The Alumni-tiville horror

Peering into rumors of the paranormal on Ferris State's campus

A dark hallway in the Alumni Building can make even the most level-headed disbeliever of the paranormal feel on edge.
A dark hallway in the Alumni Building can make even the most level-headed disbeliever of the paranormal feel on edge. Photo by: Keith Salowich | Editor in Chief

Ferris State’s Alumni Building is the oldest building on campus, and like most old buildings, it voices its age with noises that seem especially prominent late at night. Yet unlike other old buildings, Alumni’s creaks and groans may come from a supernatural source.

The Alumni Building was dedicated in 1929, and was one of the only surviving buildings of Ferris’ infamous fire in February of 1950. It’s truly a historic building, but its reputation is dominated by rumors of the paranormal, rather than its historic significance.

Over the years the building has seen myriad class sessions held and countless custodians sweeping the floors. It’s also seen multiple visitations by paranormal investigators, several of which one particular custodian has been a part of.

Shirryl Sanger, who has been maintaining the Alumni Building as a custodian for over 10 years, has thoroughly explored the dark recesses of the building with paranormal investigators.

During one of these investigations, she accompanied the investigators into the old weight room in the heart of Alumni’s basement. The investigators were armed with a recording device, and asked several times if anyone from the “other side,” wanted to say anything.

After not hearing anything for a time, they decided to pack up the investigation and pore over the recordings that they had collected, which were initially found to be devoid of response. However, one of the investigators used software to slow the recording, and was then able to hear a lone word uttered by an outside source.


Another custodian in the Prakken/West/Alumni Building area spoke of her encounters with supernatural forces in the space. She has only been cleaning in that particular area for a few years, but when she first started she was rarely alone in the dark, according to her testimony of her own personal horror story.

The custodian spoke of an orb, burning brightly with fluctuations of red, orange and yellow that would move erratically through the air. With its presence, it brought a scent of sulfur and a feeling of dread to those who bore witness to it.

This entity left the Ferris State employee anxious about working at night, but she soldiered on, opting to fight the spirit rather than fear it. A devout Christian, she routinely blessed the area and read from The Bible in hopes of warding off the threatening spirit. She claimed success, noting that instances of ghastly encounters have dropped off considerably since.

I even had my own unexplainable experience in the basement of Alumni. I interviewed both of these custodians in the Torch office, which is located in the subterranean floor of Alumni. I used my phone for the interview, which is standard practice for many on our staff, and something that I’ve done hundreds of times in the past. Yet for the first time ever, something went wrong.

Following the 40-minute interview, I found that I was unable to listen back to the audio. It still appeared within my voice memos app, but it was unlistenable, and also couldn’t be emailed. This was the first time anything like this had ever happened to me, and I’ve since recorded other interviews using the same app without problem.

Only on the lone circumstance when spirits were discussed in an allegedly haunted building did my recording device fail. This was especially alarming in the wake of rumors I had heard about a ghost commonly referred to as “Michael,” who liked to tamper with the electronics of some of the paranormal investigators that stepped into his space.

During the interview, one of the custodians repeatedly stated that she believed in the spirits, but others may perceive her as crazy because of that adamant belief. My time in the Alumni Building has been relatively brief thus far, but based on what I’ve heard, gathered and personally experienced, I believe her.