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Ghost Stories of USC

Here at the University of South Carolina, we love spooky season, and seeing that USC is 200 years old, we have plenty of ghost stories to tell around the campfire! In fact, every year our university ambassadors lead campus ghost tours for students and Columbia residents, but since things look a little different this year, keep reading to hear all about the ghosts around our campus.

Where else would we start our spooky stories than the oldest part of campus? The Horseshoe, a u-shaped cluster of buildings at the heart of our university, holds the Caroliniana Library, student housing and the McKissick Museum. And living among the buildings are several mysterious tales.

At the end of the Horseshoe, the McKissick Museum is supposedly haunted by its namesake James Rion McKissick. McKissick was a beloved president of the university until his sudden death in 1944, so much so that USC students successfully petitioned to have the president’s body buried on campus! Those who work in the museum report hearing footsteps at night and feeling cool breezes indoors. Objects mysteriously moving about are believed to be moved by the president himself, because if you’ve got it, haunt it, right?

DeSaussure College, another building on the Horseshoe, is currently used as an upperclassman dormitory and office building, but it has taken on many other purposes in the past. During the Civil War, it served as a hospital and became the university’s first medical school from 1866-1873. One wing was also used during the Reconstruction Era as a federal military prison. Several of our students are believed to have heard the footsteps and voices of the Civil War soldiers that haunt the building.

Just across the Horseshoe on Greene Street, another campus building also upholds its seriously spooky reputation. Longstreet Theatre, which most students pass by on their way to classes, holds more history than one would expect! The building, now used for USC theatre and dance productions, was also used as a hospital and makeshift morgue during the Civil War. Strange sightings, eerie noises and doors randomly slamming shut have scared countless witnesses. 

One not-so-ghosty (and supposedly completely fictional, by the way) story on campus is the legend of the third-eye man. Dating back to 1949, a disfigured man with a third eye has been reported to be stalking through underground utility tunnels in the city, often referred to as the catacombs, even terrorizing students and spooking campus residents for years! Fortunately, many of these tunnels are now sealed off so that students can no longer access them. Bye, bye, Mr. Third Eye.

Whether these creepy tales are true or pure fiction, they delight and build excitement for many students’ favorite time of year. Do you believe these stories are true? Do you have any to add? Join in on the fun and share your own spooky stories with us on our social media post.

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