Advisor(s) - Committee Chair
Dr. Erika Brady (Director), Dr. Tim Evans, Dr. Ann Ferrell
Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology
Master of Arts
Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, like all colleges and universities, has some interesting history. In this case, for my thesis project, I looked at specific tales regarding several buildings on campus that one hears upon arrival to campus. The buildings I included are Potter Hall, Barnes Campbell, Rodes- Harlin, Van Meter, Florence Schneider, McLean Hall, and Pearce-Ford Tower. I explored the details of the traditional oral narratives and compared those details from personal or close to personal experience. Next, I analyzed the details that have stayed the same over time or changed.
To accomplish my project I went to a few of the Welcome Week campus tours, conducted audio and video interviews, archival research, as well as video recording the annual ghost walk in October given by the Communications department. The project comprises mainly of a documentary film with a complimentary written component.
What I found was that the stories show some correlation between the traditional oral narratives and the first hand experiences such as names, times, experiences, and location of the events. In conclusion, I have found that in oral tales, certain details stay the same, change, and also become transformed over time. Western, like all colleges, has events that touch people’s lives and because of that impact, as well as the uniqueness of these stories, it means that certain stories will continue to be told. For further research, I would include the rest of the stories that one hears at Western including Phi Delta Theta, Delta Tau Delta, Lambda Chi Alphas, Kappa Sigma Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Ivan Wilson as well as to continue doing further research on these oral narratives. I also would like to look at other colleges, larger and smaller, in order to get a larger sample of oral narratives at different locations over time.
Van Ness, Arthur Gordon IV, "Haunts of the Hill: Western Kentucky University Ghostlore" (2012). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 1178.