Playground of the dead: haunted campus stories

Meadow Brook Hall, Three East Vandenberg and Hill House each have ghost stories tied to them.

Every college has its own spooky stories, but many students and faculty at Oakland have reason to believe the stories are true. Meadow Brook Hall, Three East Vandenberg and Hill House each have ghost stories tied to them.

Meadow Brook mysteries

The Meadow Brook estate was once home to John Dodge and Matilda Wilson. They had two children: Danny, who died while on his honeymoon, and Anna, who died at the age of five from sickness. The spirits of the children and Dodge are said to haunt the mansion and surrounding areas.

Adam Panchenko, recruitment adviser, shared some of the things that are said to happen at Meadow Brook.

“You can hear children playing upstairs in the John Dodge House,” he said.

He also told the story of hole 17 at the golf course.

“One of the workers was doing his rounds to tell people the course was closing, and he ran into a man dressed in traditional golfing gear,” Panchenko said. “He told the man they were closing and drove over a hill. When he got over the hill, he found that the man’s golf cart flipped on its side with a wooden golf club lying on the ground.

“He got the cart towed back to the pro shop, which at the time was Danny’s cabin, put the golf club inside, and locked up. He later went back to double check that the cabin was locked, and found the golf club outside against a wall, almost like Danny was offering it to him. He took it home and has had it along with a picture of hole 17 hung on his wall since that day.”

Panchenko said that Dodge and his brother were quite the party boys back in the day, which is the theme of one of the recent Dodge commercials.

“The Dodge brothers were party boys; Meadow Brook was their playground,” Panchenko said. He said Meadowbrook has been experiencing increased activity due the fact that Oct. 25 marks Dodge’s 150th birthday.

Dorm demons

The third floor of East Vandenberg is also said to be haunted, according to Panchenko.

“Some say there was an exorcism.”

In short, a frat rush went wrong and two boys unexplainably turned up missing, according to Panchenko. The resident assistant room down the hall has experienced paranormal activity ever since. 


Panchenko, who actually used to live in one of the haunted rooms, said he felt somebody walking on him one night. He said another resident felt somebody sitting on her. He also said there have been various other incidents of unexplained events: one resident found that his box fan would fall over every night at the same time, and when he finally unplugged it, he found that it would still flop up and down on its own. 

Despite all of the paranormal activity, Panchenko said that whatever was roaming Three East is completely harmless.

Hill House is also said to have a spirit. Panchenko said that a RA reported seeing a shadowy figure roaming the halls and paranormal activity has been reported there over the years.

With Halloween just around the corner and Dodge’s birthday so near, these stories become even spookier than before. Check out some of the haunted spots on campus this Halloween, or take a look at the creepy sign between Hill House and Fitzgerald if you want something scary this holiday.