“Ghosts of Frostburg”: Closer Than You Think

A student-made documentary was released in 2005 telling the stories of ghosts who roam around campus. “Ghosts of Frostburg” delves into several details of ghost stories that mostly seem like myths to today’s students. Some stories seam fictitious, while the genuine stories are horrific. Frostburg State University’s history starts in 1898, when the Frostburg State Normal School No. 2 was established. The school grew quickly and eventually became a key part of the economy for the town of Frostburg.

Fast forward to today, where the student population has grown dramatically and the outstanding history has attracted several spirits. “Ghosts of Frostburg” defines ghosts as “…a surviving, emotional memory of someone who has died traumatically and tragically, but is unaware that he or she is dead. They may appear confused or frightened.” In most cases, the ghosts reported around Frostburg State either committed suicide or were tragically killed.

Several stories were stereotypical ghost stories where students would hear loud banging and footsteps. Students would go investigate and find that no one was around to make the noises. This happened in several areas on campus including Gray Hall and Compton Science Center. In other places, such as Frost Hall, the stories were much spookier. A female student residing in Frost felt an icy, cold hand touching her shoulder while she was showering. A resident assistant was getting ready to go out to dinner. Her peaceful shower slowly turned into fright when her CD player kept pausing and the lights began flickering. The story goes that the dorm mother either hung herself or was pushed from a window. Sometimes, students still see her white, nursing shoes from underneath the shower curtain. Another story deals with witchcraft and Cumberland Hall. It is said a group of witches lived on the fourth floor of Cumberland. One night, during a ritual, four girls committed suicide. Following their suicides, the fourth floor was closed and students often hear noises. Although solid information on the ordeal is difficult to find, it is odd the university still has the fourth floor of Cumberland Hall closed.

An old Simpson Hall resident reported she returned to her dorm one night to find X’s engraved in her floor. She tried to figure out what could have caused these marks, but nothing made the same marks. On another occasion, the same student heard noises behind her and no one was there. When she tried to run out of her room, there was nothing in her way and she ended up with two scratch marks on her back. After that, she never slept in room again.

The most horrific stories are those that are still out on the internet for students to find further information on. The party ghost of Sowers Hall is particularly tragic since the student who passed was only a freshman. The Baltimore Sun reported that “Jesse Gardiner, 18, of Frederick County died at Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland after becoming ill over the weekend. University officials said the cause of death was a bacterial blood infection — meningococcal bacteremia.” It is said that Gardiner developed the bacteria after sharing a drink at a party with a student recovering from meningitis. Following his death, residence reported they heard loud music coming from the room despite new occupants of the room being sound asleep.

The most troubling story deals with the 1983 murder of Joan Ann Charlton. The Baltimore Sun reported “Charlton was last seen alive early one morning in 1983 as she left a campus party and headed toward her dormitory. The next day, the 19-year- old was found stabbed to death, her nude body discovered by Maryland State Police along a creek that runs through an isolated patch of woods at the college in Western Maryland. Police initially had two suspects, but leads vanished and the investigation sputtered.” The documentary mentions that Charlton was a black woman dating a white man, which locals and students saw as taboo. Despite the fact that the two were harassed about being in an interracial relationship, they loved each other too much to care. Her body was found in the arboretum trail and it is said her spirit still lingers there today. Charlton’s case went cold, but her spirit roams the trail to protect anyone from what she faced.

“Ghosts of Frostburg” is available in the Lewis J. Ort Library on the second floor.

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