Nestled in the scenic foothills of the Daniel Boone National Forest lies the quaint town of Morehead, Kentucky. Known for its vibrant college community, which thrives during the academic year, Morehead transforms into a typical rural town during summer and winter breaks. But, while it boasts the presence of Morehead State University, the town keeps a secret known as the “Morehead Mysteries.”
Morehead State University, established in 1887 as Morehead Normal School for educators, transitioned into a co-educational university in the early 1920s. Our story begins at Button Auditorium, where an intriguing legend is said to have unfolded. It is believed that a janitor named Kate tragically died while working there. As a former theater student in the early eighties, I had heard the tale of Kate, who became known as the ghost of Button. The story goes that she was leaning over to clean the clock when she accidentally fell. Another legend surrounds a little girl who supposedly perished during renovations in 1966—some claim to still hear her plaintive calls for her mother. I remember having my work-study in the same shop where we built sets. Late at night, while sneaking in to do my laundry, I experienced a chilling incident. The washer in the shop made an eerie noise and stopped suddenly. When I entered the laundry area, I found the washer lid open, which frightened me immensely. From that day on, I never returned to that place alone at night. Others on campus have also reported feeling a constant presence in Button Auditorium, especially in the backstage area.
Next on our list is Breckinridge Hall, constructed in 1929 and currently housing the communications, English, and theater departments. I have not experienced any ghostly encounters in the Lucille Caudill Little Theater within Breckinridge Hall. However, several of my students have shared their accounts of strange occurrences. They have witnessed lights flickering on or off at odd times and felt sudden bursts of cold air. I often reassure them that if a ghost exists in the theater, it must be a friendly one, perhaps the spirit of Lucille Caudill Little, after whom the theater is named.
Interestingly, Lucille Caudill Little passed away on the opening night of the first performance in the theater back in October 2002. Although she couldn’t attend due to her age, the coincidence of her death that night adds an eerie quality to the story. Many individuals in Breckinridge Hall have reported experiencing peculiar phenomena, with theater participants often mentioning encounters with lost souls in the building. Bizarre incidents are frequently recounted by people working or visiting the storage area, with sightings of a ghostly woman in a Victorian dress passing by the door or standing behind individuals before vanishing. First-year students unaware of this phenomenon have even approached work-study staff, sharing their frightful encounters with this mysterious woman. The feeling of unease is prevalent, and some years ago, someone resorted to burning sage around the storage and theater spaces.
An unsettling statue called “Crying Mary” was also purchased from eBay for the musical Carrie. Over time, it began inexplicably exuding more blood-like substance, even though nobody had tampered with it. In addition, attempts to place crosses around the statue resulted in them continuously falling, defying all efforts to keep them upright.
Our next destination is the Camden Carroll Library, which houses a section called “the stacks,” containing numerous educational texts on mathematics, science, and other subjects. Many students frequent this area for research purposes, though some have also engaged in unsavory activities. However, several individuals claim that the library’s fourth floor carries an uncomfortable aura, marked by a sense of heaviness and the feeling of being watched by unseen eyes.
Moving on, we arrive at Nun Hall, a residential building on campus. Legend has it that a young woman tragically ended her life by leaping from the ninth floor, driven by forbidden love. She landed in the lobby on the first floor but was rushed to the hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries a few hours later. Students residing in Nun Hall have reported eerie experiences, such as televisions turning on themselves and a constant feeling of never being truly alone in their rooms. One student even claims to have seen the apparition of a young woman standing at the end of a hallway, only for her to vanish into thin air.
Our final destination is Eagle Lake, an artificial body of water situated at the northwest corner of campus atop a treacherously steep hill. Rumor has it that swimming is prohibited due to a tragic incident where a young man drowned after becoming entangled in the kelp at the lake’s bottom. However, some students claim to have glimpsed his wandering spirit along the water’s edge on cold nights. Others report an unnerving sensation of being watched, even in broad daylight, as if someone or something is observing them from within the dense tree cover.
As we conclude our tour of the Morehead Mysteries, we are left with a collection of uncanny tales that permeate the campus and the town of Morehead. Whether these stories hold any truth or are merely figments of imagination, one thing remains certain: the allure of the unknown lingers in the air, leaving visitors and residents with a sense of both trepidation and fascination.