Oct 302005
Authors: Mandy Billings

There's something going bump in the night at Johnson Hall. At least according to some students.

"The rumor is the place is haunted," said Alex Owens, junior theatre major . "There are a lot of creepy things there."

Johnson Hall, located on the southeast end of the Oval, houses CSU's theatre department. Many students who have worked on sets there late at night have reported strange happenings, Owens said.

"You'll hear footsteps sometimes and look around and say 'hello,' and no one is there," he said. "You feel like someone is following you or watching you. Most of the people who work there think there's a ghost."

Owens said he heard the ghost was of a student who fell off the catwalk above the main stage, but other students heard different stories.

"Supposedly there was a kid who had been taunted and he hung himself in the theatre shop," said Katie Sammons, senior social work major. "I've definitely been creeped out late at night in the shop. There's a lot of rope in the shop and sturdy beams, so it definitely could have happened."

Bri Zimmer, junior theatre major, heard a different story about the ghost of Johnson Hall.

"Upstairs behind the stage, supposedly a student hung himself. I think he was unhappy with a show or maybe he got passed over for a part," Zimmer said.

Zimmer also has experienced strange phenomenon at Johnson Hall other than just unexplained noises.

"When it's dark in the shop I've seen a green misty thing, but the eyes play tricks on me," Zimmer said. "I've seen it several times."

Zimmer said she heard that other students have seen ghostly visions in the building as well. One woman, Zimmer said, had stepped outside for a cigarette after working alone on a monologue in the Blackbox Theater. When she went back inside, there were scripts scattered all over the Blackbox that hadn't been in the room when she left. Another student reported seeing a noose hanging from the rafters of the main theater, Zimmer said.

"A couple of friends of mine said they wanted to have a s///ance in there," Zimmer said. "I said no way."

Karen Holm, foreign tax administrator at the Business and Financial Services office, also located in Johnson Hall, said she's never heard of the building being haunted. A CSU alumna, Holm watched Johnson Hall change over the years.

"When I went to school here in the 60s, all my business classes were in this building," Holm said. "It's a creepy building because it's old."

Holm said she has worked in Johnson Hall for 11 years and has never experienced a ghostly presence.

"Just like any other building, it has its sounds," Holm said. "You can't tell someone else what to believe, but I don't think there's a ghost in Johnson Hall."

Owens said he thought part of the reason Johnson Hall was rumored to be haunted was because every theatre is expected to have a ghost.

"It's part of the theatre tradition," Owens said. "Theatre people usually are pretty superstitious. Every theatre I've worked at has had a story."

Zimmer said students were already telling ghost stories about the new theatre facilities at the University Center of the Arts, located at the old Fort Collins High School east of campus.

"I think the stories start out as fact and people add their own details. It's like playing telephone," Zimmer said.

While none of the legends surrounding Johnson Hall have been substantiated, Zimmer said she prefers to keep an open mind.

"If ghosts are there, they're there," Zimmer said. "I'm more afraid of a zombie outbreak."

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