NORMAN — Ghoulies, goblins and ghosts aren’t reserved for ancient cemeteries or abandoned buildings. Unseen and unnoticed by most, these supernatural beings have taken up residence throughout Norman.
But for some locals, frequent encounters with things that go bump in the night are just a part of every day life.
Jeff Provine, author of “Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma,” said Norman, and in particular the University of Oklahoma campus, have many haunts — some simple legends and others based on actual events.
Provine began research on Norman ghost stories in 2009 by talking to locals, searching online and reading old newspapers. His discoveries were surprising.
“Buildings I had walked past every day of my career in higher education had harrowing tales that I had never even imagined: exorcism, beheading, disembodied whispers, named spirits and roaming ones,” he writes in his recently published book.
Among the most notorious of OU hauntings is the story of a roller-skating ghost boy who continues to skate up and down the hallways of Ellison Hall, once the campus’ infirmary called Hygeia Hall. As legend has it, the boy was skating along Elm Avenue years ago when he was hit by a car and rushed into the hall for treatment where he later died. Other versions of the story have the boy dying from an asthma attack. No matter the details, Provine said many have shared accounts of hearing the ghostly boy playing in the halls.
Provine now uses the tales he has collected to conduct 75-minute walking ghost tours of campus for the OU Visitor Center. The tours are free and open to the public. Sign-ups are available at ou.edu/content/visit/tours.html.
Though Provine has never witnessed conformational evidence of any other-worldly beings, he does report feeling distinctly disturbed from certain “haunted” locations. As for explaining these incidents, Provine is unsure of the answer.