Truly Bizarre: Haunting at Minnesota State University
It’s not unheard of for college dorms and campuses to sometimes gain auspicious reputations for paranormal happenings. As so many young minds and imaginations filter through the same halls over decades, it’s reasonable to assume that each class may twist local tales to create deeply seeded urban legends. After all, who doesn't love a good ghost story – especially one that’s possibly fabricated to bamboozle genuinely curious investigators?
At the crux of such cases, one must ask: How can we tell the difference between an urban legend and a true story? What lies at the root(s)?
In the case of Minnesota State University (MNSU) in Mankato, MN, one ghostly legend has long-persisted to catch the attention of local media, ghost investigators and students alike. Could it be more than a tall tale, some ask? Only some digging might reveal the truth.
McElroy Hall’s Most Unconventional Haunt
The MNSU co-ed dorm, McElroy Hall, is fabled to house multiple spirits (by some accounts), one of which – a panty-snatching specter – is most well-known.
No, you really heard that right...(Ghosts in your underwear drawer? Hard to believe, indeed!)
With a ghostly panty-bandit on the loose, the story seems to have all the markings of a co-ed urban legend. Yet some accounts may paint a different picture.
Accounts from On-Site
We turn to Robb Murray of the Mankato Free Press, who beat the pavement in 2006 to find out exactly what’s going on at McElroy Hall.
After several failed attempts to glean evidence for the existence of the spirit from multiple people, Murray writes: “[The ghost] is in at least three books, listed on at least one Web site. Could it be that it’s simply a recycled tale that makes for good copy? Helps sell books? Really, who can resist retelling the story of a ghost that goes on panty raids?”
While in the end no definitive explanation from Murray’s investigation broke free of “rumor” or “legend”, he was able to establish that according to one interviewee – residence hall maintenance worker, Rich Wheeler – a resident once died in “Mac” (McElroy Hall). While he could not say exactly how or when, this adds interesting credence to the story.
Pealing Back the Layers
With the possible culprit in sight, additional examination might reveal whether correlation is actually causation; or if the unfortunate and untimely death of a student decades ago was simply a convenient hook-line-and-sinker for baiting curiosity even today.
One reference in particular echoes the same cautious-curiosity reflected in Murray’s prose. The Shasta Supernatural Investigators on Spiritrealm.iwarp.com list the phenomenon at MNSU as “Unknown..[sic] possibly Visiting Spirits… possibly pranks by students…” Though perhaps even more tellingly, the following line reads, “Crawford Dorm, the main storeroom, and Crawford-McElroy Complex all claim genuine hauntings. No evidence of pranksters has been detected.” [For a map of land, which illustrates the connection of the Crawford Residence Community and McElroy Residence Community, see this MNSU map.]
If it’s not pranks, then what is it, really? Perhaps only time will tell – or maybe a more thorough investigation should be sought to definitively put this case to rest.
Whether witnesses are pealing back the veil in McElroy Hall or having the wool pulled over their eyes is up for debate. But one thing is for certain – McElroy Hall has amassed a strange reputation in regional paranormal circles and one that perhaps warrants a closer look.