Students claim supernatural phenomenon

By Farah Bassyouni Oct 30, 2023

Halloween is tomorrow, and Illinois Wesleyan held themed events this past weekend with students in different costumes and celebrating. In the past, many Illinois Wesleyan students reported sightings and experiences of supernatural figures across the campus. 

Kemp Hall, located at 1207 N. Main Street and often regarded as International House, has long borne the fame of a haunted hall on the IWU campus. According to the “Campus Haunts” article by Anna Deters ‘05 published in IWU Magazine, Kemp Hall was home for Antoine Eduard DeMange and his wife Mary Louise Hodge DeMange. When his wife died, Mr. DeMange left the house, which was sold to IWU in 1911. Even now, more than a century later, IWU students still feel the presence of a ghost, who is regarded as the Lady in Red. 

Many stories of Kemp Hall haunting are associated with footsteps on the stairs, and current students still experience this phenomenon.

“When you go up the stairs, they creak after you walk up to the next one, so it sounds like someone is walking behind you all the time,” junior Asia Rogers said. “You can always feel a presence behind you.”

“I haven’t seen anything, but my roommate has,” senior Josephine Aldrich said. “They described it as hearing something on the stairs, and once they felt there was something leaning over them.”

The stairs are not the only place the students encounter the Lady in Red. “The bathroom on the third floor is especially haunted,” Rogers said. “It’s weirdly narrow with a bunch of weird corners, and you are always seeing stuff out of the corner of your eye and having to peek around the corners to make sure nobody’s there.”

The ghostly presence is also felt around objects, not just locations in Kemp. “I heard the phone on the third floor ring once, and that phone is disconnected from the landline,” Rogers said. “I heard that it just rings randomly sometimes.”

Not all the students believe in the existence of the Lady in Red, including students who resided in Kemp Hall. 

“As I have not myself experienced anything and am not a big believer in paranormal activity, I do not think Kemp is haunted,” Aldrich said. “I think some people hear things because Kemp has a lot of dark corners and creaks. The ominous environment makes you feel like there must be something there.”

“I hold the belief that spirits/ghosts only bother people who tend to be more fearful,” Rogers said. 

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