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The Legend Of Penn State’s Ghost Walk

There are tons of myths and legends surrounding Penn State’s campus. From the obelisk on west campus to the ghost stories surrounding the Betsy Aradsma murder in the Pattee stacks – almost every building and landmark has a tale. One of the lesser known legends is that of the Ghost Walk, a myth that dates back to the 1860s.

Back in the late 1800s, parts of north campus were heavily wooded. Students could travel through the wooded area using a tree-lined path that stretched from the Old Botany Building straight up to Park Avenue. In the mid-1800s, a horticulture professor named William Waring planted the two rows of trees that lined the walkway.

Thanks to its seclusion, students often snuck away from the path to escape the watchful eyes of the dean. The dark path also gained a haunted reputation thanks to a myth that originated in the 1860s – earning its name, the Ghost Walk.


The original path of the Ghost Walk

According to legend, a student got lost on campus during a blizzard in the 1860s and died as a result. It wasn’t long after that students started reporting seeing the student’s spirit wandering through the tree-lined path at night.

Unfortunately, the path has been destroyed due to construction over the years. If you tried to make the walk now, roughly six buildings would block you. However, you can still see one of the original Norway spruce trees planted by Waring. It stands tall behind the Old Botany Building, which has a ghost story of its very own. Some say that the ghost of Frances Atherton, George Atherton’s wife, watches over her husband’s grave across the street from the windows of the building.


The last remaining tree from the Ghost Walk

Regardless of whether or not you believe in the paranormal, be sure to check out the tree if you’re into Penn State history. Know about any other Penn State legends? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

Sarah Caskie

Sarah is a senior majoring in Journalism. She can usually be found at Saint’s looking up cat videos, or writing about music and stuff. She can be reached on Twitter at @classycaskie or via email at [email protected]


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