Tragic events at UTC feeds into campus ghost tales

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 10/24/2013 7:23 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - UTC may be an institution of higher learning but the campus is also a place with a lot of history that feeds into the lure of ghost tales.

On Friday nights when most people are either attending high school football games, a new movie at the theater or enjoying a nice restaurant; others find themselves on ghost tours of UTC.

The tours take people into the old Paupers Cemetery and the Confederate Cemetery where ghost sightings have been documented.
"It's a lot of souls that are very angry and very disturbed at being disturbed," said Chattanooga Ghost Tour owner Amy Petulla.

It's a belief that ghost roaming the two cemeteries just happen to be souls that never found eternal rest. Around the turn of the century, The old Paupers Cemetery was the scene of scandal when the sexton dug up buried bodies and gave them to the UTC medical school in exchange for money. To date, 90-percent of the bodies that were laid to rest are no longer buried there.

"There are ghost from the bodies that were dug up," Petulla said. She also talked about ghost sightings at the Confederate Cemetery.

"There are actually a couple of Union soldiers buried in the Confederate Cemetery. We don't know if it's them or the Confederates but we've gotten a lot of ghostly activity there as well," she said.

People who have claimed to see ghost inside the cemeteries also say the apparitions often identify themselves.

"We know that it's not just coincidence when you get the same name or the same attitude coming from the same area over and over and over again," Petulla said.

During nightly ghost tours, unexplained moving dark shadows are said to have been seen but it's not the only strange phenomenon according to tour guides.

"We've had some our equipment go crazy while we were in the cemetery," said Petulla.

The two cemeteries on UTC's Campus aren't the only places where haunting souls are said to exist. Throughout the years, there's been a tale of a certain angry ghost that lives inside of Patton Chapel.

"We've had numerous people say they've seen a white figure in the window of Patton Chapel and that's something that's been seen before. There have been several ghost investigations at Patton Chapel," Petulla said.

According to a legend passed down from generation to generation, a jilted bride who was left alone at the alter committed suicide in her wedding gown inside the chapel.

"I have to tell you that I have done a lot of research and I can find absolutely no evidence of that. However, every church that is 100 years old has that story," said UTC spokesperson Chuck Cantrell.

Hooper Hall is said to have a ghost named John who was once a groundskeeper who committed suicide in 1919.

"His body was actually found in a chemistry lab with a burlap bag over his head so you couldn't see his face and he had strangled himself," Cantrell said.

If ghost are really roaming the campus of UTC, The actual history of some tragic events may be the reason why some people believe many souls have not been able to rest.

"I've done some real research and I document that the medical school use to store many bodies. I can document that there was a ground keeper named John who was found dead in Hooper Hall with his face covered and something around his neck. I can document all that. So is that history? Yes," Cantrell said.

So the next time you're roaming the campus at night and spot something strange out of the corner of your eye; even for a split second, it may or may not be a ghost. But if it is?

"Ghost usually have unfinished business. Sometimes they may not realize they're dead," Petulla said.

For more information on Chattanooga Ghost Tours or to make reservations to join a a tour, call 423-821-7125.
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