The Ghost of Nebraska Wesleyan University

The Ghost of Nebraska Wesleyan University

A young secretary working at the University of Nebraska Wesleyan had an experience on a sunny morning in early October of 1963 that changed her life forever. The event frightened Mrs. Coleen Buterbaugh enough that she left her job, and moved to Colorado.

Buterbaugh walked into the office currently being used by a professor visiting from Scotland, Thomas McCourt. The two-room office was located on the second floor of the C.C. White Building.

When the secretary stepped into the room, she was instantly struck by a strong foul odor, and an unnatural silence.

Looking through the doorway into the next room, Mrs. Buterbaugh saw a tall, slender woman standing with her back to her, reaching up to a bookcase. The woman was dark headed and wore her hair up in a bun. She was dressed in old-fashioned clothing, and Mrs. Buterbaugh was certain she had never seen the lady before.

Although the figure of the woman faded in front of the secretary’s eyes, she still felt there was another presence in the room with her.

Glancing at the sunlight streaming through the window, Mrs. Buterbaugh noticed that the landscape beyond the glass was not what she was used to seeing. The streets and buildings had completely disappeared! She felt like she had gone back in time fifty years!

Mrs. Buterbaugh ran out of the room, seeking the help of Sam Dahl, the Academic Dean. With the assistance of an old social science instructor, they found a picture of the woman in an old yearbook.

Her name was Miss Urania Clara Mills, and she came to the University in 1912 to head the music department. Popular with everyone at the college, she was also known to be a very private individual.

Miss Mills was found dead in her office one morning after a blizzard. Her office was in the very same room of the C.C. White Building in which Mrs. Buterbaugh had seen her spirit appearing to reach for a book. My sources do not agree on a date of death, but it was in the period of 1936 to 1940.

There were no reports of odd occurrences in the years prior to the 1963 sighting, but many odd events were reported afterward. Piano music could be heard playing in an empty room, and unexplained lights and footsteps were also noticed often.

In early summer of 1973, the C.C. White Building of the campus was destroyed. No further sightings have been reported from that area.

In 1985, Miss Mills appeared before several people in front of the apartment building where she once resided. Also noticed at her old apartment were the unexplainable sounds of music and a foul smell.

References/For Further Information:

Scott, Beth and Michael Norman. Haunted Heartland. Warner Books, NY: 1985.

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