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Ghost Stories from Ohio’s Colleges: The Haunting of Otterbein’s Theatre

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Otterbein University’s nationally recognized Theatre Program has offered countless actors and actresses their professional beginnings, however some believe that it also offered one student a final curtain call. As the story goes, a young aspiring actress and student named Twyla became despondent after learning that she had been passed over for a part that she had hoped to earn. Following a period of depression, she decided to end her life as theatrically as she had lived it. One evening, upon returning to the theatre, she climbed to the light fixtures above the stage and jumped 30 feet to her death.

Administrators claim there never was a Twyla at Otterbein, but some students and faculty aren’t quite so sure. In fact, over the years, many have blamed Twyla’s spirit for everything from power outages and cold blasts of air to missing lighting cues and disappearing stage props. Others have reported hearing Twyla crying on quiet nights in the theatre. Some just claim to “feel her presence.” In past years, students repeatedly reported slipping on the very spot where Twyla was reported to have hit the stage when she fell. One evening a noose was said to have suddenly appeared hanging from the lights above the stage. Of course Twyla received the credits that night!

So, is Otterbein’s Fritsche Theatre really haunted? We can’t say for sure, but if you ever attend a performance, you might consider remaining in your seat for just a few moments after the room empties and the lights dim. If the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and a rush of cold air passes, perhaps it’s just Twyla nodding to you as she exits stage right!

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA) – a Columbus, Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 18 “fit factors” and helping students clarify co-curricular and major options while exploring colleges that specialize in them.  College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas. Check us out at www.collegeboundadvantage.com .

What is the Most Haunted College or University in Ohio?

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So, in this season of long shadows and dark hallways, have you wondered what is the most haunted college or university in Ohio?

Before answering this compelling question, let me first say that ghosts and ghost stories do a lot for a college. First, it is impossible to tell a ghost story, without also discussing the history of the institution. Ghost story tellers are both storytellers and historians. So ghost tours and books about campus ghosts help pass on a college’s history. Second, the ghost stories often reflect the values of the institution or offer lessons based on the calamities of the past. Third, they build community. There is nothing like sharing ghost stories in the dark with friends while knowing that generations of students have shared the same stories.

So, what is the most haunted campus in Ohio? Here are a few contenders:

  • Ohio University – Often considered the most haunted campus in the United States, this historic University sports ghost tours and a variety of haunted buildings, not the least of which is the Ridges Mental Health Institution (see picture above).
  • Ohio Wesleyan University – OWU is home to the Paranormal Research Society, a student organization that believes that many of their buildings are haunted. The OWU bookstore even sells the book, The Ghosts of Stuyvesant Hall and Beyond” as documented by John Ciochetty.
  • Kenyon College – Kenyon ghost tours are famous and their tales are linked to real tragedies of the past including a tragic dormitory fire and the death of a student as part of a fraternity initiation process.

Runners up: Miami University where stories abound, OSU with its new “Ghost Hunters in Ohio by Student Technicians – GHOST” student organization, and John Carroll University which sports its own “Paranormal Research Group,” an active student organization that investigates paranormal phenomenon.

Next Halloween season, we will offer one ghost story from each of our three winners, so keep hiking with us. There’s lots of trail ahead.

About the Author: After touring 60 of the best colleges in Ohio, Dr. Jay, a prior faculty member and dean, founded College Bound Advantage (CBA); a Columbus Ohio college consulting firm. CBA specializes in helping families optimize college selection around 15 “fit factors.” College Bound Advantage serves all of Ohio including Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati metro areas.

In order to purchase a more extensive proprietary “Campus Field Report” on any Ohio college discussed, click here: https://collegeboundadvantage.com/campus-field-report-access/

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