Hauntings at Pomona and Scripps

From Ghostbusters and The Sixth Sense, to Casper and Patrick Swayze, ghosts and ghost stories are a significant part of popular culture, turning up in movies, books, and urban legends. With Halloween just a day away, it’s only appropriate to share some ghost stories of our own. Pomona and Scripps are home to lots of ghosts, but have no fear, the majority of them are friendly spirits that just seem to enjoy wreaking a little havoc every now and then.At Pomona, there are said to be two active ghosts, one that resides in Sumner Hall and one that resides in Seaver House. According to Frank Bedoya, dean of campus life, the ghost in Sumner is a woman wearing a long white dress. “I am often in the office late at night and I will hear the front door open and close. The door has a very distinct noise that would be hard to mistake for anything else. I will get up to see who’s there, and have even walked outside the building sometimes, but no one is there,” Bedoya said.Ireneo DeLeon, a housekeeper that works in Sumner, has reportedly seen the ghost and had several encounters with her. “Ireneo told me there was one time when he had finished cleaning when he noticed there was a light on upstairs. After he went to turn it off he came back down only to see that it had been turned on again. He went back up there once more, turned it off and when he came downstairs the light had been turned on once again,” said Bedoya. It has been suggested that the ghost is that of Gwendolyn Rose, a woman who committed suicide in the basement of Sumner during construction in the late 1880s.Director of Alumni Relations Nancy Treser-Osgood PO ’80 said she believes that the ghost ofNila Seaver(seated, bottom right) occupies Seaver House, as she was the last remaining member of the Seaver family to live there. After her death, the house was given to the college as a gift. When she is alone in the house at night, Osgood says she can feel the presence of Nila and hear movement in the attic. According to Osgood, Nila likes to open doors and turn on lights. “There have been times where I have completely locked all the doors and have turned off all the lights before leaving for the night and later when I drive back by the house there will be a light on in one of the upstairs rooms.” Osgood also reported a personal encounter with Nila after scolding her for opening the door during a rainstorm. “The door was opening and I had to keep closing it, so I got a little cross with her,” said Osgood. “Later that day in my office a book fell off my bookcase. I think that was her little way of getting back at me for scolding her.” Generally, Osgood said, Nila has a very comforting presence that is neither mean nor evil. Osgood tries to be respectful of Nila by greeting her or by saying “goodnight” before she leaves for the night, because, “after all, it was her house!” said Osgood.At Scripps there are numerous ghost stories, many of which are divided between three of the College’s oldest residence halls: Toll, Clark, and Dorsey. When students and staff members believe they have encountered a ghost, they approach Denison Librarian Judy Harvey Sahak SC ’64, because of her vast knowledge of Scripps history. “The stories have many variations, and they have evolved over time as people tell them,” said Sahak.One of the most well known ghost stories has taken place in the Toll browsing room, a quiet study area. According to Sahak, some students that study in the Toll browsing room late at night have reported knocks on the browsing room door, cold breezes, and teacups falling from the shelves. According to the story, the ghost comes from along blue chairthat sits at one end of the room. Sahak said the chair came from a woman who wanted her daughter to attend Scripps. Unfortunately, the young girl passed away before she was able to enroll at the college. After her death, the mother gave Scripps the chair, which is now said to contain the young girl’s spirit.In Clark, some students have reported seeing a female ghost moving up and down a hallway wearing a long white dress and a white hat. While it is not known for sure who the ghost is, Sahak has a guess. “I have speculated that this woman dressed in white may be one of the hall residents who over the years dressed as Santa Lucia as part of the Hall’s annual holiday Medieval dinner.“ Before the Malott Commons was built, dinners were held in the residence halls, and it was tradition in Clark to have a Medieval dinner where one student would be chosen to play Santa Lucia, and would come to the event wearing a white dress. “I don’t know how the student was selected to be Santa Lucia, but I’m sure it must have been an honor and very memorable. Perhaps even so attractive as to spend a part of her afterlife reliving, so to speak, that event,” said Sahak.Another Scripps ghost is reportedly to be found in Dorsey. In the basement, there is a long hallway adjacent to the laundry room that is used for storing extra furniture. When working in the basement during the day, members of the Scripps maintenance staff have claimed to hear the voice of a girl screaming, “Get out!” over and over again.“Many of the maintenance men have told me, with a very serious face that they have heard this ghost screaming at them,” said Sahak. Some of the old furniture that is stored in the basement was given to the college as a gift when the owner passed away, once again suggesting that the ghosts may be attached to the furniture they used when they were alive.Whether or not you believe in ghosts, their stories are unique, personal and often have historical significance. “One of the great things about ghost stories is that they are a good jumping-off point for discussing history,” Sahak said. Does Sahak believe in ghosts? “I believe, under the right circumstances, you can sense something that you can’t see…and that’s as far as I’ll go!”

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply