Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

October 30, 2012

Bumps in the night

TAHLEQUAH — When Seminary Hall was a new building on the vast prairie of Indian Territory, it was a boarding school for girls ages 5 to 20.

From 1975 to 1901, Florence Wilson, for whom Wilson Hall is named, served as principal, guiding the educational, cultural and spiritual growth of the students.

Happy memories may live on in the old building of children just being children, and growing up. But in the quiet darkness, some say they’ve heard the laughter of children and the sounds of their footsteps running down the hallway.

Are they ghosts at play?

This past weekend, visitors to Seminary Hall had an opportunity to consider the mystery, as Northeastern State University Graduate Student Association members conducted lantern-lit tours.

Jennie Love, a GSA member who teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) at the NSU library, enjoys the fundraiser.

“I like scaring people,” Love said. “I tell stories people tell me have happened to them in Seminary Hall. Mine are more ghost stories.”

Last year, she was the one who was scared. It still gives her chills to recall being stranded in the dark building last year. When a miscommunication got her locked out of her office with her keys, purse and phone still inside, Love thought she’d sleep in the building until daybreak.

“I’d gone back in to let someone take pictures, and when I went to meet my friends, they thought I’d left already,” Love recalls. “I was wearing short sleeves and it was too cold to walk, and I couldn’t get into my locked house, anyway.”

Picking a spot on the third floor where the offices are, she tried to get comfortable and sleep. When she heard giggling, like two little girls playing, she thought it was her imagination from giving the tours.

Then she heard footsteps running down the hall, coming closer to where she had camped out. She froze.

“I thought, ‘I’m making this up,’ then, ‘Oh, no, it’s really happening,’” she said. “[The  noise] got louder and the two girls turned into what sounded like 10 girls, playing and giggling – like a herd of little girls I couldn’t see. I made it two hours, then I thought, ‘I’m alone.’”

She left Seminary Hall and walked to a convenience store to wait for morning.

“I know people won’t believe me, but it felt innocent, not like anything was harmful,” Love said. “Now I know all these ghost shows are real.”

As she began a tour Saturday night near two trees on the lawn, Love told about a figure of a woman – wearing a black dress and holding a lantern – whom many have reportedly seen standing between the trees.

“They say it’s Florence Wilson, coming to welcome the new students who arrived in wagons,” Love said.

When the group was directed to move to Seminary Hall, everyone went around the trees rather than between them.

In front of Seminary Hall, inside the foyer and throughout the building, Love showed photographs, rooms and areas of the upstairs where strange sounds are heard, objects are reportedly moved, doors lock and unlock themselves, and the electricity turns itself on and off.

“Two grad students were typing in what was the chapel,” Love said. “It was 2 in the morning when they heard [someone say], ‘Get out.’ The students looked at each other, one saying, ‘That’s not funny,’ to which his friend replied, ‘I didn’t say that.’”

According to Love, while the students were wondering about it, they began to type again, and a voice said in an even louder voice, “Get out!”

They ran out of the room and left the building.

“When they went back in the morning, the door was locked and they had the key,” Love said.

Those on Saturday’s tour stopped and listened or looked when Love talked about each experience.

“On the second floor is a mural painted by the famous Kiowa Five. They were going to paint at night when it was quiet,” Love said. “But they heard the little girls laughing and running.”

They didn’t come back and paint at night anymore, she said.

One day in a classroom, students were discussing whether Florence Wilson was happy here, Love said.

“As the teacher was writing on the chalkboard, it turned into this beautiful script writing with the message, ‘Yes, I am happy here.’”

About 300 visitors have taken the guided tour this year, Love said. It’s the eighth year for the fundraiser.

NSUGSA Treasurer Erin Bailey, who studies language and literature, was collecting the $2 admission fee.

“I like the legends, the scary stories,” Bailey said. “The tours take from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how much everyone gets into it.”

Elaina Ross, president of the GSA, said it’s always fun to see visitors’ reactions.

“Everyone experiences it differently,” Ross said. “And it’s creepy being in the building after dark. Some of the stories take place outside our graduate office. It gives a whole new perspective to working late.”

About 25 people went on the first tour Saturday. Margarita Hernandez enjoyed the history, but wasn’t scared.

“It’s interesting, especially the footprints on the ceiling,” Hernandez said.

Love shared a story about the school’s infirmary for the girls who were ill, where a few of them died. The story about the infirmary was Thomas Reynolds’ favorite.

“I was getting scared,” he said. “I don’t like being in dark places.”

For Rance Combs, 10, the scary part was when the students heard, “Get out!”

“Maybe they don’t want nobody on the computers,” he suggested.


To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

Text Only
Local News
  • plane-crash-1-a.jpg Plane crash victims recovering

    Two Arkansas men remained in a Tulsa hospital Monday after the plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area in Cookson.
    According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1946 Ercoupe 415 crashed under “unknown circumstances” about a mile from the Tenkiller Air Park in Cookson Saturday morning.
    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 75-year-old John McCreary and 85-year-old Albert Demarco Jr., both of Ozark, Ark., were flown from Cookson to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • walker-terrance.jpg Man taken for blood sample confuses hospital with hotel

    Tahlequah police say an Austin, Texas, man stopped Saturday mistook a local hospital for a hotel when he was taken to have his blood drawn.
    Officer Cory Keele’s affidavit says 20-year-old Terrance Walker was driving south on Muskogee Avenue at about 2 a.m. Saturday, swerving from one line to another.
    Keele tried to stop the car near Muskogee and Chickasaw, and Walker eventually slowed to a stop near South Street.
    Walker opened the car door as Keele approached. The officer said Walker had dilated pupils.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • ennis-scottie.jpg Knife-cutting incident lands man in jail

    A Tahlequah man jailed for allegedly cutting a woman with a kitchen knife was released on a recognizance bond Monday.
    Scottie Lee Ennis, 42, was arrested after Officer Austin Yates was sent to Tahlequah City Hospital late Friday night.
    There, Yates spoke with Jennifer Pennell, who had apparently suffered a stab wound to her arm.
    Pennell told Yates she and her husband, Ennis, had gone to Dewain’s Place earlier in the evening, and while at the bar, a man bought her a drink.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • hawley-jeremy.jpg Tahlequah man bonds out after arrest for assault

    A 22-year-old Tahlequah man bonded out of jail Monday after his weekend arrest on domestic assault charges.
    Jeremy Hawley was booked into jail Sunday for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interfering with a 911 call.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cherokee Nation law eases restrictions in gaming facilities

    The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on Monday night voted to reduce regulations in its gaming facilities, but to conform to National Indian Gaming Commission minimum internal control standards.
    The measure ultimately passed 9-7, with District 1 Councilor Joe Byrd abstaining.
    Before discussion, Councilor Lee Keener moved to table the item, saying neither he nor members of the gaming commission had sufficient time to review the act. Councilor Cara Cowan-Watts seconded the motion, with a friendly amendment.

    April 15, 2014

  • Boy again caught with stolen items

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies say a juvenile caught with stolen property several times in the past was recently discovered to have more missing items.
    Deputies took a report over the weekend from a man who said his garage was burglarized while he was away from his home for an extended time. A number of items were taken, including an air compressor, leaf grinder, leaf blower, extension cords, drill-bit kit, a cordless drill, antique tools, a pressure washer, a machete, an aluminum ladder and a butane lighter torch.

    April 15, 2014

  • hughes-james.jpg Muskogee man caught with drugs at casino

    Cherokee Nation marshals arrested a Muskogee man Sunday after he was allegedly caught with drugs at the Cherokee Casino.
    Deputy marshals were called when security at the casino noticed a man drop a bag of a white, crystal-like substance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tahlequah man charged with hitting vehicle, fleeing

    Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of hitting another vehicle in downtown Tahlequah and leaving the scene.

    April 15, 2014

  • sp-symposium-Child.jpg Child discusses survival of Native communities

    When Dr. Brenda Child, Ojibwe/Red Lake, tells people she is from the reservation at Red Lake, Minn., she explains, “We’re the ones who didn’t lose our lands.”
    Her tribe’s story is unusual among Native Americans, many of whom have been displaced throughout history. But history is complicated, she said. That’s why, as a historian, she is interested in “the small stor[ies].”
    “I’m someone who can’t really get a grasp of the big picture ... unless I look at the individual stories of people on the ground. How were they living? What shaped their lives?” she asked.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-Symposium-Leeds.jpg Developing food security, sovereignty

    When the Cherokees rebuilt their nation 150 years ago following the Trail of Tears, they immediately went to work re-establishing a government, along with higher education and court systems.
    Stacy Leeds, Cherokee citizen and dean of the College of Law at the University of Arkansas, said that while history reveres the Cherokee judges, scholars and lawmakers of the time, most Cherokee citizens were farmers.
    Leeds gave a presentation Friday about tribal governance, land use, food and agriculture police and economic development during the 42nd annual Symposium of the American Indian at Northeastern State University. The luncheon was hosted by the NSU Chapter of American Indian Students in Science and Engineering, and Leeds offered the AISES students food for thought about where their careers could be going.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers