Haunted Western New York-I Did a Bad Thing

I did a bad thing once. And it still amuses me greatly.

The first summer I was enrolled at the University at Buffalo (a SUNY campus), I was riding the shuttle bus between North and South Campus.

The school is split in half, with the majority of the science and health buildings, along with dorms, being on the southern campus located on Main Street and the majority of the liberal arts and humanities beinng housed on the northern off of Maple and Sweethome. The two campuses are connected by a private bus line that runs back and forth.

There is a shopping complex across the street from South that I would do my groceries at, so I was bringing food back to my apartment on or near opening weekend. Two freshmen got on the bus.

They were talking about how the dental school was supposedly haunted. So I, being the loving, gentle creature I am, deadpanned that it’s not the dental school they needed to be afraid of, it was the dorms. The dorms were full of ghosts, and the only place safe was the bathrooms.

I told them about how people would wake up with the dead leering over them in their sleep.

I didn’t think anything about it…until I started hearing rumors that my ‘ghosts’ were making the rounds through the dorms…and people were trying to sleep in the bathroom (though I think that’s when this jumped over the shark into urban legend territory).

Whoops.

Ironically it turns out that we’re both right.

The dorms on South Campus actually were built on land that was treated as an epidemic graveyard when the medical school that would eventually grow into the University at Buffalo was in its infancy. Most of the graves weren’t moved until recently (very recently) and the buildings were put up over the untouched graves. People have reported the normal cold spots and noises associated with traditional hauntings; trust me, those buildings are definately weird, an observation I made before finding out about their history.

The medical buildings have a much longer, more direct haunting history. The school started out as a mental institution and a medical school in the late 19th century. During its early years patients and medical students shared the same land, as medical ethics of the time didn’t look down on using patients as test subjects. Rumor has it that the icepick lobotomy was perfected in those buildings. It may be urban legend, it may be not.

Many of the original buildings still stand on South, though instead of housing mental hospitals they’re now a dental school and other hard sciences. Stories circulate about the dental school in particular- it’s apparently not too horribly uncommon for professors and dental staff to watch people in era-inappropriate clothing walk through walls like the building isn’t laid out the same way for them that it is for modern visitors.

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The Haunting Truths of Hayes Hall

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