Ghosts in the Halls

In our March Question of the Month, we asked alumni to share their reminiscences and ghost stories of Alumni and Chaplin Halls. Eight of you responded.

It was close to midnight, and I was leaving Chaplin to go back to my dorm for the night. I walked out through the gallery, and as I walked toward the foyer looking into the glass doors, I saw someone walking behind me in the reflection. So I turned to see who it was and see if they were headed to my dorm [so] we could walk together, but there was nobody there. At that point, I got the heck out of there and to my dorm room. ~Michelle (Savary) Lambert ‘00

When I was a Cadet, what is now Chaplin Hall was the Library. I did my work-study there all four years. I know that nobody liked to have to go around alone and make sure all of the lights were off, especially on the bottom floor. We'd always go around together to do this (there were usually two work-study students working the desk until the Library closed at midnight). However, we were also allowed to stay later to use the computers, typewriters, copiers, etc, for classwork. One evening in December, 1985, I had a big paper due for one of my classes, and back then, I didn't type as fast with two fingers as I do today. When midnight rolled around, I moved from the computer room in the basement to use the computer in the Head Librarian's (Mrs. Turner's) office. I plugged in my disks and started to work. After a little while, I thought I heard a chair move in the reference area outside, then another. Thinking that someone was left inside (that happened quite a bit), I went out to check. There was no one there. I then went back to my work and ignored any noises. It got to be around four a.m. when I knew I heard someone out there. I looked again, but the room was empty. I went back to the computer and had started typing again when I felt something brush against the back of my neck! That freaked me out, but I so needed to get my paper done that I just typed faster! When I was done, I just about ran out of there. We always said that old Alden Partridge, himself, haunted the Library, because of that huge portrait that used to hang in the back stairwell. And that stairwell was always freezing cold, no matter the time of year. To this day, I'm convinced that Captain Partridge was messing with me. ~Doug Annino, '87

Alumni Hall may have had several ghosts abounding; howerer, I remember seeing a Volkswagen on the the third floor one night. ~Ray Hendrickson '59

I heard many stories about ghosts while I was at Norwich. I spent many long hours alone in the basement of the old library studying and I honestly can't say I ever saw or heard anything. My friends claimed that they saw cats and heard weird noises though. I did hear about a window imploding once. I actually saw the cracks. That was strange. ~John Willis '91

Parents Weekend 1999. My parents are up from South Carolina. Declining their dingy hotel reservations, they decide to shack up in my corner triple in Alumni. Which was fine, because I could easily find an empty rookbuddy's bed. So I make my rounds on the UP, and I end up in another Junior's corner triple in (what's the one between Goodyear and Alumni?) Anyway, I'm laying on the top bunk facing the wall. I am slowing falling asleep and am awakened by someone pulling my ponytail. I open my eyes immediately and find that I cannot move. I am frozen in fear. I try to yell but nothing comes out but a little whimper. I continue to feel the pulling on my ponytail. Finally, I hear, "Yangco?!" This seems to have broken me of my frozen state. I jump off my rack, and my classmate is staring at me from the bottom bunk. "What were you doing?" I explain to her, and she tells me that at that exact moment she felt that there was something in the room. I freak out and leave her to deal with these spirits, herself. I ended up somewhere in Ransom, but that's another story.... ~Christinas Yangco '01

My sophomore year I lived in the UP level corner room of Hawkins Hall, which allows a very good view of then Chaplin Library. While studying very late one night, I looked out the window and found myself looking at the shining ghostly white image of Captain Alden Partridge in the upper front window of Chaplin. Also, I always felt as though there was someone following me whenever I was in the lower levels of the library and constantly looked behind me to find no one. ~Rebecca Cooper '91

I was at Norwich from '61 to '65 but cannot remember the year when the event took place. As I recall, someone in Administration arbitrarily decided that the library should close earlier than normal in the evenings. Many students used the library as their primary place of study (fewer distractions, noise, etc.) especially when cramming for finals. No one in Dewey Hall seemed to be listening to the pleas to return to the original hours, so a few cadets decided to brick up the front entrance in order to bring a little more attention to the situation. Having just been dutifully trained in Military Tactics, we decided to set up a little diversion in order to achieve the main objective. The construction was completed in short order, in complete silence, in the dead of the night, right in front of the OD's nose. Cement blocks were borrowed from a local site on campus and placed accordingly. No mortar was used, as this was to be an attention getter, not a malicious act. The front entrance was totally blocked by a vertical wall of cement blocks. As the Corps of Cadets marched to morning mess, the message was sent! The Mess Hall was abuzz. The Library was closed for the day (not very good PR for Harmon Hall). The rumors roared! Parents called! Student representatives and organizations quickly became engaged with Administration. The point was made; no questions were asked; no information was volunteered; no demerits or tours awarded. A brilliant maneuver. Objective achieved!! Next event ...? ~Chan Weller '65

As I sit here and reminisce about my time at Norwich, I am brought back to the many stories I heard about this great building. From the librarians telling us about the ghost putting out a fire in the periodical room, to one of my companymen talking about his brother walking in and seeing the great mural on the far wall hanging upside down right in front of him. I also recall a story about ghost hunters coming to the campus to investigate. A cadet was walking across the UP, and a fog met him in the middle, crossing by him. He lost all sensation in his body and immediatly reported this to the investgators. To his surprise, the investigator told him, "But of course, that's what it feels like when a ghost passes through you." Another story that I remember my cadre telling us as Rooks was about the freshmen who fell asleep in the basement until well after closing. He woke up to find he was locked in but was let out by the night librarian. Upon returning to his barracks, his cadre put him against the wall and drilled him on where he had been. After explaining his situaltion, his cadre had no idea what he was talking about. They had no clue about any night librarian. They asked him to point her out in the staff section of the yearbook, but she was not there. To their surprise, he opened the yearbook to the front, where her picture was printed along with a dedication commemorating her death that year. I met an alumnus before I went to school at a summer job I had the prior summer. He talked about the bricked up room at the south end basement of Alumni Hall. He said that there had been a series of suicides in that room, specifically, [which] were all written off as coincidence until one day that one cadet walked in on the student that lived in that room. There he was, standing on a chair, preparing to hang himself. His friend stopped him and [a group] surrounded him, consoling and questioning him. They asked him why he wanted to hang himself, and he simply replied, "The people in the mirror told me to do it", at which point he proceded to describe each of the previous victims in gross detail. When I tried to sneak down to the basement of Chaplin Hall to catch some Zzz's as a Rook, I found myself to be wide awake, filled with anxiety. Needless to say, I never went down there, again. Even my Rook buddies talked about the lights down there turning themselves on. Whether these stories are true or not, it does not matter. They all add to the experience of being a Norwich Cadet. ~Jeff McGowan '96

Did you mean to send us a story, but forgot? It's not too late! Email us at or write to us in care of the Public Affairs Office, Norwich University, 158 Harmon Drive, Northfield, VT 05663, and you may see your story in the Norwich Record, someday!
March 2004

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