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The Ghost of Gardiner Hall

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Gardiner Hall-Source

Shepherdstown, West Virginia has recently been labeled as one of the most haunted towns in the United States. And while hauntings can be found all over the area, quite a few of the town’s ghosts are associated with Shepherd University! I’m sure I’ll be covering more of these school spirits in later blogs, but today I wanted to highlight the haunting of Gardiner Hall. 

As legend states, Gardiner Hall, dedicated in 1966, is haunted by the ghost of Patty, a former Homecoming Queen, who died when she slipped in the shower, hitting her head. Patty has been seen walking across the football field on the night of homecoming, but she generally tends to spend the majority of the academic year hanging out on the second floor of Gardiner Hall, where she’s been seen roaming the halls. In addition to manifesting in front of terrified underclassmen, Patty also tends to take out her frustrations against a portrait of Mabel Gardiner, former history professor and Dean of Women, for whom the building is named. It is said that to appease Patty, the portrait must be displayed upside down, or else all hell breaks loose. It is believed that Patty somehow blames Gardiner for her accidental death. 

Over the years, quite a few residents of Gardiner Hall have reported experiencing the ghost of Patty. One thing I noticed that was really interesting is that several witnesses claim that the number on their room door was upside down, and they were warned not to change it, unless they wanted to feel the wrath of Patty. Cold spots, phantom footsteps, and unexplained lights are all blamed on Patty, who was described as one witness as having long, brown hair and wearing all white.

Patricia Loy’s Grave at Ebenezer Cemetery
Photo by BillionGraves

To many who have lived in Gardiner Hall, there is no doubt that the building is haunted, but for many years, there was a lot of confusion as to just who the Homecoming Queen was or how she died. Fortunately, we have some additional information!

Gardiner Hall-Source

Patricia Loy was a 20 year old college student from Romney, West Virginia who I believe was majoring in Education. Her life tragically ended on July 22, 1988 when, according to her former roommate, she was killed in a car crash in the early morning hours while driving home to Romney from her job. During the academic year, she stayed on the third floor of Gardiner Hall, where she was described by another roommate (in the Senior Wills section published by the school newspaper, The Picket) as frequenting Tuesday Night Jams at The Reunion, and going on trips to the nearby Spook Hill in Maryland. She is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery in Romney. 

So who IS the ghost of Gardiner Hall? 

I honestly couldn’t tell you. Patty Loy is obviously NOT the homecoming queen of the legend, because it is confirmed that she did not pass away in the dorm showers from a head injury. Was there another homecoming queen, lost to history, who lost her life in such a manner? If there was, and she lived in Gardiner Hall, there must have been a pretty elaborate cover up, because in the grand scheme of things, the building is not that old. Ouija board sessions from dorm residents seem to convince users that they are indeed talking to someone named Patty. So, maybe it IS Patricia Loy. Just because she passed away in a different manner from what the legend states, and in a different place, doesn’t mean that her spirit couldn’t return. Perhaps she enjoyed her time at Shepherd University with her friends so much, that she made her way back there after bodily death. Maybe her life was taken so unexpectedly that she doesn’t even realize that she’s no longer in her physical body, and is still ‘living’ her best college life. 

Whether the ghost of Gardiner Hall is Patricia Loy, another former student, or even Mabel Gardiner herself, I only have one question: what’s with wanting everything turned upside down? 

Sources and Further Reading:

True Identity: Shepherd College Ghost, by Matthew Jeremy Edler, as reported to Published July 14, 2004. 

Shepherd College-Gardiner Hall by Mike, as reported to Published July 14, 2004

Exhuming the Legends of Shepherd University. The Picket, October 22, 2013

BillionGraves: Ebenezer Cemetery–Patricia Ann Loy

The Picket. May 2, 1990. Senior Will of Cathy Junkins. Page 9

Legends of Shepherd University’s Campus. SU Website


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