By Lucy Frost-Helms, Copy editor
Have you ever tried to predict the winner of College Night before Sweet Saturday? Many have over the years, but there is supposedly one individual who gets it right every single time, and he just so happens to be a ghost.
Dr. W. H. Trumbauer, one of the primary designers of Palmer Hall, where College Night is held each year, is said to harmlessly haunt the halls he helped build. Trumbauer, or “Trummy,” as he is known, was a strong supporter of the theatre department at UM and the arts in general. He still holds a strong connection to College Night, even now.
Trummy taught within the theatre department at UM from 1926-57, and was highly superstitious. He had always been a predictor, planning extra dramatic performances around his predictions of severe weather, but never on a full or new moon.
The story of Trummy’s haunting goes that, even though he was one of the primary designers of Palmer Hall, his name was left out of the engraved cornerstone of the building. This action supposedly ignited his presence as a ghost in Palmer.
Trummy walks the halls of Palmer, sees to the preparation of shows backstage and most importantly, predicts the outcome of College Night each year.
It is said that during the final dress rehearsal of College Night, Trummy decides which show he likes most and proceeds to swing the wooden battens over the stage, swinging either towards the Purple Side seating or Gold Side seating in the auditorium.
Trummy’s favorite show during the final dress rehearsal is said to be who will win that particular College Night’s season.
Trummy is an interesting ghost because, not only is he harmless, but he clearly likes to have fun in the afterlife. Some witnesses have said they’ve seen Trummy having a little fun in Palmer. Some say they’ve seen a shadow walk by in the dressing room mirrors. Others have claimed to have heard a strange voice who whistles to the sound of music already playing. Other signs of Trummy include unlocked doors that won’t open and even costumes appearing to have someone in them.
Clearly, Trummy remains an important supernatural fixture at UM, and, at this point, he essentially owns Palmer Hall. So, when next year’s College Night show rolls around, look for signs of Trummy. His bet may be better than yours.
Lucy Frost-Helms is the copy editor of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in social science and minoring in philosophy. She enjoys being a goober, eating chicken salad for breakfast, watching “National Treasure” and telling you that she will “definitely pay you back for that.” Lucy has the worst memory of all time and will forget major, important details of stories you tell her.