During the mid 80’s I had recently became the Assistant Superintendent of Building Services at Southern Illinois University when the custodial crew supervisor for Anthony Hall asked me to come to the building for an urgent discussion.
When I arrived he told me of one of his student employees, a Malaysian woman, was afraid to work in Anthony Hall, the building that she cleaned each evening, due to someone she had seen that frightened her very much. At this time SIU had one of the largest Malaysian student populations in the United States.
The student employee explained that she had completed her custodial duties for the evening and was going through the floors to ensure that she had not left any lights on…or doors open. When she exited the elevator on the third floor of the building…she looked to her right where she saw a woman sitting in a chair. The woman had her hair in a bun on the back of her head and was dressed in a long dress to her feet and a white blouse with long sleeves. When the student spoke to the woman…the woman did not look at her or respond.
Anthony Hall is named after the famous suffragette Susan B. Anthony…and the building was originally constructed as a women’s dormitory during the early part of the last century.
The story of the apparition of the woman in white spread throughout the campus…students in the Malaysian Community refused to work in Anthony Hall…at this time they made up fully half of our custodial workforce throughout campus.
Soon, the Superintendent of Building Services charged me with writing a full report to the Vice President of Campus Services regarding the Ghost in Anthony Hall. I began by talking with the Anthony Hall supervisor again. He mentioned that he often heard footsteps…late at night…but could find no one in the building. He took me into the attic of the building where he showed me a dusty picture of Anthony Hall during its’ beginnings as a women’s dormitory. The photo was of an assembly of women all dressed in white blouses with long sleeves and dresses that were to their feet and their hair in buns on the back of their heads. Now this picture was not available to the custodial worker who saw the woman in white as it was stored in an attic that was only accessible by ladder.
I spoke with my colleague who had, in the past, worked as the Anthony Hall custodial supervisor for some time. He told me of often hearing footsteps and not being able to find anyone in the building. He also said that one time he felt the presence of someone with him in the building…and that the hair stood up on the back of his neck.
The story of the Ghost of Anthony Hall spread throughout Campus and I was asked about it for years after the event.
Our truly wonderful Malaysian students…never worked in Anthony Hall again.