The worst time of the year has officially arrived. You can see sport as the escape of a scarecrow… …but you’re wrong.
The sports world has plenty of them and places like the Hockey Hall of Fame, Camp Randall Stadium and the Skirvin and Pfister Hotels are among the most famous legends in their cities.
Aren’t you a believer? We’ve got it. And, of course, we have no hard evidence. But you can easily change your mind when you hear these stories from the seven most famous places in the sport.
Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin
Fault! The file name is not specified. AP Photo/Conscientious cut
Long before Camp Randall Stadium became a celebration of soccer and ski jumping in Wisconsin, it served as a barracks and training ground for Union soldiers.
Named after state governor Alexander Randall, a fervent abolitionist who threatened Wisconsin with secession if Abraham Lincoln did not win the presidential election and end slavery, the facility was not intended to house prisoners of war. But after a great victory for the Union in April 1862, he was ordered to take more than 1,000 Confederate soldiers with him.
It would be an understatement to say that the facility is poorly prepared for a large number of soldiers. Within a few weeks, viruses and diseases spread rapidly across the camp. In June all other prisoners were transferred due to inadequate and unreasonable conditions. In the end, during the short existence of the camp as a prison, 140 people died. They were buried in a nearby mass grave.
It was not a very happy place, said Mike Huberty, founder of American Ghost Walks (who started in Madison) and host of the Other Side podcast. And that’s why people in and around Camp Randall say they’ve seen ghosts of Confederate soldiers.
Just a few weeks ago I spoke to a man who has lived in Madison for a long time and is the head of security at the factory. He said a guard approached him and said you’re not gonna believe this. I saw a Confederate soldier walking through the room. And when I went after him, there was no one there. He couldn’t believe it and thought it was crazy because he didn’t know the story, but you hear stories like that.
Built in 1917, Camp Randall Stadium has hosted football matches for over 100 years, but both fans and locals can’t forget its history. The Shanks described seeing ghosts before matches, and it seems that they are usually seen in uniform – and under different loops and bandages – wandering around and outside the stadium, seemingly to forget the thousands of noisy fans.
According to Huberty, this can be explained by Steinband’s theory, which assumes that spiritual impressions during severe traumatic events are stored in the energy of the place and presented as almost residual recordings – and not spirits condemned to spend eternity in one place. He said that you can experience this when you enter a building where something disturbing has happened and you are overwhelmed by grief or a feeling of heaviness.
Fault! The file name is not specified. The statue of Abraham Lincoln at the University of Wisconsin. Angus B. McWickar/St. Paul Wisconsin Historical Association/Getty Historical Sculptures.
Whatever the explanation or lack of it, the stadium is not the only place he should live in a university. The partial remains of two bodies were discovered in 1919 when the land was cleared for the Lincoln statue. This area was once a cemetery, and before it was a sacred cemetery several thousand years old. These two men – only their lower half was found on the spot; the upper half was found three years later – died in the 1830s and were accidentally left behind when the cemetery was moved.
In the early 2000s, a senior student showed the sister of a 20-year-old boyfriend who visited him in Taiwan, Huberty said. She doesn’t speak English, but she seems to be enjoying herself. I mean, until they get to the Lincoln statue. Then she gets very scared and says they have to leave.
The friend doesn’t understand why, but later she tells her brother that while they were there, two heads appeared behind Lincoln. They both smiled at him. The brother and the friend thought it was a joke, but then we heard that two men were buried. Then people believed her.
St. Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, United Kingdom
Fault! The file name is not specified. Andy Rain/ Poole/EPA-EFE/ Shatterstock
After 103 years of success at Dell, Southampton moved to a brand new stadium about two miles away in 2001. This state-of-the-art facility, named after the nearby church the team established in its early days, has more than doubled its capacity to over 32,000 seats.
In the first season, the team only had one problem in the new stadium: He couldn’t win the game.
Of course, like the fans, they started looking for the reasons for a new series of failures. Some say that the fans of Portsmouth FC, the initiator, buried their jerseys under the stadium during the work and enchanted the team. But others have said that there is something more sinister in this game.
There were a lot of things no one could explain, said Andrew Frewing-House, a researcher of paranormal phenomena in Southampton and director of events and marketing at Supernatural Tours.
One staff member said he was a bit afraid to go to the big stadium at night because people were talking about these shadows and hearing these voices. But as soon as the team started an incredibly bad season – really bad, terrible – more and more people started believing that the stadium had a curse because it was built on an old cemetery.
The stadium is located in the middle of a former Anglo-Saxon colony called Hamwich. On the stadium grounds, graves and human remains dating back to the 7th century have been discovered. Archaeologists still find artifacts from that time, or rather underground.
Apparently afraid of events or perhaps just a lost record, the team – nicknamed The Saints – brought a pagan witch named Cerridwen DragonOak Connelly in the hope of freeing them from the evil spirits.
We would call the ritual she performed Britain Clearing, which means she has to send the spirits into what you believe, to the next level or beyond, the Freeving House said. She claimed they were evil spirits, but I suppose you would have been a little upset if you’d been upset about building your grave.
Just hours after Connally completed his ritual, Southampton FC won their first match in the new stadium. Although the team has felt better since the first season, Freewing House said the ritual had not completely stopped the strange events around the stadium and he is still hearing stories from fans and staff about their perceived supernatural experiences.
I think the players must have believed in [the curse] enough to get someone to come and do the ritual, and I don’t know if it was a coincidence or if it really helped because they won just after, he said. But I think they’ve convinced themselves that it’s gone, and they’ve completely convinced themselves that it’s gone, even if it’s not. In my experience I tend to think that exorcisms and purges do not always work.
If you [spirit and] are really upset about what happened, it doesn’t matter what others do. You’re not going. So if you curse people into believing that it happened, then of course you feel that very strongly and you don’t give up because someone comes and says: Can you please leave?
University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana
Fault! The file name is not specified. Nicole Abbett/NHLY about Getty Images
Like many Catholic colleges around the country, Notre Dame is full of spooky legends and scary fairy tales – so much so that the admissions office even shows many of them on its website for potential students. And while it is believed that there are many shaky places on campus, perhaps none of them is better known as Washington Hall.
Over the centuries of its existence, several people have died in or around the building, including a professor, a Spitz, and a student and football star, George Hipp. Yeah, Hyper… I mean, get one for Hipper… for himself.
Fault! The file name is not specified. The legend of soccer star George Hippe has a strong presence at the University of Notre Dame. A.P. Photo/John Flesher
According to widespread legend, the 25-year-old hippie, the eldest, missed curfew one night and was locked up in his dormitory on his return. It was a cold late fall night, but he had nowhere else to go, so he slept on the steps of Washington Hall, a venue for shows and musical events. The next day he contracted pneumonia and eventually died of an infection shortly after (but not before he had made his famous request to his coach Knut Rock from his deathbed). Many believe that Hipp never left Washington Hall and now, 100 years later, still haunts the building.
Students, staff and teachers report a strange sense of presence when they are alone, unexplained footsteps, often moving objects, the rustling of curtains and the sound of wind instruments when no one is playing. Numerous student reporters, as well as professional ghost hunters, spent nights in the lobby hoping to make contact with a hidden ghost and documented their efforts without much concrete evidence.
Matthew Swaine, author of American Haunted Universities: Ghosts wandering the halls of Halloyd’s said rumours about the hippie ghost started shortly after his untimely death.
I was able to find an article from a student newspaper from around 1926, says Swaine. The student claimed he woke up one night or early in the morning and went outside, where he saw the ghost of George Hipp on a horse in front of the building. Other stories tell that the disciples heard the horn blow, and if they look for someone to do it, they never find him. Some people think that Hipp had this rebellious side and that he was a clown, and that’s just one of his jokes.
Swain soon points out that the story of Hipp’s death is probably false, while another, less common theory is more realistic about what happened: A few weeks before his stay in the hospital, Hipp taught his teammate how to bet late at night and he got a sore throat. Because there were no antibiotics available at that time, he gradually became ill and eventually developed pneumonia and succumbed to the disease. He probably didn’t sleep on the steps of Washington Hall, at least not that night, but that doesn’t stop the legends.
They didn’t like a report much at the time, so we’ll probably never know exactly what happened, Swaine said. It’s as if they’ve created these legends over and over again to spread the myth of mankind. In this case we are dealing with a hippie who is presented as a bit of a rebel and who had a tendency to rebel. So the legend and these stories go together, but I’ve never met a real story.
Toronto Hockey Hall of Fame, Canada
Fault! The file name is not specified. David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images
It’s not just the ghost of the Hartford whalers lurking in the Hall of Fame – although we could really catch the ghost of Brass Bonanza. Visitors have long reported seeing a woman with long black hair, especially in and around the women’s toilet on the second floor.
In 1993, the Hall of Fame moved to what is now the Brookfield Place complex, located on a multi-purpose 197 acre site west of downtown Toronto. Originally built in 1885, it housed the Bank of Montreal – and that’s where our sad story begins.
We think it’s a former bank clerk named Dorothea. In 1953, a 19-year-old girl shot herself in a woman’s bathroom in a sofa. She died the next day in the hospital. There are many rumors and theories about what took Dorothea’s life, but none of them have ever been confirmed. A Toronto star discovered a false identity in 2009 after years of reporting on a ghost named Dorothy.
According to Rowena Brooke, head of brand development for Haunted Walks in Toronto, bankers began experiencing strange events soon after Dorothea’s death.
Since the 1950s, bank employees have had lights going on and off, Brooke said. Doors and windows open and close by themselves. They heard these strange noises, like footsteps when no one is around, or screaming. Some employees would leave work for a while, come back and find their office confused.
But most importantly, they said they would feel this obvious presence, as if someone else was watching them there. It feels like someone else was there. And the strongest spot was actually in the ladies’ toilet on the second floor of the couch. Until now, the employees who used the sanitary facilities were so uncomfortable that the bank had to install the sanitary facilities in the basement because many people refused to use them.
In the end, the bank moved, but the strange things stayed. Hall of Fame staff and guests report that they hear such sounds and have the same overwhelming feeling that they are not alone. Brooke said that one of the staff members told a story about a little boy to parents and other adults during a visit to the museum. At one point he stopped on his way and started looking at the wall. Someone asked him what had happened and he answered by pointing at him and saying Do you see them?
Fault! The file name is not specified. Images for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Roberto Machado Noah/LightRocket by Getty Images
Nobody saw anything. But the boy insisted on seeing a woman with long black hair in and out of the wall. He couldn’t believe nobody else could see them.
Stories like these have made it one of the most famous ghost towns in the city, and ghost walks begin with one of the most popular outings outside the building, courtesy of the Hall of Fame.
The venue, which did not respond to our request for comment on this story, did not necessarily promote the ghost story, but allowed the Haunted Walks to organize a special Halloween event on the second floor in 2013. Brooke remembers it well.
Our special Halloween visit ended on the second floor in a room near the bathroom, she said. During the last match one person left the group to use the facilities. On his return he went to one of the guides and told him that he had heard a frightened woman screaming in the nearby bathroom.
He was visibly shocked and wanted to know if we had heard him and what was going on. I was beside everyone, and none of us heard anything. We were so close to where he was, that if it had been a woman screaming like that, we would have heard something like that. We were all very afraid he’d heard it when no one else had. It’s just that there have been so many different encounters with her that I think there really is something going on in this building.
Rochester, New York Boundary Field
Fault! The file name is not specified. Tim Clayton/Corbis by Getty Images
In the mid-nineties, the Rochester Red Wings were one of the most successful youth baseball teams in baseball history. The Triple A team, then a branch of the Baltimore Orioles (now part of the Minnesota Twins organization), has won 18 titles in its nearly 100-year history, the last in 1993 and 1995. Because the province has a certain fan base, she decided it was time to build a new stadium for her favorite team.
Construction of a new facility in the centre of Rochester began in 1996 and workers reported the discovery of bones in the area under which the stadium was eventually built. It is not yet known whether they were human or animal remains, or even whether they were there, but the rumors continue to this day, and an often quoted explanation for all the strange things that happen in a baseball stadium.
And a lot of strange things happen at the stadium.
The team moved to Frontier Field at the beginning of the 1997 season and the field and care staff reported inexplicable incidents almost immediately, such as accidentally switching on televisions in rooms where nobody had been for several days, or switching on and off the lights.
In 2004 the team invited the researchers of paranormal phenomena. After spending the evening, they officially declared the border field to be a field of persecution. The team and the stadium took advantage of this prize and took part for several years in the Fear at the Border event held in the Halloween area.
Nate Rowan, the Red Wings’ public relations director, has never experienced anything that he cannot explain, but he understands why others would feel uncomfortable late at night in the stadium.
I think the end of the night in a sports facility where thousands of people should be sick, having fun, drinking beer and just having a good time, and at the end of the night all the lights go out and you’re one of the lonely bodies in a huge facility like this, he said. If there’s an unexpected sound, he shakes because there shouldn’t be anyone there.
And because the Red Wings were so successful before moving to new premises, he thinks it’s only natural that the fans blame someone else for their last fight.
The community is used to winning the team, Rowan said, so people are talking: Dude, we should be sued for not winning since 1997. We’ve only been in qualifying twice since then, so of course they think there must be a reason for that.
Our players don’t seem to worry too much about ghosts at the border, but I’ve heard many players say that they don’t want to or don’t want to stay in certain hotels. There is a hotel in Milwaukee that has hosted most of the Brewers’ opposing teams, and several players refuse to stay there.
Which brings us to…
Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Fault! The file name is not specified. Anna Lardinois
Rowan doesn’t exaggerate when he says that some players don’t want to stay at the Pfister Hotel when they take over the Milwaukee breweries. Around the MLB there are countless stories of players’ strange encounters with the customers of a chic establishment.
Hoping to create the city’s most beautiful hotel, Guido Pfister started building a hotel at the end of the 19th century. Century with the construction of the hotel. He died a month before their discovery, but his son Charles was determined to realize his father’s vision. It was opened in 1893 and was an immediate success. Throughout its remarkable history, it has welcomed every incumbent American president. Charles Pfister, who was never married and had no children, worked tirelessly until the end of his life to preserve his father’s legacy. Charles even lived in one of the rooms for many years and was the factory manager.
And some say he never left the hotel after his death in 1927. Guests described seeing a smiling and well-dressed old ghost, resembling the portrait of Pfister, which still hangs in the hotel. He was noticed in the lobby and other parts of the hotel and became a kind of friendly character in the city, with his own Twitter account.
I think if you know a little bit about Charles, it’s no wonder he’s the most visible spirit, said Anna Lardinois, a local historian, writer and founder of Gothic Milwaukee. All the stories we hear about ghosts are really just about how he’s always trying to please people. When people say they have seen them, it is usually because something changes in the atmosphere of the room, for example the light becomes lighter or darker, the curtains open or close. And it really looks like he’s still trying to make the hotel as big as possible.
Professional baseball players seem to be the ones who have gained the most experience with the Pfister spirit over the years. Lardinois thinks this is just an attempt by Pfister to help its local breweries and give them maximum benefit in the area. She wouldn’t be shocked if some of the incidents were actually players playing with teammates, but she believes these opponents reveal the evil side of Pfister.
As far as I know, the travel crews were followed very often during Charles Pfister’s life, Lardinois said. Being at home means not only knowing the terrain and conditions, but also eating and resting. Fans went to the hotels where the traveling teams stayed and knocked on the windows all night.
As a Milwaukee brewer living in Pfister, you are known to sleep like a little angel. But if you play the Brewers, I hear it’s been a rough night. And I think it proves the charm of Charles Pfister as Milwaukee.
Actors such as Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Upton publicly discussed the fact that their clothes had been scattered around the room, furniture had been moved or the radio had accidentally been turned on. Stanton, in his own creepy way, compared it to a haunted house in Walt Disneyland. In 2013 Michael Young, then a member of the Texas Ranger, spoke about his experiences at the hotel in a report for ESPN magazine.
Oh, fuck… This place, he says. Look, I’m not the one spreading ghost stories, so if I tell you that’s what happened, then it happened. A few years ago I was in bed after a night race and I was gone. My room was locked, but I heard these footsteps pounding around my room.
I heard all those stories about this hotel, so I was up at the time. And then I heard it again, those footsteps on the ground, and I screamed: Hey, hey, hey, hey! Make yourself at home. Sit down, sit down, but don’t wake me up, okay? After that, I heard nothing until the end of the night. I’m just letting him know he’s happy we can be buddies, that he can marinate there for as long as he needs, so I don’t wake up.
Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City
Fault! The file name is not specified. AP picture
Baseball players have Pfister, basketball players have Skirvin. This milestone of Oklahoma City, perhaps the most famous of ghostly sports hotels, has more than a fair share of believers.
Ask Tim Hardaway Jr., Eddie Curry, Metta Mira and his former Los Angeles Lakers teammates or anyone who played in a team that played the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Some players even refuse to stay there and reserve and pay for their accommodation while they are in town. Brooklyn Nets star Kiri Irving is so convinced of supernatural activity that he is currently making a film about it – and many actors blame their apathetic performances at the Chesapeake Energy Arena for this.
Jeff Prowin is the author of several books about Oklahoma City and the history of the state with ghosts and the founder of the OKC Ghost Tour. Despite his CV, he says he’s naturally skeptical, but he admits that there have been too many strange events at the hotel to be just coincidence.
Of course I border on cynicism, but over the years I have spoken to so many people who have no reason to lie, he said. They all have very specific details about what they saw. Something’s really going on.
After an oil spill in the 1980s, Skirvin was closed in 1988 after decades of popularity. Once it embodied wealth and status in Oklahoma, it remained empty for 19 years before being reopened in 2007 after a major reconstruction project. Ghost stories surfaced as it closed while it was sitting there, a huge deserted building in the heart of the capital, ripe for invasion and rumours.
Many call the spirit of a woman named Effy the master spirit that wanders through the halls. Legend has it that the founder and owner of the hotel, W.B. Skirwin, had an affair with a chambermaid named Effy, who became pregnant with him. Hoping not to embarrass the audience, he locked her in a room on the 10th floor during her pregnancy. Push it in so she can’t be seen. After giving birth, she was so upset by her situation that she jumped out of the window with the baby in her arms and fell. Guests reported seeing a female ghost with long black hair and hearing a child screaming at any time of day.
But there is no evidence that such a woman ever existed, and as County quickly notes, Skirvin’s wife died three years before the hotel opened in 1911, so a relationship with another woman would not be a big scandal. In fact, it is said that Skirvin had a reputation as a womanizer and drunkard, and it is said that there were indecent parties on the hotel floor at the time.
I think it goes back to the days of the barren law that started in Oklahoma in 1907 when we got statehood, he said. The Skirvin was a luxury hotel in Oklahoma City, where all rich and famous people came to visit, and of course they wanted to be entertained. If you want something to drink in the center of Oklahoma City, you can go to the top floor of the Skirvin Hotel.
They had all those parties there, and it wasn’t a secret. Once in a while the police had to make a raid and when they did, they had to go past the reception and up the ten steps. The receptionist called everyone on the 10th floor and reported that the police were on their way. And if there was something they didn’t want to find, they’d throw it out the window. They used to send people to bring girls from Oklahoma City to the party with these guys, so I think these legends have something to do with that kind of activity at the hotel.
Some visitors reported seeing ghosts similar to Skirvin or his daughter Pearl Mesta, who became the U.S. Ambassador to President Harry Truman in Luxembourg in 1949. Other visitors don’t see anyone in particular, but don’t feel alone.
There was a guy who said he saw a mattress base in his room that was depressed, as if someone was sitting on it, said Provine, who stopped by the Skirvin on his rounds. But there was no one there. And then he started sitting in the bed like he wanted to sit next to him or hug him. He left and stayed somewhere else.
And someone else woke up in the middle of the night because they heard the bathroom door slam shut. He was surprised, but decided to look in the bathroom, and the light went on, and the bath was just filled with water. There have been so many stories like this that simply don’t have a rational explanation.
Editor’s note : This story was updated last year with hunting and scary things for your Halloween fun.
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