Unexplained Phenomena on Campus: Could It Be Ghosts?

By Melanie Ortega | 12-15-2021

The concept of the paranormal is a very interesting topic. Some individuals believe that the paranormal exists, while others do not. It is said that the attachment of spirits may occur due to various reasons. The person who was once alive might have had a deep connection to that area, or perhaps it was a place that they frequently visited in their lifetime. It is possible that Texas A&M University might be a place where such things occur.

The experiences and memories that students collect at Texas A&M University during their college career are quintessential to character building. Therefore, this campus holds a special place in many students’ hearts. In paranormal beliefs, a deceased individual’s spirit may visit locations that once held significance in their life. Inexplicable events or activity may sometimes occur.

Charlene Callaway, Multimedia Project Coordinator of the Marketing and Communications Department, is familiar with paranormal activity on campus. As a student, she worked in what was known as “Old Kyle Field” and experienced odd occurrences. In one instance, while Callaway was video editing, her computer began to malfunction, which she found strange, considering it was state of the art and brand new. As she attempted to figure out what was wrong with the computer, the motion sensor lights in the hall began to turn on, one by one. “It’s like someone was walking towards me… I really felt like someone was watching me,” Callaway stated in a 2019 interview with Cushing Memorial Library and Archives student intern Megan Deane.

Many people are familiar with paranormal investigations and often refer to them as “ghost hunting.” However, what many people are not aware of is a student organization dedicated to doing just that: the Texas A&M Paranormal Society (TAPS). TAPS is a student organization dedicated to conducting paranormal investigation at locations that are both on and off campus. TAPS has conducted investigations in Francis Hall, in which staff, faculty, and students have reported paranormal activity.

I talked with the President of TAPS, Jonathan Craig, who discussed how there is no historical explanation as to why paranormal activity occurs in Francis Hall. However, after the building was recently renovated, activity became a lot more common. Craig says, “Renovations in buildings thought to be ‘haunted’ could increase activity”. He further explains, “If a space that a [spirit] is occupying is disturbed or changed from how [the spirit] knew it in their lifetime, it is going to upset them and may cause more activity to occur, but it is not guaranteed.” The evidence that was collected at the multiple investigations conducted in Francis Hall was “very subjective” as Craig describes. Mostly things that TAPS members heard or saw. One member saw the figure of a woman in the main lobby area, and when they tried to approach the woman, she disappeared. One experience stands out: outside a window on the first floor, Craig saw “a girl with pure white hair.” Craig says the figure ducked once he saw it. He quickly walked towards the window and looked out, but he could not see anything, except a 15-foot drop from the place where the girl should have been. During the same investigation, two other members saw the “girl with pure white hair” walk down the stairs.

The last page of the book De occulta philosophia libri tres by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (Cologne: Johannes Soter, 1533); there is an inscription on the page.
Last page, with inscription, De occulta philosophia libri tres by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (Cologne: Johannes Soter, 1533).

Here at the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives there are many who have experienced some questionable events. Reports include hearing footsteps when there is no one around to make them; Dr. Francesca Marini is one of the people who has discussed this phenomenon. Those who work in the building often witness the elevator doors open on their own. An item that has, allegedly, caused inexplicable events is a book from the 16th century from the Rare Books collection. The book, by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, is titled De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres, which translates into “Three Books of Occult Philosophy.” A unique aspect of this book is a mysterious signature that is believed to be written in blood. Along with the signature is an alleged pact with the devil in Old French. Even more intriguing is the peculiar events that supposedly occurred to some that have viewed the book. It is reported that three individuals that visited the Cushing Library and viewed Agrippa’s book experienced a series of unpleasant events. One was locked out of their hotel room, one missed their flight, and the other was strangely stuck in an elevator. Agrippa’s book has been discussed in another Cushing Collective blog article, (“Getting Spooky with Special Collections: A Collaborative Outreach Event,” November 23, 2020; Cushing Collective - Getting Spooky with Special Collections).

The paranormal activity that faculty, staff and students experience on campus at Texas A&M University may have a logical explanation. Whether someone believes in the paranormal or not, it is engaging to speculate about such events and the reasons behind them. These stories are interesting to tell and allow faculty, staff and students to connect with each other. 



Tags: Paranormal Activity; Paranormal Investigations; Texas A&M Paranormal Society/TAPS; Texas A&M University; Cushing Memorial Library and Archives; De occulta philosophia libri tres; Francis Hall; Ghosts; Inexplicable Events; Spirits. 

Cushing Memorial Library and Archives Collections: Rare Books Collection.

Contact Us: cushingcollective@library.tamu.edu


Melanie Ortega is a student at Texas A&M University, class of 2022. She is majoring in History, and pursuing a minor in Museum Studies. She is a member of the Texas A&M Paranormal Society, and is currently a student intern at Cushing Memorial Library and Archives.