Penn State's Ghost Walk

October 30, 2014

This image of "apparitions" haunting Penn State's "Ghost Walk" was taken in the 1890s, a double-exposure image made by Professor William Buckhout of his daughters and their friends.

The two rows of trees, including Norway Spruce and Austrian Pine, were planted on campus in the 1860s by horticulture professor William Waring. Popular as a lovers' lane because of its seclusion, the Ghost Walk may have gotten its name from a 19th-century legend about an 1860s student who got lost on campus and froze during a blizzard, leading to stories of strange spirits seen at night among the row of trees. A solitary Norway Spruce remains today, standing between Old Botany and Burrowes Building.

University Archivist Jackie Esposito reveals more about the walk, as well as the nearby ghostly presence of George and Frances Atherton, in this video:

Ghost Walk may be officially gone, but not forgotten

Penn State is steeped in many stories and lore from how the saying "We are" came about to the legends of spirits that roam the campus. One such story is of the Ghost Walk. It was a pathway through a dense stand of trees that extended from the rear of Old Botany Building all the way to the children's center on the northern portion of campus. Many students claimed that it was haunted by ghosts, but others just used the path as a place to walk away from the watchful eyes of adults.

C Roy Parker


Last Updated April 17, 2015