25 years ago, ghost reported on Anderson University

Anderson University in South Carolina

Nearly 25 years ago, a story in the Anderson Independent-Mail highlighted what many students at what is now Anderson University had whispered about since the early 1900s — the ghost of Sullivan Hall.

As the story goes, before the building served as a music center it was home to the president of the school, which was a college then, and his family.

According to legend, the president’s daughter, who was in love with a man her father would not let her see, hanged herself in the house.

The director of the physical plant at the time, Olin Padgett, said then that no one would ever “catch me in that music building before daylight.” He said he had heard someone walking on the steps before dawn one morning.

Other maintenance workers reported hearing singing and someone playing the piano pre-dawn one morning in December 1982.

Ernie Edwards, then 25, and his co-worker Donnie Martin, then 33, said they were on the ground floor of the building with the intention of cleaning up when they heard music coming from the back of the building.

“The closer we got, the louder the music got,” Mr. Edwards said. “So we turned around and went the other way. My heart can’t take that.”

Paul Talmadge, then vice president and academic dean of the school, said at the time that the story was just that, a story.

“It is a testament to the creative imagination of our students, and to their credit,” he said. “Nothing tragic ever happened on this campus or in that music building.”

Mr. Talmadge is retired today and still thinks the ghost was the figment of active imaginations.

“The music students used to have to be in that building late at night a lot. I think they made the story up to entertain themselves,” he said

The story of the ghost disappeared after the building was converted to other uses in the 1980s. After the music students stopped using the building late at night, Mr. Talmadge said, the stories stopped, too.

In an interview earlier this summer, Anderson University President Evans Whitaker said he had not heard of any new reports of ghostly activity.

Still, the legend and the rumors remain. In books from “Haunted South Carolina” to “Ghosts of the Upstate,” the tale of the Sullivan House ghost joins stories like one of the haunted jail in Pickens County, once the site of a lynching. Other stories involve Cry Baby Bridge off Broadway Lake Road and a lost airplane pilot who asks for a ride on stormy nights in the foothills of Pickens and Oconee counties.

Greg Allgood, director of Anderson University campus ministries, which now runs the Sullivan House, said he was introduced to the story of the ghost early in his tenure at the university.

“I had been here about a week when one of the guys from physical plants said to me ‘You know that place is haunted,’” Mr. Allgood said. “I know there are some guys from physical plants who won’t go in the building at all, but I’ve never seen anything here.”

In the 1990s the building was renovated and became the offices for campus ministries.

“I’ve had student say they heard things late at night, but I mostly attribute that to this being an old house,” Mr. Allgood said.

Full Source: Independent Mail