Historic Senior Hall

Friday, November 19, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:14 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Historic Senior Hall, the oldest building on the Stephens College campus, has served many purposes throughout the years.

It was a home, a library, a hospital ward and a residence hall. What makes it famous, however, is its alleged ghost.

For the past 150 years, Sarah Jane Wheeler has been said to haunt the hall. While a student at Columbia Baptist Female College in the 1860s, Wheeler allegedly met a Confederate soldier during the Civil War and nursed him back to health, according to the Stephens archives.

Late one night while attempting to run away together, the two died. Exactly how it happened, however, is up for debate.

There are many accounts of the story floating around. Some believe the couple drowned in the Missouri River, while others claim they were executed by college administrators. Other accounts of the story depict the couple being hanged.

Discrepancies also exist about who actually haunts the hall. Some accounts point to two women, one in a long white or green gown and another in burgundy, while others mention a woman believed to be Wheeler. There is also a version saying Wheeler and the soldier haunt it together.

While some braver souls choose to see for themselves if the hall is haunted by holding a séance to contact Wheeler’s spirit, the skeptics dismiss the ghost tales as fiction.

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