Athens State University is reportedly haunted by a number of spirits. Built in 1822 as a female academy the school has witnessed the good and bad of Alabama history. One of the ghosts said to haunt the school is that of a young woman sneaking out of her dorm at night to meet up with her boyfriend. She appears near Founders Hall carrying a flickering candle and is rumored to be a student from the 1800's who accidental caught her hair on fire and burned to death.
A couple of ghosts have been seen and heard around McCandless Hall. One is said to be Madame Jane Hamilton Childs the former headmistress strolling the hallways looking for curfew violators. The historical Madame Jane Hamilton Childs is that of a headmistress who became College President in 1858. She is famous for saving the school during the civil war by convincing Colonel Turchin not to burn the school when he came to burn the town. It is said that she handed Turchin a letter signed by President Abraham Lincoln instructing that the school be saved at any cost. This document may have been a forgery but it worked. A second female ghost carrying flowers and dressed in a formal white dress has been seen and heard walking the walls and auditorium. Sometimes you can even smell the strong scent of flowers in the building. She is said to be the spirit of a young opera singer that died tragically on her way home in 1914 after a performance.
Ghosts have been reported in Brown Hall which has been incorrectly identified as the infirmary during the 1909 Typhoid epidemic which struck the school killing 15 students and 1 teacher. The infirmary was actually Founders Hall and Brown Hall was named in honor of that 21 year old teacher Florence Brown who alone stayed with the sick quarantined students before succumbing herself on November 5 1909. Brown Hall was built in her honor in 1912. Pictures falling off walls, objects being moved at night and strange knocks have been reported.
The young opera singer has been identified as Abigal Burns a local resident who died when her carriage flipped over during a thunderstorm after the opening night festivities. However, there is no evidence that this event took place and no evidence that an Abigal Burns existed. Two young women did die that year in Athens, Eoylena Haroway and Lizzie Smith and one could have been the performer. Who ever this woman is, she certainly is the most active ghost on campus