Ghosts of Bruce Hall

Ghosts of Bruce Hall

Ghosts of Bruce Hall
October 31
12:25 2013

Joshua Knopp / Staff Writer

Counseling master’s student Joshua Brown was a resident assistant at Bruce Hall when he encountered Wanda, one of the ghosts of Bruce Hall.

He and his co-worker were closing on the fourth floor in the D wing. Brown said the blinds fell off a window near him. He thought it was funny and told Patrick. Patrick came out of the room he was working in, screaming that all the blinds had fallen off.

“We’ve heard about the doors of the display cases opening and closing while being locked,” said Brown, who is now Bruce’s hall director. “Most of what I’ve heard is the generic haunted clues stuff, nothing specific or discrete.”

Brown said Bruce Hall is host to a great deal of strange activity. Much of it is attributed to Wanda, who supposedly haunts the building’s attic. The legend states Wanda was a student in the 1950s who became pregnant out of wedlock. Unable to reveal her pregnancy because of the cultural stigma, she snuck into the attic. Brown said the story splits there.

“Depending on which story you hear, she either carried the child to term and they both just died there, or she tried to abort the child herself and died in the process,” he said. “We’ve had people look for Wanda in the records before. We haven’t found anyone named Wanda.”

One of the more recent research attempts was by Ty Phillips with the Texas paranormal advanced research team. During pre-research, Phillips said he found an article about a student who died from a blood flow problem in the ‘50s that could match the self-abortion version of the story.

The first mention of the name Wanda, however, comes in the 1970s, when students dressed up a mannequin as homecoming queen and named it Wanda.

“There does seem to be some activity that goes on at Bruce Hall, but Wanda is kind of an urban legend,” Phillips said.

While Phillips wasn’t able to find evidence of Wanda, his team was able to catch a voice recording of what they believe to be another spirit. On the first floor by the unused elevator, after asking if anyone was there, investigators heard a long drawn-out “Yeah.”

A video recorder and two voice recorders also picked it up, and the voice could not be traced to any investigator.

Supposedly, the elevator is home to another ghost. A student is said to have died while riding on top of the elevator.

This voice is a definitive example of an electronic voice phenomenon, during which an unexplained voice is recorded electronically. Phillips said that EVPs are the primary evidence he relies on, because they are more tangible than word-of-mouth.

Though there are other explanations for electronic monitors picking up voices, Phillips said there is no explanation for intelligent responses.

Phillips said there is evidence of paranormal activity at Bruce Hall, but the specific legends seem unlikely. Another famous ghost, who inhabits the boiler room, is supposedly one of the first black men to be admitted to UNT. Legend has it he was lynched in the boiler room, but Phillips’ research indicated that black students weren’t allowed into Bruce Hall until the 1970s and that the first student was female.

Phillips said it is likely that UNT’s culture eggs the myths on.

“It’s probably a mixture of real activity along with superstition and college antics,” he said.

Whatever the case, ghosts are a solid part of Bruce Hall’s history and current culture. Front desk clerk and undeclared sophomore Sean Stephan said Bruce’s haunted house, which runs 7 p.m. to midnight tonight, features Wanda prominently, and he frequently sees her mentioned around campus.

Earlier in the semester, he said pairs of students visited the front desk asking about Wanda for class.

Stephan said however they occur, Bruce Hall hauntings – and Wanda in particular – are  part of UNT’s culture.

“Most of them know the story,” he said. “Or at least, certain versions of the story.”

Feature photo: A mannequin shrine to Boiler Room Bill sits behind a sliding metal door painted with the words “Keep Door Closed”. The Bruce Hall boiler room has been a site of paranormal activity at UNT. Photo by Harris Buchanan / Staff Photographer

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