Everyone knows that the campus is haunted, but do you know just how haunted it really is? According to College Consensus, the University of Montevallo is the eighth most haunted college in America. But what ghosts give Montevallo its haunted nature?
What is now known as Reynolds Hall was being used as a hospital for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Captain Henry Reynolds, who the hall would later be named after, oversaw the hospital.
Reynolds had to leave his post at the hospital and assist soldiers at Brierfield Iron Works where the Union was attacking. When he returned to the hospital, it had been attacked and all the wounded soldiers had been killed. Overcome with guilt, Reynolds’ spirit still watches over the building and its occupants even after all these years. To this day, maintenance staff has reported that the portrait of the captain moves around the hall without being touched.
Our next ghost is also from the Civil War. Edmund King had the King House built in 1823 after moving down to Montevallo from Virginia. During the war, King buried gold in his orchard, hiding it from Union soldiers. Unfortunately for King, he died before the end of the war.
The house was sold to the University in the year of 1908. It was rumored that King’s spirit still roams the grounds of King House. Sometimes in the darkness of the night, people could see an old man holding a lantern and shovel roaming the orchard, which is now the quad. This old man is King, searching for his buried gold. He has also been seen visiting his wife and son at the King family cemetery, located behind Hill House.
The University, at the time, was known as the Alabama Girls Industrial School and the next ghost was one of the students and permanent residents of Main Hall.
It was the night of Feb. 4, 1908, Condie Cunningham and her roommate were making hot chocolate using a chafing dish and alcohol as fuel. When the curfew signal rang out, the two girls rushed to put their items away, knocking over the bottle of alcohol onto Condie’s nightgown.
The gown caught fire and Condie ran out of her fourth-floor dorm screaming for help. When the flames were finally put out, Condie had suffered many burns and was sent to the hospital where she would die from her injuries two days later on Feb. 6.
After she died, her face was burned into the door of her dorm room. According to local legend, no matter how many times the door was replaced, her face would return. Eventually, the door was replaced with a locked metal door and no one has been assigned the room ever since. Residents of Main Hall say they still hear Condie periodically running down the hall screaming to this day.
Our last ghost is the prankster of the campus, Dr. William Trumbauer found in Palmer Hall. So, if you have ever felt the hairs on the back of your neck stand up while you pay your student bill, that’s him. Because he is jealous that the building was not named after him, he resides in the building playfully pestering people that come in.
His favorite place in Palmer Hall is the auditorium. It is said that during the final dress rehearsal for College Night, Dr. Trumbauer will sway banners of the Purple or Gold side to show whose performance he preferred. It is also said that whichever team he liked more will be the team to win College Night.
Some people say these tales are folklore. Some people believe these tales truly happened. What you believe is up to you. While there is no Ghost Walk this year, it cannot be denied that the University of Montevallo has its fair share of stories to tell. Next time you feel like you are being watched on campus, then perhaps you should keep an eye out for the ghosts of the University of Montevallo.
Annaprenzie Kocsis is a writer for the Alabamian. She is a first year elementary education major who enjoys baking, drawing and writing.