on the floor and then a door closed; the door sounded like a prison door closing,” Cain said. He then took his work home with him and left the building for the evening. “After that, I started taking my work home all the time!” Cain exclaimed.
GSC Director of Resident Life Jerry Burkhammer said that on Halloween night one year, he was standing outside of the former dorms at Louis Bennett Hall with a public safety officer and saw a couple of students playing with a Ouija board when one of them started yelling. He asked what was going on, and they said they asked the board to whom it was talking. They said the board spelled out ‘Sis Linn,’ and she said that she would be in Clark Hall at 12:00. “It was four minutes until twelve,” Burkhammer said, “so we decided to walk up to Clark Hall to see if anything was happening. At the stroke of midnight, a light came on in Clark Hall on the second floor. We saw a woman hanging by a noose in the window. The officer and I ran upstairs, and when we got to the door, the light went out. We opened the door, nothing was there, and everything was in order,” Burkhammer said, “It is strange and unexplainable; the clock tower sometimes chimes thirteen times on Halloween night at midnight. It does this every year.” Burkhammer said that when LBH was the men’s dormitory, there were strange occurrences five years in a row.
GSC Senior Administrative Applications Software Specialist Annaliza Marks was working late one evening about a year ago when she heard some mysterious sounds coming from fourth floor above her office in the newer section of Louis Bennett Hall. Could it have been none other than Sis Linn? Marks said, “Noises usually start around the eleventh hour long after everyone has already gone home for the day.” She heard doors slamming, chairs and tables being pulled across the floor and even very low voices. “The noises I can’t explain; it’s just enough to freak you out but not enough to make you run in terror,” Marks said. On several occasions when these things were occurring, she would go upstairs to investigate, but no one was in sight, all the doors closed, and light switched off. There were a few times that Marks wasn’t alone; guests would be in her office, and the lights in the hallway would flicker on and off. Marks would go check to see if anyone was out there, but there would be nobody. When she would return to her office, she simply told her guests it was an electrical issue, but she’s convinced Sis Linn had made her presence known.
Next door to Louis Bennett Hall is the Harry B. Heflin Administration Building, the historic building which includes the campus clock tower. GSC Campus Service Worker Ellen Minney has had many unexplainable encounters through her years working in the building. “I get anxious every time I am in the basement of AB. I constantly look over my shoulder and work quickly to get out,” said Minney. While emptying trash cans throughout the building, she has heard her keys in the door begin to jingle, but they stopped moving before she got back to them. Lights will also go on and off on occasion. She is always the first and only one in the building during these incidents. Once, she was working and heard a voice whisper, ‘What are you doing here?’ in her ear. She replied, “You know I am here every morning!” One of Minney’s co-workers has also reported being pinched by the ghost of Sis Linn.
Minney has also had an encounter with a spirit in Clark Hall. “I was working with my supervisor and another worker waxing floors. When we left the empty building, all of the lights had been turned off and the doors were locked. After we got outside, we turned around to the same building with every light on,” said Minney. Her daughter, Sonya Hartshorn, a 2010 GSC graduate, has had a Clark Hall encounter also. “I was a student worker in the GSC Business Department and had to deliver an assignment to a class when a professor was absent. While waiting on the students in the empty classroom, I saw the blinds start to sway. I assumed it was from the air conditioning. Then, an eerie feeling came over me, and the vertical blinds began to open and close and move as if someone was running their fingers through them. I recalled my mother’s stories of Sis Linn, and I ran out of the room. I gave the students their assignment in the hall and never went into Clark Hall alone again,” said Hartshorn.
Pickens Hall has its share of stories as well from others who wish to remain anonymous. They say that several rooms in Scott Wing of the former student residence hall, you can hear someone playing with marbles and marbles rolling across the ceiling. Reports have also been made that you can hear people moving furniture on the floor above. Others say that Wagner Wing is home to a little girl who roams the halls with a doll.
Glenville State College is a beautiful campus with a possible past lurking in the shadows. Even after numerous experiences over the years, most people are not afraid. “Whatever or whomever it is, it is not something that wants to hurt you,” GSC Instructor of Developmental Mathematics Bill Bonnett said, “It’s just something, someone, or some people wanting to let their presence be known.”