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Queens University of Charlotte is rumored to be haunted. Here's what we found out.

queens_clock_tower.jpg
Nick de la Canal
/
WFAE

Editor's note: A version of this story was originally published in October 2018. 

Queens University, in the heart of Charlotte’s historic Myers Park neighborhood, has a reputation as a very paranormally active place. For decades, students and faculty members have had unsettling experiences. FAQ City visited some of the campus’ most well-known haunted locales.

Burwell Hall

Burwell Hall is the birthplace of one of Queens’ oldest spooky stories. According to legend, a ghost resembling the wife of the university’s first president, Mrs. Margaret Anna Burwell, appears after 10 o’clock on the second floor. Burwell Hall is the oldest building on campus and dates back to 1914. The ghost is rumored to have been spotted since the 1930s or 1940s.

“I think it’s not true, but I just don’t really want to test it because I’m a little bit nervous myself,” said Adelaide Davis, the university’s director of Alumni Relations.

Davis said even though people are superstitious, no one has reported seeing Mrs. Burwell in years, maybe because people stay away at night. And if her spirit is there during the day, she’s leaving people alone. Nobody is being constantly terrorized.

‘A presence’

Morrison Hall is a two-story brick building with a basement dating back to the 1920s. It has served as a dormitory, a sorority and a student newspaper office. It’s now home to the university’s Student Life office.

“There’s a presence — we’ll call it a presence — here on the second floor of Morrison that has existed for a long time,” said Kayla George, director of residence life and housing at Queens.

George said she has experienced “a few things that are just sort of a little odd.”

“I had a former colleague, who was in the adjoining office, and his diploma was always framed, and it would always come sort of cock-eyed in (the) frame. Multiple times. He’d tape it, he’d do different things, and it was always off," she said. "That was probably one of the most odd things.”

Later, George said the colleague left Queens. But she said his empty office still felt occupied and she would hear strange noises like the floors squeaking.

“I definitely heard chair movement, like across the floor,” she said. “To the point where I went into the office and literally had to look around when it was a vacant office.”

‘I wouldn’t know how to explain those things’

In 2018, WFAE’s Nick de la Canal paid two visits to Queens’ campus for this story and heard lots of ghost stories, like the one about a dead woman heard playing the piano in the auditorium or students filing noise complaints for a dorm room that’s locked and empty but where there was a suicide in the 1980s.

On his first trip, de la Canal met with an administrator named Leigh Davis. Davis said that the “presence” in Morrison Hall, according to legend, is the ghost of a girl named Clara who supposedly hanged herself in a back stairwell after a breakup. A floor-to-ceiling fence now blocks the banister she’s said to have jumped from.

During de la Canal’s visit, he asked to see the stairwell, so he and Davis left her office and walked down the hallway, at which point de la Canal said his audio recording began to sound “weird.”

“You can hear, like, wind, or maybe a low-flying plane, but it doesn’t sound like a plane, and I don’t remember hearing anything like this in my headphones at the time,” de la Canal said. “And as we cross the threshold into the stairwell, there’s this high-pitched interference, followed by the door hinge.” (To hear the supposed interference, you will need to listen to the audio version of this story.)

De la Canal said in his story at the time that his equipment had “never picked up interference like that.” And when he went back to campus for his second visit the following day, George told him something else unusual had happened. Her colleague, AJ, had heard something in the stairwell roughly 10 minutes after de la Canal and Davis had visited the spot where the student supposedly jumped to hang herself.

“(AJ) came into my office … and she said, ‘Did you hear someone sobbing in the stairwell?’” George said. “I didn’t, and normally I can hear things in the stairwell… She said it was someone above her that was crying … and by the time she got to the top of the steps, there was no student.”

George said that after working at Queens for several years, she’s still not sure whether she believes the place is haunted.

“I don’t know. I think so. I don’t know,” George said. “There have been odd things that I can’t explain, and I don’t. I wouldn’t know how to explain those things. I don’t know if I do. I guess I’m not there yet.”

And de la Canal said he isn't sure either. The Charlotte Area Paranormal Society said that as of 2018, it had not done an investigation of the university.

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Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. Reach her at cdonnelly@wfae.org or on Twitter @donnellyclairee.
Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. He work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal