Haunted legends linger at WC


From eerie horse clip-clops to a ghost in a window

By John Hamilton - [email protected]



This is the specter that was seen by Libby Hayes.

This is the specter that was seen by Libby Hayes.


Photo courtesy of Libby Hayes

Haunting hooves have apparently been heard in WC’s College Hall.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Just about every place in the world has a spooky legend or tale.

Wilmington College has been known to hear some haunted hooves in the hall.

There have reportedly been the eerie clip-clops of two ghost horses. According to ohioexploration.com, the first horse belonged to Azariah Doan, a Civil War officer, a judge, and a prominent Quaker in the area.

The spirit of Ole Bill — Doan’s horse — was apparently entombed between the second and third floors of the building. The horse’s skull was found in 1956 when renovations were being completed. Ole Bill’s skull was put on display in the hall for a time.

Sadly though, Ole Bill is no longer on display. Randy Sarvis, WC’s senior director of public relations, told the News Journals that no one has seen the skull since the 1950s.

“I read years ago that the skull was displayed during an Alumni Day in the ‘50s, and that was confirmed by an alumna I asked,” said Sarvis. “That was the last reference to the skull I’ve been able to find. It’s probably in some unmarked box stored somewhere at the college.”

According to Sarvis, in a 2003 write-up for “Haunted Ohio V”, the legend of Ole Bill’s ghost took a new twist after World War II. Students who were walking around the campus grounds late at night could hear the sounds of a horse on the top floor of one of the buildings.

Sarvis said the students were unaware of the legend of Ole Bill, but a second, and more tragic ghost story developed — an equine spirit believed to be a horse that died in a college prank gone wrong.

According to ohioexploration.com, some students put farm animals in College Hall with a horse being put on the top floor. The horse “went crazy” and injured itself, according to the website. This resulted in the horse having to be put down.

According to Sarvis in his write-up, this type of prank began in the 1920s.

Apparently, horses “can go upstairs with little trouble, but they have a mental block when it comes to descending steps,” said Sarvis.

There was another occasion before when a horse was led up to the top floor and had to be given chloroform to calm down.

According to Sarvis, the ghost horse was left on the top floor “in no mood to spend the night in Wilmington’s halls of learning. It bolted down the hallway eyeing its only path to freedom as the stairwell on the other side of the building.”

The horse slipped on the steps, ending up on the landing between the second and third floors. This was also the area where Ole Bill was previously interred.

Because of the injuries, the horse had to be put down. That was the last time the prank was pulled.

While the horse’s physical form was removed, his angered spirit seemed to remain.

According to Sarvis, one of the encounters came in 1964 when three seniors from the WC football team climbed the bell tower to ring the bells in celebration.

“Upon the final strike of the bell, they reportedly heard the unmistakable neigh of a horse and clip-clop of horses’ hooves running on the tile hallway — all within feet of their position in the tower,” said Sarvis.

Whether there are eerie equines on the campus grounds or not, the Fighting Quakers can claim to have some unique specters.

Haunted horses aren’t the only spooky presence to be seen at Wilmington College.

Libby Hayes, senior director of human resources at the college, managed to take a picture of what appeared to be a ghost at College Hall.

In February 2021, a co-worker told Hayes there was a hawk on one of the trees outside College Hall and it could be seen outside an office window on the third floor.

“I went to take a look and took a couple of photos and a video. I didn’t notice anything at the time I took the photos or video,” said Hayes. “When a co-worker asked to see my photos, I brought them up on my phone, and that’s when I noticed the person in the window. I was shocked.”

She told AIM Media Midwest she was standing directly in front of and leaning on the window sill. She knew it wasn’t her reflection due to her having blonde hair and wearing a mask at the time. Also, no one else was in the room.

“It sent chills through me,” she said.

She contacted a colleague at the college library who had been researching other ghost sightings in College Hall. Hayes said there had been several people who had seen a ghost in the building in various places, but there were no photos. Hayes’ ghost isn’t the same as one that others had seen.

“I reviewed several photos of college people back in the 1800s. There is one photo that has a woman in it that looks similar but not sure if it is her,” she said.

While this was her first time spotting a ghost, she did have a prior paranormal encounter at a Wilmington house she used to live in.

“(The ghost) would walk the hallway and move about in the kitchen at times. Never saw it, just heard it,” she said.

While the ghost’s story is still unknown and Hayes hasn’t seen it again, she does have an idea who it might be.

“At the time, I had just lost my mother and I wondered if there was some connection to that loss that I was being reached out to. I found some comfort in that,” she said.

This is the specter that was seen by Libby Hayes.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/10/web1_College-Hall-Ghost.jpgThis is the specter that was seen by Libby Hayes. Photo courtesy of Libby Hayes

Haunting hooves have apparently been heard in WC’s College Hall.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/10/web1_Hall3.jpgHaunting hooves have apparently been heard in WC’s College Hall. John Hamilton | News Journal
From eerie horse clip-clops to a ghost in a window

By John Hamilton

[email protected]

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574