Georgia College & State University
Georgia College & State University’s Sanford Hall is said to be the home of the ghost of Betty Jean Cook (also called “Cookie”), a student that passed away on the unused third floor of the building back in 1952. She went missing but was later discovered (on the night of the Spring Dance no less) on a bloody mattress, her wrists and throat cut. Her body was also covered with gashes. Her death was ruled a suicide, but many say that she was murdered. The college closed off the third floor after her death, and since then, many spooky occurrences have taken place in the building. It is said that footsteps and weird bumps can be heard from the room underneath the room where Cookie died, as well as mysterious voices, giggling, doors slamming shut on their own, and lights turning on and off.
Mary Virginia Harrison was once the owner of GCSU’s Harrison House. She was known as a very beautiful woman and was popular with the menfolk. She graduated college in 1946 and left Milledgeville but returned years later after her second husband passed away. When she was 54 years old, she committed suicide in the backyard of the home. Eyewitnesses claim that doors slam shut on their own and that a strong perfume smell comes and goes even when there is no one in the house.
Georgia College’s Russell Auditorium was built in 1926 on the site of the original Milledgeville Penitentiary and right on top the ashes of the building before it. The inmates burned the prison down in 1846 when General Sherman came to town. Some escaped the fire, others didn’t. The building that was erected in its place met the exact fate as its successor and completely burned to the ground. The college had needed an auditorium for years, and finally had the space to build one. Over the years, many famous people have performed on its stage, such as Carl Sandberg, Count von Lucker, Flannery O’Connor, and Terry Kay. But part of what makes this building so interesting is the different hauntings experienced inside.
In the late 1970s, the college put on a performance of Felix the Cat, complete with a black cat that would stroll across the stage at certain times. After the performance, the crew searched high and low for the cat, but it had disappeared completely. Never to be found. Could it be the workings of mischievous spirits?
Many people have reported their equipment missing or moved while working in the building. Things such as hammers, nails, saws, and screwdrivers come up missing at strange times and they search to no avail, only to have it reappear in their toolbox hours later or in a remote area of the stage. One stagehand reported being pushed from the stage by a phantom hand. The stage lights are also known to go out unexpectedly during performances.
Ann Simpson Smith House
The Ann Simpson Smith House, built in 1947, was named after a distinguished professor who taught at the college from 1924 to 1969. The home has had many functions, first as a model home for home economics students to gain experience in the art of serving tea and other duties. When the college phased out the program in 1987, it was used as a guest home for professors and a dormitory for students up until October 1994.
When the new administrative director moved into the home in 1994, she claimed every morning around 2 or 3 AM she would hear the clanking of dishes in the kitchen sink, the sound of water running, and the sound of footsteps on the linoleum floor. She also claimed to hear people talking but was never able to make out the words. The voices sounded like that of young ladies making dinner or cleaning up. Always gentle in nature. But every single time she would walk into the kitchen, the noises would stop, and the house would be quiet.
The administrative director wasn’t the only one to hear noises in the home. Another family who stayed in the ground floor of the home at the same time as the director (who was sleeping on the second floor at the time) was having trouble sleeping because of what they thought was a wild party thrown by students on the second floor. The director was the only one upstairs at the time and claimed that there were no noises at all that night.