As October comes to an end and Halloween approaches, many people are interested in all things spooky and scary. University of Wisconsin–Stout students don’t need to look further than their own campus. The old north campus dorm Jeter-Tainter-Callahan (JTC) has a long history of mysterious rumors, and many students and staff believe that the dorm is haunted.
JTC was built in the mid 1950s on Lake Menomin, making it the oldest residence hall on campus. However, aside from housing a few staff offices, the building has been closed for the past few years. The rumor is that JTC is slowly sinking into the lake due to its slanted foundation, and that’s why it needs to be remodeled. There is no official statement on why the building hasn’t been housing students. Another rumor is that JTC will be housing students next fall during the North Hall remodeling, yet there is no official information on this either, and JTC currently isn’t listed as a residence hall on UW–Stout’s housing page.
According to the hall manager in North Hall, Joe Brown, there have been two confirmed deaths in JTC in the past. One alleged death was a student suicide, and the other was a professor, but Brown didn’t know the cause of death. Again, there’s very little solid information and few official reports on the matter. However, unexplainedresearch.com, a paranormal website, reports that “according to rumor, a student hanged himself in the dorm.” The website also claims that Stout officials won’t release the name of the student. It does not say when this suicide was rumored to have happened.
JTC has not been used for student living for at least the past two academic years. However, during the remodel of Harvey Hall, the entire Professional Communications and Emerging Media (PCEM) department, and several other classes typically held in Harvey, were temporarily moved to JTC. Stoutonia asked PCEM program director Mitch Ogden how he felt about the building, and he said he definitely thought it was haunted. He elaborated, “We all have different definitions of what it means to be ‘haunted’—or if not definitions, then stigmas about what that means. To me, ‘haunted’ is not always or necessarily an evil, disturbing or frightening thing. Sometimes it can be, but most often, I think that hauntings are pretty benign.”
Alison Saxton, a senior in the PCEM program, spent a lot of time in JTC, where she worked in the basement with the Stout Theatre department her freshman year. She described the building as “absolutely haunted.” Although she didn’t have any experiences that she thinks of as inherently paranormal, she said, “JTC brings back memories of an eerie but pleasant building that probably holds lots of secrets and stories from the people who lived there.” She went into detail describing the old lunchroom pipes and bathroom in the basement, saying they were “probably the creepiest parts of the building that I saw, in addition to the obviously unused mailboxes when you entered Callahan.” Essentially, the creepy atmosphere of the building made her and others believe that the building is haunted.
When it comes to JTC, it seems like everything is just rumors and hearsay. While many students and staff have come forward with experiences they have had, there isn’t any real reason the building would be haunted. That being said, the abandoned building sure gives off some creepy vibes from the outside, even if it isn’t haunted.
If you’re looking to do some ghost hunting this Halloween, JTC is locked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you may want to look elsewhere.