Being one of the first institutions of higher education in the state, UCO has a rich history that includes some myths and mysteries that endure even today. In the spooky spirit of Halloween, we sat down with Nicole Willard, the university archivist, to learn more about the myths and mysteries that haunt the Central campus.
Legend has it he is the tormented spirit of a maintenance worker killed when he fell to his death from the balcony. Others say he fell from the lighting gridiron during the production of a Thornton Wilder play – hence, he was dubbed Thornton.
Dating back to the 1940s, Thornton is said to move objects, call for help, turns light on and off, open and close doors, and drop pebbles on students.
Numerous other accounts have placed Thornton sitting in one of the theater seats.
Many people have reported strange sightings and occurrences in Old North, especially in the tower.
Various witnesses claim to have seen a dark shadow of a man wearing a hat moving through the building in a distorted way. Some believe it to be Central’s first president Richard Thatcher, for he was a small man who always wore a derby hat.
What is now the University House, was originally the historic Hazard House, built in 1910, became property of UCO in 1995 and first served the university as a dining and meeting place for faculty and staff.
It was called the Hazard House after its builder Henry Hazard who built it for his wife Lydia. The Hazard family occupied the house until Lydia’s death in 1970.
Over the years, UCO staff members have reported noises and strange happenings in the house. Many have heard footsteps going up the stairs and have seen light turn and off by themselves.
Lydia Hazard was known for being a very entertaining hostess – could Lydia still be tending to her family and guests?
During the same period that Murdaugh Hall was built (1937), underground concrete tunnels were constructed to house utilities and run steam from the power plant to warm all the major buildings on campus. Some say when these tunnels were being constructed under Murdaugh Hall, a door to a secret world was opened.
Legend has it that in the labyrinth of passageways running deep beneath campus, a secret passage to the underworld lies where students have been disappearing for years.
In most accounts, the students were last seen headed to the basement to do laundry. Students have reported strange sounds coming from the basement like what a monster might make. Rumor has it that someone or something routinely mark the basement with strange symbols, holes regularly appear in the walls and laundry frequently goes missing indicating that something may be living in Murdaugh’s basement.
While none of these reports can be confirmed, don’t be surprised if your socks go missing while doing your laundry in the basement of Murdaugh Hall.
Some say Bronchy is a dinosaur left over from the Mesozoic era, others say he is related to Nessie the Loch Ness Monster. So, the next time you are walking along the edges of Broncho Lake and you feel a light spray from the lake sprinkle your face, know that Bronchy is saying hello.
Happy Halloween, Bronchos!