Founded in 1822, Athens State University is one of the oldest institutions in our region. But after nearly 200 years, it has a different accolade, too. Some consider it one of the most haunted.
"If you work there all the time you don't think anything about it," said Sandra Stockton.
Stockton graduated from Athens State and worked on campus for three decades. She knows the ins and outs of the school, and she's heard it all.
"Oh, there are lots of stories."
But are they true? WAFF teamed up with SyFy Network's Deep South Paranormal to find out. Jon Hodges, Benny Reed and Keith Ramsey have investigated spirits, ghosts, and anything else that goes bump in the night for more than decade.
"They call us the Bama boys," said Hodges.
The three agreed to let WAFF reporter Nick Lough follow them around Athens State. The investigation started at Brown Hall, considered one of the spookier buildings on campus.
"While I was working there we moved the president's office to Brown Hall," said Stockton. "We were told, when we first started in that building, by some people that had worked in there before to never be left alone."
According to Stockton, Brown Hall used to be an infirmary, the president's office, and art classrooms. Stories range from appliances unplugging themselves to pictures taking on demonic looks. And stories like that are why the Bama boys decided to pull out a spirit box. They said the equipment quickly scans through radio frequencies and the group claimed it allows spirits to speak through the white noise.
Within minutes, Hodges asked what city the investigators were in and the box responded, "Athens."
After an hour inside Brown Hall, the team spent the rest of the night in Founders Hall. Rumors are ripe of former female students haunting the third floor, which used to hold the dorms. According to Stockton, there's also a documented death of a student on a staircase.
"She was supposedly coming down the steps on the north end of the building and somehow or another she caught fire and she tumbled down the stairs and died," said Stockton.
The crew had one of their volunteers walk down the stairs with a lantern, but that triggered nothing. And after spending far too long talking to thin air, everyone headed up stairs.
The plan on the third floor was for Keith Ramsey to play music in hopes of drawing something out. Within seconds of walking up the stairs, a WAFF camera captured a voice nobody can explain. Ramsey asked if it was okay for him to start playing music and a voice whispered "okay."
That was when strange hit a whole new level. The paranormal team set a flashlight on the ground. Over a ten minute period, on three different occasions, in three different areas of the third floor, the flashlight inexplicably turned on.
Is Athens State's campus haunted by its former students? We don't know. But there were definitely something things that WAFF reporter Nick Lough witnessed and experienced that he couldn't explain.