This Fall the winds have blown and the leaves have turned, and as Halloween has passed there is still conversation in the air of the spooky and the strange.
There are legends of hauntings and paranormal encounters in many of the buildings on the Southern Oregon University campus.
It is rumored that a little boy drowned during the construction of the Susanne Holmes residence hall, back in the 1940s, and that he still haunts the basement late at night. Another building on campus, Churchill, is said to be haunted by the ghosts of students who committed suicide.
Though some evidence exists and some have personally experienced paranormal activity in a variety of these places, the SOU Foundations, or more commonly known as Plunkett center, is by far the most haunted.
The building sits at the edge of campus, stark white and picturesque with tall columns and a broad wrap around the porch. On the inside, the wood is stained dark and there is a furnished dining room, exquisite works of art depicting love scenes from the 1700’s, the signing of the constitution and black and white photos of old Ashland.
The Plunkett center was originally built for Charles Chapel, a prominent member of the Ashland community in the early 1900s’s. The house was inhabited by the Chappell and Swedenborg families before becoming a part of the Southern Oregon University campus.
The most haunted regions of the Plunkett center are the basement and the attic.
As the story goes, one of previous inhabitants of the house haunts the attic who is displeased by swearing.
Down in the basement, visitors have recalled feeling chills, dizziness or just completely uncomfortable.
The Southern Oregon Paranormal club goes on spirit walks through the haunted parts of the Southern Oregon University campus, and when going through the Plunkett house there is often ghostly encounters.
Staff advisor for the paranormal club, Daniel Tharp, stated in an email that “there was one Spirit Walk that I did where we heard some sounds down in the basement, several people when to investigate and they felt very uncomfortable down there. They came back up, locked the door, and we continued the tour. After a time, those same individuals came back to unlock the door. When they tried to, a blue arc of electricity shot off the door knob. This would be a normal occurrence with carpeted floors. However, they went to do it again immediately afterwards and it happened again, [the] static electricity should have completely discharge the first time).”
The basement of the Plunkett center has also been formally investigated by a paranormal group called IPRG. The group measured the EMF’s or electromagnetic fields, which are often associated with the presence of the supernatural.
The group found the EMF’s to be very high in the basement. This could be an entity, or it could be something paranormal investigators call a ‘fear box’, a place with high EMF’s that makes people feel similar sensations to a haunting.
Those who work at the Plunkett center all have had some encounter, or hair prickling moment with the various entities in the house.
one staff member who work in the Plunkett center, Lisa Parcell, stated that everyone who works there has experienced something. Often the doorknobs jiggle or sometimes doors slam. The activity is intensified after the center has been used for an event, usually in the mornings and evenings, when there are few staff in the building.
If any student ever walking through the Southern Oregon campus and feeling a little adventurous, take a walk through the Plunkett house. They might just get a fright and a scare.