Campus, News

Ghost of Shelton Hall considered urban legend, adds quirk to floor

Eugene O'Neill, a playwright who died in the building that is now Shelton Hall, met his end in room 401 when the dorm was a Sheraton Hotel. Neel Dhanesha/DFP Staff

College of Communication sophomore Andrew Stieglitz said he occasionally hears knocking on the wall of his room, but finds no one there.

“It could just be people fooling around in the hallway, which I think it is,” he said, “but it gets creepy when it’s at one in the morning.”

Stieglitz is one of several residents on the fourth floor of Shelton Hall who take note of seemingly unusual events. Many jokingly attribute them to an urban legend, but still seem to embrace the floor’s reputation.

The fourth floor of Shelton is known as the Writers’ Corridor in honor of American playwright Eugene O’Neill, who penned dramas such as “The Iceman Cometh” and “Long Day’s Journey into Night” while staying at the building when it was a Sheraton Hotel.

O’Neill died on the floor in 1953. His ghost is thought to remain in the residence.

Despite ongoing rumors that the fourth floor is haunted, residents remain unconvinced of the alleged ghost. For residents who said they don’t believe in the legend, the myth is a quirk of the floor.

“All of these things have simple explanations,” Stieglitz said. “Someone could be knocking in the hallway.  So nothing really big happens. We just like to think that some weird things could be attributed to the ghost.”

Rachel Kerrigan, a School of Management sophomore, said she has not had many supernatural experiences, but said residents keep the ghost legend alive for entertainment.

“I haven’t experienced anything too weird, although the lights tend to flicker a lot,” Kerrigan said. “I don’t think anyone takes it seriously or is afraid of anything bad happening.”

David Zamojski, director of Residence Life, said students claimed to have experienced strange events while he was director of Shelton Hall from 1983 to 1989.

“I remember hearing stories from students that they would hear sounds, like doors closing or knocks at the door,” he said. “When they opened their own doors, there would be no one out in the corridor.”

Students said occasional flickering lights and faint knocking characterize the apparition, Zamojski said.

“I even remember a student saying that he or she had seen sort of a shadowy figure in the corridor,” he said.

Despite the students’ skepticism, Zamojski said he has heard students report otherwise.

“It could be an urban legend,” Zamojski said, “but I’ve met students that were absolutely convinced the floor was haunted based on their own experiences.”

However, Zamojski said the ghost hysteria surrounding the haunting has died down in recent years.

CAS sophomore Dean Borza, who lives with Stieglitz in the suite in which O’Neill died, said he is skeptical about the haunting.

“It’s been relatively benign, and I haven’t experienced anything,” he said.

O’Neill’s ghost, he said, seemed like more of an urban legend than an actual haunting.

“What’s funny is everyone talks about it,” he said. “It’s really pervasive in the BU community.”

Comments are closed.