Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MacAllister: A History of Haunts

October 26, 2010 · Leave a Comment 

MacAllister Hall

Photo by Amanda Palczynski

Kristina Ljujic and Heather Maricovich
Editorial Staff

You’d be hard-pressed to find a student at Carroll University who hasn’t heard one of the numerous ‘haunting’ stories about MacAllister Hall that have circulated the campus for nearly the past 70 years.

MacAllister Hall was originally built around 1895 by Carroll graduate George H. Wilbur, founder of the Wilbur Lumber Co. which went out of business in 1970. The Wilbur family lived in their home on the corner of East Ave. and College Ave. until George’s death in 1922. A newspaper account from that era described the mansion as “the handsomest and most costly in the village.”

In 1927, Lydia E. Morgan of Oshkosh donated money to the college for the purchase and renovation of the house. Named “Morgan Manor” in her honor, the building operated as the college’s library and a Civil War museum until 1942. In 1948 it was remodeled into a dormitory. It was around this time that reports of ‘ghostly’ activity started creeping up.

Nicknamed “The Morgue” by past Carroll students, Morgan Manor’s occupants over the years have reported hearing noises like doors opening and closing on their own, stairs creaking, moans and voices in the empty hallways as well as mysterious sounds that seemed to come from the walls. One morning in the 1970s, a student was reported to have woken up with a series of bloody scratches on his chest.

Images and apparitions have reportedly also been seen. Students recalled seeing the ghosts of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur dressed in formal ball attire from the late 19th century traversing the old stairway and walking through walls as if they were following the old floor plan of the building.

Students also reported seeing Lydia Morgan walking down the stairs and through the walls, in places where doors were located prior to the renovation. According to a Waukesha Post article from 1979, Carroll College legend held that though Lydia never lived in the house, she committed suicide by hanging herself from a rafter in the attic. Though the story has never been proven true or false, some students said they had seen a female apparition with a noose around her neck in the building during the night. In other accounts, it is an unidentified male dressed in black with the noose.

The most startling account with a spirit happened in the 1970s. According to a Milwaukee Journal article from 1984, 1972 Carroll graduate Joe Kremkowski lived in the building in a single room that was built under a stairway on the first floor. Late at night and with his door closed, as he was about to drift off to sleep, he was suddenly startled to consciousness. Kremkoski described a figure at the foot of his bed that appeared to have come through the wall. The figure was dressed in a long overcoat and seemed to be middle-aged.

“It had a smirk on its face and it was reaching over to grab my foot,” said Kremkoski. “Not viciously or maliciously, but like it was playing a game. It appeared more than transparent, translucent maybe.”

Kremkoski bolted from bed and, in the days that followed, talked with other residents of the building and found that others had had experienced some strange phenomena there as well.

A few weeks after his encounter with the ghost, Kremkoski began to look into the history of Morgan Manor. He wrote to the Wilbur Lumber Co. and obtained a copy of a booklet published in 1950 commemorating the firm’s 75th anniversary. While paging through it, he stopped at a page with a portrait of George Wilbur’s son, Ray J. Wilbur who had held position in the company as vice-president and died in 1938.

“The person I saw in my room that night bore a striking resemblance to Ray Wilbur,” said Kremkoski.

In 1979, Carroll moved its administrative offices into the building. Presently, MacAllister Hall (Morgan Manor) is home to the Departments of History, English, Religious Studies and Languages. Some current professors, whose offices are housed in the building, have admitted sightings and sounds to this day.

Interested in hearing what The New Perspective staff thinks about MacAllister? Check out these two posts: