Throwback Thursday: Haunted locations on and near campus are still spooky

Logan Herrington

It’s easy for college students to get distracted from the true intention of Halloween. Dressing up like an anthropomorphic kitten or a lumberjack, partying with the same people you hang out with every week and buying smaller versions of candy bars available year-round at drug stores makes the spirit of Halloween a little hard to nail down.

As confusing as Halloween may be to an outsider, it really can be described in one word: ghosts. Fortunately for Austinites, there is no deficit of haunted locations to visit this year to get in the spirit.

In 1999, The Daily Texan writer Lisa Matsumoto wrote an article about several of these places.

Metz Elementary School served the Austin community for over 70 years before it was demolished in 1990. During its demolition, the workers reported some eerie occurrences.

Several people reported hearing voices of a teacher with her students. Construction machinery and watches would stop working for short periods of time and then begin again, and one worker died after a piece of brick wall fell on top of him.

After the new school was built in place of the old Metz, reports of the strange happenings became less frequent. However, Jeanine Plumer, a director of a group that provides historical tours around the city, said there were some bizarre tales circulating from people who worked at the new school.

“A custodian had actually seen an apparition,” Plumer said. “The girl walked out of a classroom and turned the corner.”

The little girl was described as wearing attire unique to the early 1900s when the school was built.

There have always been speculations of a haunting of the Littlefield Dormitory on the west side of campus, too.

Jean Garner was a hall coordinator at the dorm for 13 years. Although she never experienced any ghostly visitors, she had a few creepy stories of things that happened during her tenure at the hall.

One summer in the early 1980s, when she was the only resident at the dorm, she noticed that a light was on in a room that was supposed to be locked. Seeing that the door was ajar, she tried to open it cautiously, but something forcefully pushed it shut. She called the police, but no one was found.

Many of her residents would tell her that it was the ghost of George Littlefield’s wife, Alice.

Margaret Berry, a historian who wrote several books on the University, disagreed that the building was haunted.

“Those are made up stories; they aren’t true,” Berry said. “There was a time when the house was rundown, and maybe that was when the stories got started.

Though Austin may be a hot spot for ghostly visitors, Plumer said this is not cause for anyone to worry.

“Ghosts are everywhere, and they’re not something to fear,” Plumer said.