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By Northern Student archives

Published 11:41 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2023

This story originally ran in the Oct. 26, 1994, edition of the Northern Student newspaper. It was written by Shannon Geisen.


Few have seen him, but many have heard the tales. Or heard the footsteps across an empty stage. Or watched a lighting track swing unexplainably. Or felt "something brushing against" them.

They call it "Harry the Ghost." And he haunts Bangsberg Hall.

Edna Sandberg worked as a general maintenance worker in Bangsberg for three years. "I had to leave. I felt there was something around me all the time," she said.

"I can sense these things. ... I don't think everyone can feel these things, just certain people. I don’t know if it's a good thing or bad!"

Sandberg says she witnessed several strange occurrences in Bangsberg during her evening shift. For instance, the doors to the Recital Hall on the second floor, rattled "extremely loud."

"I just ran upstairs to see who was there. I thought maybe someone wanted to get in," said Sandberg. "No one was there."

Another time, while she waxed a hallway on the first floor, footprints mysteriously appeared, even though she had not seen anyone enter or leave the corridor.

"I'd start at one end and I was going down to the other end, o.k.? And in the middle of the hallway there was footprints going in the opposite direction," she said. "So how did they get in the middle of the hallway?"

But that wasn't the only occurrence.

"Once I was washing the sinks off. The last one I came to had a string hanging on the sink, on the side of it. I just shook it off. After I was all done washing the sink off, I stood back and looked. And there was that same string hanging on the first one," she said. "I just kinda laughed and said, 'Oh, Harry, get out of here.' But if I was in the building late at night, I wouldn't have said that!"

Sandberg said she wouldn't go into the basement after seven o'clock at night. "It was really eerie down there," she said.

Some theater students would agree. In fact, it has become a sort of tradition for the first student entering the stage to always greet Harry. Likewise, the last person to leave the darkened theatre always says good night.

Several students say they have felt something push against their shoulders while they were in the basement prop room, where costumes, furniture and other props are stored. When they turned around, nothing was there. One student even felt a hand on his back, pushing him into the props. When he turned around, he was alone.

Stacy Blackburn, a theatre graduate, is convinced she saw Harry the Ghost.

"It was during 'King Lear,'" recalled Valerie Dahlgren, a friend of Blackburn and a theatre major.

"The stage manager comes in early to set up the stage, while the actors put on make-up for a tech rehearsal. Stacy was standing at the stage manager console, where she gives cues. She was setting up when she saw a man in a brown suit, standing center stage. She looked away, and when she looked back: he was gone. She was really freaked out and she wouldn't go anywhere by herself," she said.

Dahlgren said veteran theatre students know better than to go into the basement alone or at night. "You're never alone in the theatre, partly because there's a danger when you are setting up lighting, and partly because you don't want to be alone."

It's not certain whether Harry is the ghost of a workman who supposedly died during the construction of the building, or if it is named after Harold T. Bangsberg, BSU president from 1964 to '67, who died in a tragic plane crash while advising the Vietnam government on public education. The tale varies on this point.

Of course, not everyone believes in Harry. "I don't know anything about that. I wouldn't admit it if I did," said Dan Danielson, building services supervisor, when asked whether he was aware of a ghost in Bangsberg.

Director of Security and Safety Erle Steigauf said ghost stories are often told to scare new security trainees. "It's something I've never condoned," said Steigauf. He admitted, though, that Bangsberg seems to have a reputation. "It's one of the spookiest buildings we have on campus. At night. All alone. With all the sounds. It can be spooky," he said.

Mere coincidence? A series of pranks? A product of wild imaginations? No one knows. But one thing is clear: No one likes to stay in Bangsberg all alone. Especially at night.