Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida is one of the "Most Haunted Campuses in the Country"

Evie M.
the auditorium at University of Florida in Gainesville, FLUfgatorman at English Wikipedia Public domain

When a teen or adult who wants to go back to school is looking for a college to go to, I wonder if they ever considered the school's haunted status as a qualifier on whether to apply or not? If I had known about the University of Florida earning a spot on the "50 Most Haunted Colleges in the Country" list, I might have paid attention a lot more.

Why is the University of Florida considered "One of the Most Haunted Colleges in the Country"?

Located in Gainesville, Florida, about 1 hour and 46 minutes away from Orlando, the University of Florida is also known as one of the best colleges in the country and holds a proud spot on the U.S. Register of Historic Places.

The University of Florida, or "UF", is truly a part of history. Since 1906 UF's Gainesville campus has enjoyed a lineage dating back to 1853 when the East Florida Seminary came to Ocala, Florida. After the Seminary, UF moved to Lake City and a man named Jordan Probst turned it into the Florida Agricultural College in 1884. To get the college to Gainesville, it's final resting place, a North Carolina educator named James Henry Roper gave up both his personal land and school, the Gainesville Academy. The school remained the Florida Agricultural College until 1903. In a bid to expand education beyond agriculture, the name changed to the "University of Florida".

And of course, with a school this old, there are bound to be some ghosts. I could be wrong (locals let me know!), but according to research, it seems a ghost named "Old Steve" is one of the most popular—or at least active—ghosts. Old Steve is said to haunt Thomas Hall, build back in 1906 and the oldest building on campus.

Thomas Hall offered a number of amenities: a dining room, kitchen, library, offices. Steve worked down in the kitchen, and the story says he would bang pots and pans while screaming at staff. Students have left reports that they could hear Old Steve making horrible noises down in the kitchen to this day around sunset, despite being long dead.

There is also talk of the spirits of children who died in Norman Hall during an elevator accident back in 1930. An official blog post after the college remodeled and broke ground again in 2018 stated “No documentation or eyewitnesses can be found to verify the story." And yet, there have been many reports of students seeing the children wandering the third floor.

An "American Girl" that is said to have inspired Tom Petty's 1970s hit of the same name (though the singer denied the similarities or the truth of the story). There are two separate stories as to how the young girl died, which both involve her tumbling from Beaty Towers back in what Historian Van Ness believes was the "late 1960s or early '70s".

One version says she tossed herself off the tower after she fell pregnant and her boyfriend dumped her. Another says she took LSD and believed she could fly. Either way, her story is a tragedy, and her business seems to not be done at the school.

Numerous witnesses report that the spirit will enter students rooms and move belongings and furniture around. She's also been spotting roaming the halls.

Can you take a ghost tour of UCF?

I won't lie to you and I could be wrong, but I did not see any companies offering tours and I saw nothing on the official UF website. BUT, many colleges around the country start to offer student lead ghost tours towards September and October, so if you're interested in touring UF, I say keep checking the website. That's what I'm going to do, and I can't wait.

My only question is: Who's coming with me?

Comments / 21

Published by

"Reader beware, you're in for a scare!--R.L. Stine"

Orlando, FL

More from Evie M.

Comments / 0