Ghosts of UNCG – Part 1

I lived on the UNCG campus four years and worked on it for twenty-two, so I know the campus pretty well. That said, I’ve never actually seen a ghost on campus, but I have heard the tales. Thought I’d share some of them with you.

My freshman year I lived in South Spencer. In the late ‘60’s (before my time!) there was talk of the Blue Ghost. Later (after I left) she was named Annabelle possibly for Poe’s Annabel Lee, but I can’t confirm that. She was the spirit of a student who was supposed to have hanged herself in one of the bell towers (they are in North Spencer, but it is all one building). She would appear in the parlor as a blue haze passing by. Some said they heard the dragging of something across the floor. In the ‘80s two different staff members were awakened when she walked into their rooms. Since the building was closed for vacation and no one else was there . . .

There’s also Jane Aycock, who haunts the former Aycock Auditorium. Some said she was the daughter of Governor Aycock for whom the building was originally name, however none of his nine children were named Jane. Regardless, this spirit was supposed to have hanged herself from the fly-loft over the stage. When the auditorium was 50 years old and getting ready to reopen after renovations, the drama majors began a tradition of introducing their favorite ghost to new students. An unsuspecting freshman would be handed a lighted candle and directed to the stairs leading to the attic, where Jane liked to hang out (pun intended). There is a place where a draft will blow out the candle. Then the freshman has to wait for her eyes to adjust but she will eventually spot a human shape in the darkness. Screams usually followed, because luminescent paint on a manikin from the prop shop always works . . .

But there is real documentation of the ghost. Raymond Taylor, theatre professor from 1921 to 1960 gave an interview regarding his personal experiences with Jane – “at one time a sort of colonial mansion stood on the corner where Aycock [Auditorium] is. There dwelt in this mansion an old lady all alone. After a while she became extremely unhappy about her lonely state and went up in the attic and suspended herself from a rope on the rafters. Having committed suicide there, she determined to stay on as a ghost. When they tore down the building, she haunted the area for a long time until Aycock was finally built, and then she adopted that for her home. She seemed, when I knew her to delight in the upper reaches of Aycock foyer where she assumed the guise of the lights that flitted from ceiling place to ceiling place and dragging chains and clanking objects over the floor down in the lobby up to my office door.”

Taylor would often hear strange sounds that he’d try to write off as the echoes of passing cars or trains while working alone at night in the auditorium. One very hot day, though, Taylor and a janitor decided to remove some of their clothing so that they could work comfortably on the set of an upcoming play. Taylor had left his clothes in a neat pile on the second floor of the building. During the afternoon, a large thunderstorm rolled through. After the storm was over and Taylor had finished working for the day, he went upstairs to redress and found that his clothes had been thrown all over the room, and his watch chains had been arranged on the table to form a cross. After this incident, Taylor had no doubt that the Aycock ghost had visited him.

More to come (hey, it’s a old campus!) and for those who really dig paranormal – Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardian series takes place on the North Carolina campuses including UNCG. I have to admit, that explains so much of what I suspected about the campus!

My own ghost story – Wraith’s Heart is available at Amazon!Wraith's Heart final 6x9 https://www.steelestories.com/books/wraiths-heart/

National Hug Your Cat Day

by Nancy Lee Badger

My cat BlazeThe rumor is that ancient Egyptians revered cats. I have always spoiled mine. The ancients saw them as symbols of grace and poise, and I agree they are agile felines, less angular or bulky than dogs and other pets. They can be aloof and will ignore you, then surprise you.

The other day, I sat on my living room couch to read. Normally, I am working in my office or in the den watching TV. Was it the quiet of the room that made Blaze hop up and stretch out near me? He looked much younger than his twelve years at that moment. Kittens are fluffy and fun to watch, but the love of a mature cat is priceless (and rarely visualized).

Blaze on the couch

 

I have neglected adding a cat to my recent novels. They can be a great addition to a paranormal plot, especially black ones. My latest stories are filled with horses and a particularly beautiful white Samoyed breed of dog, so maybe it is time to rethink cats. In the meantime, check out my series Warriors in Bronze.The holiday lands on June 4th each year, so do not forget to hug your cat and enjoy a purrrfectly fine week!

p.s. We named him Blaze for 2 reasons: the white slash across his nose, and because of our stint years earlier as volunteer firefighters.

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Warriors in Bronze