By Jessica Mayne
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Everyone knows a good ghost story. Most people who live in New Jersey know of the many haunted places located throughout the region. Several popular horror movies and books are based on local legends, from the Jersey Devil in the Pine Barrens to the Eastern State Penitentiary. An entire collection of local legends can be found in the magazine “Weird New Jersey”.
Almost every town has a haunted house, but aside from the faculty and students, most people don’t know that Camden County College has a haunted building, Jefferson Hall. The eerie three-story building is filled with creaky floorboards and flickering lights. When the Halloween season approaches, and the leaves begin to change, and the air becomes crisp, putting everyone in the mood for a good scare, this legend begins to float throughout the campus.
Although there are several different variations on the story, the main idea always remains the same. Before the Blackwood campus was founded in 1967, it was a Roman Catholic seminary. As the legend goes, a residing monk hanged himself on the third floor of Jefferson Hall. Supposedly, he has been haunting the building ever since.
There have been dozens of reports of strange occurrences, a few sightings of a shadowy figure moving throughout the dark hallways after hours and claims of strange sounds coming from the third floor, and even some of the security guards would prefer not to patrol the inside after dark.
A few students who have night classes in the building believe they have heard strange noises such as slamming doors and have seen the lights flicker. Some students claim to have felt like they were being followed even though no one was there. One student even claims to have seen the figure of a man. After hearing such frightening rumors a few students refuse to take any classes in that building, avoiding it at all cost.
While many students avoid Jefferson Hall, there are a few like Alex Linvill who want classes there. “It would brighten my day to see something paranormal happen during a class,” Linvill says.
Many believe that a soul becomes trapped between the afterlife and ours when someone dies an unpleasant death, such as suicide or murder. Could the restless spirit of the former monk who took his own life that fateful night be haunting the walls of Jefferson Hall?