Two years ago, in April 2018, a Lansing ghost hunter told me that the Baker Woodlot, on the outskirts of Michigan State University's East Lansing campus, was haunted.
Not only did he say it was haunted, he claimed the he witnessed a witch coven meet there first-hand.
My friends and I were in a unique position to see this supposed coven, and alleged "hauntings" firsthand. We were not only MSU students, but involved in its (surprisingly large) paranormal club.
Plus, a few months prior, we got unprecedented access to investigate perhaps MSU's most infamous legend: that of Mary Mayo Hall.
The legend of Mary Mayo Hall centers around its padlocked 4th floor... supposedly due to students conducting Ouija Board rituals there in the past. When we asked, Residence Assistants in the building said they'd never been up there; every October, there is a "Haunted Tour" of campus, and even the tour isn't allowed up there. Facilities workers each had a different story as to why it was locked, ranging from black mold to ghosts, to simply there not being anything up there. This only added to the mystery. And somehow we got permission to not only go up there, but to film it.
What we found wasn't surprising: large, hot pipes made up most of the dusty 4th floor... so hot in fact that they were dangerous to touch. This explains why students aren't allowed up there: it's a safety hazard. We also found a filled trash can, indicating that facilities workers most definitely go up there for routine maintenance. Directly above the trash can is a small light, both right in front of the floor's sole window. When students claim to see an "apparition" through the window, we determined that it is most likely a real life person.
So, having debunked Mary Mayo Hall's legend, we were excited about hopefully seeing a ghost at Baker Woodlot. Unfortunately, we didn't see anything. No other people living or dead... let alone a coven. Plus, after hours of research online, we couldn't find a single claim of paranormal activity coming from the woods. Could we really trust this investigator's flimsy report?
Our paranormal quest at MSU didn't end there, though. In doing our online research, we found countless articles referring to MSU as one of the "most haunted campuses in America." One website even ranked it as unlucky number 13th in the nation. Yikes.
Since 2018, we've done 4 more filmed investigations on its campus.
1. W. J. Beal Botanical Garden:
The reports at the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden come from students that cut through the garden at night. This is actually a common occurrence... I know I always go for the more "scenic" shortcut. But here, it seems the garden is not only scenic, but supposedly haunted.
Legend states that apparitions are seen and disembodied voices are heard.
When we visited the garden, we weren't just cutting through at night... we were investigating. And finally... finally... we had potential "paranormal" activity happen.
The SB-7 Spirit Box, a device that rapidly produces white noise for "ghosts" to speak through, clearly said: "Save me! Water!"
The garden lies alongside the Red Cedar River. Could this be the reason for the garden's supposed activity? Perhaps it has nothing to do with the garden itself... and instead, due solely to its proximity to the river.
After this voice, we heard a disembodied growl, but it wasn't captured on camera, and can't be seen as definitive "paranormal" evidence. We were outdoors, after all. It could have been any number of things.
And we can't chalk the Spirit Box voice up to anything "paranormal" either... but it was just weird enough to make note of.
2. Beaumont Tower:
One of MSU's most famous legends is of the historic Beaumont Tower.
Supposedly, the apparitions of a couple are seen in period clothing, walking along the grounds of the tower.
Unfortunately (and perhaps as expected), we didn't have anything ghostly happen during our investigation.
3. Wonders Hall:
Ever since a recent death, ruled a suicide but suspected to be a murder, occurred in the Wonders Hall basement, it's been rampant with paranormal claims.
The death itself was strange enough... a student who didn't even live in Wonders Hall was found dead after being locked in a storage room. Even local police had their doubts concerning the cause of death. And, to make the story even stranger, some theorize the death had cult ties.
Today, students are known to venture down into the basement with a Ouija Board, and capture strange "orbs" in pictures.
During our investigation, we didn't capture any paranormal occurrences, or have anything bizarre happen.
Still, it's no wonder there are hauntings reported: the dark history is very real, and very intriguing.
(Sorry. That pun was inevitable).
4. Saints' Rest:
This is by far my favorite MSU legend.
Saints' Rest was once the first dormitory on campus, built in 1856.
20 years later, it burned to the ground.
Luckily, no one died in the fire. Still, the grounds of Saints' Rest are said to be insanely haunted. Apparitions are seen by students, and strange voices and noises are heard.
In 2005, the Campus Archaeology Program excavated the grounds, and one of things they uncovered was a doll head, which they nicknamed "Mabel." A psychic touring the university freaked out, claiming something "evil" was attached to the doll's head.
There's nothing creepier than a possessed doll.
For our investigation of Saints' Rest, we decided to conduct an experiment. My friend Devon recently purchased a "haunted doll" off eBay, and we decided, given the history here, to not only investigate Saints' Rest, but investigate her doll at the very spot Mabel was discovered.
What ensued was totally unexpected.
We did not expect to hear a child singing... but we did.
We did not expect to hear the same man's voice come through the spirit box three times, each time simply saying "hello"... but we did.
We did not expect Devon to have three scratch marks mysteriously appear on her arm... but she did.
While none of this is definitive "proof" of ghosts, it does make for a compelling case. And, for the most intriguing paranormal legend on Michigan State University's campus.