Mills Ghosts: Fact and Fiction

By
October 30, 2003

Mills College Weekly

Several buildings on the Mills campus play host to entities who
are neither students, faculty nor staff. They are our resident
ghosts, existing side-by-side with the rest of us, making their
presence known on their own terms and their own timetable. Our
familiar campus buildings are their turf.

The music building is home to a spectral performer. The
Artsfusion Website states that over the years, students and
teachers have frequently reported hearing music along the stone
corridors and coming from rehearsal rooms. Assuming them to be in
use, they investigate, only to find no one there- at least no one
visible.

According to Dr. Jerry Clegg, chair of the Philosophy
department, one report was taken seriously enough to merit
investigation. Kress house is located in the Faculty Village, not
far from Sunnyside Cemetery. It has been the site of strange
occurrences for many years. After Kress’ death, who was a writing
instructor for many years, lights were seen to go on and off in the
upper story and strange noises were heard emanating from the
unoccupied house. It was the source of so much discussion that, 12
to 15 years ago, said Clegg, a newly hired dean of faculty whom
Clegg declined to name, refused to move into Kress House until
these happenings were investigated. Nothing substantive was found
and the mystery of the lights and sounds remains unsolved.

Who paces the stage at Lisser Theater? In addition to the
expected students, faculty and guest performers, other footsteps
are heard on the stage, causing the floorboards to creak and groan,
as if endlessly preparing for some spectral performance. Many say
it is the ghost of Louis Lisser, an early Mills music teacher and
the man for whom the building is named. Others believe that it is
the spirit of Susan Mills, whose body reportedly lay in state at
Lisser before her interment at Sunnyside. Whoever it is, they have
been heard and reported many times over the years.

Perhaps even you may have noticed a young woman standing on the
steps of Orchard Meadow, waiting for someone. Many in the Mills
community have seen her. Glancing back to see if they recognize
her, they find that she has vanished. For over thirty years, she
has been reported, always waiting patiently, eternally, for someone
– a date perhaps – who never arrives.


Mills Ghosts: Fact and Fiction was published on October 30, 2003 in Features

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