Since the first group of students moved into Alumni Hall in fall of 1966, rumors surfaced about the ghost of a little girl lurking within the halls, and the most stories are concentrated in room 337.
In 2012, the current Executive Director of VUTV Ricky Cody featured a special report to investigate these stories, and went directly to the source interviewing the two residents of 337. Since airing, the story generated a lot of buzz; following is Cody’s account.
“It was one of the first stories I covered as a member of Valparaiso University Television which turned out to be the most memorable. From the grave of the dog that we all visit upon our arrival at FOCUS to the little girls roaming Alumni Hall, I knew that this was a story that needed to be reported.
When my cameraman, Matt, and I walked into room Alumni 337, it seemed completely ordinary. The rickety, old elevator still clunked from the first floor all the way up to the third. With equipment in hand and adrenalin building inside, we stepped out of the elevator.
The hallway was a carbon copy of the floors below us and likewise the floors above. However, the third floor had a different ambience than any of the others. The lights, while they didn’t physically flicker, were much dimmer and lacked a certain brightness. The glow seemed counterproductive – bringing gloom and darkness to the residents rather than joy and life.
Freshman residents Caitlin Fitzpatrick and Becca Krieger welcomed us to their room to get an inside look at the room that students had been talking about.
“I remember getting Facebook messages from friends in my classes wanting to know if it was true,” Fitzpatrick said in our interview three years later. “In a matter of weeks it seemed that I was known as the ‘ghost girl.’”
She had reason for the name. Pictures on her phone showed her and her roommate were not the only ones who lived in that room. In one photo, there appears to be a little girl peering in on the side of their full-length mirror. Another photo showed, what appeared to be, a little girl sitting cross-legged.
If the photos weren’t enough, the screams at night and noises of children running up and down the hall could frighten even the non-believers. “I eventually got so used to the screams and noises at night, not only from outside the room, but also inside my room,” Fitzpatrick explained. “The nights that it got so bad, I would yell ‘Maggie, shut up!’”
Fitzpatrick also shared the story of waking up with scratches all over her body. She recalls the screams being loud one particular night, and it was hard for her to sleep. The next morning upon entering the shower scratches covered her body, but she never felt particularly threatened.
“I never felt like my life was at stake, or that she would harm me in a way that I would need to leave the room,” Fitzpatrick added.
For myself, I remember what happened after I left the original interview back in 2011. I came back to the VUTV office ready to put the package for the news together. After all the editing was complete, I received a call from my Executive Director, Jasmine Williams, asking me what I did to the footage that we shot.
Confused, I came straight to the office. After watching the package, I was scared by what I saw. During my stand-up outside of Alumni, over my right shoulder, what appears to be a little girl walks across the front door of the building. My initial reaction was one of disbelief and then fear. I didn’t believe it.
My disbelief was immediately disposed of the minute I watched a similar clip. In the journalism industry, especially in broadcast, taking multiple takes, or shots, of a particular scene is beneficial just in case you mess up. Indeed, I filmed my stand-up twice. Even in the second stand-up, the supernatural still made an appearance.”
Since the broadcast of Cody’s investigation, girls who lived in the room over the past four years were individually asked about their experiences. And despite being interviewed individually, they described similar occurrences.
Junior Ashley Sager lived in the room fall of her freshman year and didn’t hesitate to speak about her encounters.
“Yeah, it’s definitely true,” said Sager.
It was around Halloween that year when someone showed Sager the photo taken in the mirror by Caitlin Fitzpatrick, who lived in the room the year prior. When Sager saw the photo her first thought was, “I’ve seen that before, I’ve seen that girl in the mirror.”
In fact, Sager said that throughout the semester she saw the reflection on five to 10 different occasions.
“I would be at my desk and I would turn around…and then I could see a little girl in the mirror,” said Sager. “She was never smiling, just looked at me.”
Sager said the experiences only happened when she was alone in the room, and described the girl as a child in dress from a distinctly different era.
“Same girl, same clothes, same outfit,” said Sager,” You can tell that it wasn’t from our time, like the way she was dressed was older.”
After moving in, Sager frequently took note of strange noises, but quickly dismissed them. Flags were raised once she began to hear what sounded like child’s laughter.
“I would hear laughing, but I figured it was someone down the hall, but it always sounded like a kid, like a little girl,” said Sager.
Sager also said they frequently noticed their door would drift open and closed despite there being no draft. A similar story was also told by current resident, freshman Alli Baylor.
“We always thought it was a draft, but it happens when the window is closed too,” said Baylor.