Thousands of faculty, staff and students have passed through their halls since the college was founded 126 years ago. During this period of time, stories of a supernatural nature have spread across campus and through the student body. The supposed paranormal activity in some of Concordia’s buildings ranges from mild to terrifying.
Hoyum and Brown halls are home to the most aggressive of Concordia’s ghosts. She is the most active and disruptive of the ghosts. Multiple students have experienced strange and unnatural occurrences in Hoyum. The ghost is described as a figure with a pale, white face, blonde hair, and a black cloak. She has been known to flood the bathrooms with hot water during academic breaks, leaving a mess for students to clean up once they return to school. Students have returned to their rooms to find papers shuffled and strewn across the floor, even though no one had been inside. Students have also found their doors locked when they had been unlocked mere minutes before. The most haunting story of the Hoyum ghost is an account from a female resident. Asleep in her bed late one night, a presence other than her roommate caused her to stir. Opening her eyes, she saw the ghost climbing into bed with her. The figure lay down next to her for a few minutes and then was gone, leaving no trace.
This story is similar to another that affects male students in Brown Hall. Two roommates were asleep one night when one felt tugging on his sheets. The student assumed it was his roommate and yelled at him to stop. The roommate insisted it was not him. It was then that the roommate felt tugging at his own sheets. The boys thought that their third roommate may have returned home from a trip early, but the other boy was nowhere to be seen. Instead, they saw a figure with a pale face, blonde hair, and a black cloak in their room.
On a lighter note, there is a much friendlier ghost that haunts the theatre. Even though he is often referred to as either the “theatre ghost” or the “spirit of theatre,” this spirit has a name. In 1976, the theatre department ordered programs for their upcoming show to be printed. However, when they received the programs from the print shop, a mysterious name had appeared – Al Gersbach. There was no student or faculty member by that name, and the printers insisted that they had not added it. It was too late to reprint the programs, so the name was left alone. Since then, strange happenings have occurred in the theatre. One incident occurred when the lighting technicians for a show had decided to leave for the day. They determined that the lights were good enough for the performances, but Al had a different idea. The technicians were the last ones out of the building and had locked the door behind them, but the next day when they showed up to work, the lights had been shifted completely out of focus. Al was sending a clear message that the technicians needed to do a better job. Circuits have also been known to spontaneously go out. Practical jokes have been played with lights and sound during intermissions. Al has never harmed a performance, but if his name is not printed on the performance program, the show may not go as well. As a result, since the first incident in 1976, the name Al Gersbach has appeared on every theatre program.
Finally, there is a ghost that no one has ever seen, and most likely does not haunt Concordia’s campus any longer. There was once a building named North Hall, which was originally a hospital when it was built in 1893. Later, Concordia bought the property. North Hall had served many purposes during its time, including a dormitory, music hall, and storage facility. Reportedly, a ghost named Nathaniel haunted the building. He was believed to be the spirit of a janitor who had died during the Great Depression. He was friendly, never interfering with students or staff. When North Hall was used for music, students practicing late at night could sometimes feel a presence in the practice rooms with them even though they were alone. Other times, the building would be closed for the night, with the lights off and doors locked, but later lights could be seen on in the upper windows. North Hall was torn down in 1975 and stood where Bogstad Manor is today.
Contributed by Annie Weier, Concordia Archives student assistant