TG is a 25 year old graduate student and cultural forensic anthropologist. She grew up in Maryland and currently resides in Tennessee. She was an active member at her university.
Context: TG claims that she had heard this story many times while studying undergrad and that although she has not experienced it personally, many of her friends have encountered the ghost first hand.
Transcript (discussed over the phone):
Collector: What is the background story of the ghost?
TG: Basically, while they were building the two freshmen dorms, Frazer and Curry Hall, they were doing some electrical work but they didn’t put the elevators in yet so the elevator shafts were just very deep dirt holes. One of the workers had brought their toddler to the site, which was a big mistake to begin with. The worker put the child down for a second and the toddler rolled into the elevator shaft in the hallway of the 10th floor and died. Plenty of people I know have said that in the same hallway of Curry, you can hear a child’s laughter and it was very disturbing.
Collector: Do you believe in the ghost?
TG: I believe in ghosts so yes. While it’s possible that students just hear laughter and assume it is the ghost, I don’t think it’s impossible.
Thoughts/Analysis: Although ghost stories are legends and therefore may or may not be true, the impact they have on people’s lives is very real. As the informant discussed the fact that students in Curry Hall could actually hear child’s laughter is something that they will tell their friends, family, and children. That is shown by the informant being told this story by her friends. This shows how legends spread and how socially influenced they are. This account by TG can even be considered a memorate, where personal experiences of residents turned into campus folklore.
“Now it’s recording”
“So last summer, I was in Iowa, in a, in the University of Iowa, for a summer program, and there were a bunch of kids who I was among in this huge dormitory , and we were the only people there. On the third floor. And apparently there had been ghost stories just circulating around that place, there had been some shady characters there in the past, and after a while a few people started complaining about noises and things, just shutting doors and the usual things, but then, well what is interesting is when people went in the shower, this happened to me as well, they start…they heard somebody sing , then when they came out there was no one there, so everyone was just freaked put because of that, because it happened , separately on a few occasions, when there was no one else in the building. And that was basically it. “
“Alright, do you remember what they were singing?”
“It was just a tune, I didn’t recognize it. It was just regular shower noises. I didn’t really pay attention until I realized that there was nobody there. So that was fun.”
“Is there a specific death or story that goes with that?”
“There was, I don’t, I don’t remember it specifically but there was somebody in that dormitory who either got murdered or committed suicide around the place that we were. Ah, and yeah that was there. But that was a hundred years ago, I think 1910 or something. It was an old building too. So yeah, nothing too exciting.”
A simple Google search for “University of Iowa Ghost Stories” brings up 136,000 results. This particular story falls in the pattern of many other college related ghost stories. A dormitory, a suicide or murder victim in the dormitory, and old school, and a student legend base around it. The reoccurrence of the shower incident, and the multiple witnesses, add credibility to the story. The story isn’t very long but it is traditional and seems that it could be true.