Supernatural Occurrences on Campus
Colby-Sawyer College is well-known for its ghost stories. Every year, students, faculty, and staff all share their tales of an encounter with ghosts or other supernatural occurrences. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the stories are interesting and informative about Colby-Sawyer culture over its long history.
This college dorm used to be the Colby Junior College Gymnasium and is named after the second president of the college, Eugene M. Austin. It is said his ghost haunts the dorm and you can hear the dribbling of basketballs on occasion. No other paranormal activities have been recorded here.
Best is another college dorm. Tales speak of a floating ghost in a gray dress and another ghost (or the same one) who creates a breeze where there should be none. This ghost is noteworthy for being very evasive.
Colby Academy Building
This building used to be the main Colby Academy building but was given to the Town of New London in 1999. It is said to house spirits that move furniture and small objects and even turn the lights off and on. Mysterious sounds, like water running, dancing, and doors opening and closing, have caused many guests of the college to believe the building is haunted. See Professors Pat Anderson and Randy Hanson’s testimonies in the short documentary below for more details.
Colgate Hall is the oldest building on the Colby-Sawyer Campus, built in 1911. It is said to be haunted on the third floor by Susan, as mentioned below. Other tales speak of the ghost of Anthony Colby or a young woman named Beth or Elizabeth haunting the cupola. They say Beth does this because she jumped to her death from the cupola when her parents tried to force her to marry a Dartmouth man. All in all, Colgate is supposed to be the most haunted building on campus, with sightings of several ghosts and the scary atmosphere of its third and fourth floors.
McKean is said to be built on the location where a man named Gilbert Ross supposedly was burnt at the stake in 1745. However, there is no historical record of any such event occurring. It is said Ross’s ghost moves objects in McKean and uses the pull system elevators all night long.
Susan C. Cleveland Library/Learning Center
The library is said to house several spirits. One is a history lover who spreads books out on the floor to read and knocks books from their shelves. This particular ghost has scarred off Housekeeping and Campus Safety. There is also a woman in white, who is believed to be the ghost of the library’s namesake, Susan C. Cleveland. Another ghost is a small boy with an amputated arm often seen in the lofts. He is rumored to have died in a fatal accident with the farm’s original ventilation shaft before the barns were turned into a library. On top of all of this, some claim that another spirit came to the library from the Colby Academy building (see above) when some items were moved into the Cleveland Colby Colgate Archives. However, no one knows if this ghost is a fourth or if it is one of the ones mentioned above.
This swamp is one of two primary locations for sightings of the Susan ghost. See the Susan subsection below for more details. It is often used for Environmental Studies and Science classes to study marsh ecosystems and water systems.
Man with the Top Hat
This popular ghost is often thought to be Anthony Colby, 20th Governor of New Hampshire and namesake of the college, who lived from 1792 to 1873. As the ghost’s name indicates, his prominent feature is a top hat of 19th century fashion. He is often seen around the Sawyer Center, which many students speculate is because he likes to watch plays. He has also been seen walking around the Quad. However, no violent behavior has ever been reported. From all accounts, he just wants to be left alone to explore campus and the arts.
Many believe this ghost is either Susan Colby, the daughter of Anthony Colby, or Susan Colgate Cleveland, after whom the college library is named. This ghost has many variants. In one version, she is found to wander Colgate Hall because she was once a student at Colby-Sawyer and committed suicide by leaping from Colgate’s third floor. However, it is noteworthy that neither Susan Colby nor Susan Cleveland committed suicide or ever attended Colby-Sawyer as students. The second most popular version of this ghost is based around Susan’s Swamp. The story goes that the swamp is named after a student from back in Colby Junior College’s days who was raped and murdered by the swamp by a Dartmouth student, for which she now haunts the swamp in perpetuity. The swamp’s name is in fact named after a Susan, but it is named after Susan Cleveland because it was her favorite spot on campus. There is also no record of a rape or murder at the swamp.