Tragic deaths leave lost souls to roam halls of Cumberland University

Haunted Tennessee

LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) – Ghost stories don’t exist without the spirits to support them. Lost souls are known to wander, watching us, and revealing themselves on their time. 

“People don’t go up there much anymore, they hear footsteps, doors closing, they hear knockings.” 

Forgotten floor boards crack and creak. Heartache felt decades before can’t completely be cast aside, because at a college called Cumberland, you can’t explain who resides. 

“Right now, we’re at Cumberland University, standing in front of Memorial Hall,” says Rick Bell.  

Bell, a professor of history, is our tour guide through campus, starting with Memorial Hall. Its signature clock tower has claimed this ground for 150 years, but it’s the third floor inside of it that also lays claim to the lives which never left. 

“We’ve been here for a long time and a lot of students have wandered the halls of this building,” Bell tells us. 

In recent years, ghost hunters visited the same building, focusing first on a conference room. They apparently heard voices, saw orbs and spirits they called, ‘evil’.  

Cumberland’s more often-told stories start down the hall, in a chemistry lab, dating back 60 years. 

“A student was sitting on the ledge of the window here,” Bell explains. “Somehow, he lost his balance and he fell out the window, and down three stories to the ground.” 

The tragic plunge is talked about to this day, while the after effects are also still felt. When alone in this room, surrounded by the shadows after dark, the student is said to send a hello. 

“The chemistry professor whose office is in this room, she talks about when she’s at her desk she can feel somebody kind of brushing her shoulder. She can feel a presence, sometimes temperature changes,” says Bell. 

Perhaps the best-known story, involves a hurry, racing down stairs in a panicked scurry.  

“He started feeling sick, ran out of the classroom, down the stairs in the midst of having a heart attack.” 

Nearly a century ago, a professor in pain pushed his way down a set of stairs, looking for help he would never find. He died shortly after, but decades later remains in a rush, and is sensed by students and teachers even nudging them down the stairwell. 

 But that’s not all, according to Bell.  

“A colleague of mine was walking down the hallway one evening, saw something out of the corner of her eye. Someone was standing here in a black coat, she looked, waved, said hello, and he disappeared.” 

A momentary figment of the imagination, or a man unable to escape his pain? 

Whatever is happening in the quiet corners of Cumberland University, it’s an old building unwilling to fully unveil itself. Yet found in the fire burning outside Memorial Hall, like flames rising from the ashes, the spirits refuse to be extinguished.

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