It seems to be well acknowledged throughout Sweet Briar that there is paranormal activity on campus. Mentioning the topic of ghosts with upperclassmen or faculty may reveal stories of the Meta-Glass elevator that mysteriously takes its passengers up to the restricted attic, common objects going missing in dorms only to mysteriously turn up again, and various noise coming from unoccupied dorm rooms. The hauntings on campus are believed to be linked to Daisy Williams – and while the occurrences may seem frightening, students are quick to reassure that any paranormal activity is harmless. In fact, the hauntings at Sweet Briar are so well known that the school has even been featured on television shows such as Syfy’s School Spirits.
The various reported hauntings at Sweet Briar also go far back in the school’s history. The earliest graduating class at Sweet Briar in 1910 actually compiled strange occurrences they had personally experienced at Sweet Briar, titled “In the Light of the Embers”. Stories probably included common occurrences such as the legend of the “Screaming Statue.” The “Screaming Statue” was an occurrence on monument hill. When the wind blew, it was reported that students heard screaming. This ‘screaming’ was in fact due to the structure of the hand of the statue, which emitted a loud whistling noise when the wind blew through it. Due to how isolated the campus was in Sweet Briar’s early years, it’s easy to believe that some students’ imaginations might have mistaken the sharp sound for ghostly screaming.
Overall, the various ghost stories and legends surrounding Sweet Briar are a spooky aspect of the college’s history. The fact that the stories date so far back into the school’s history creates an interesting ongoing tradition for students. If students want to explore Sweet Briar’s paranormal history in depth, an event on campus each year even provides ghost tours!
By Amelia Mendelson