With Halloween almost here, it's time for the one column I dedicate each year to writing about haunted homes.
Q: My son recently began attending Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala. He swears that he recently saw the ghost of a young woman who wears a red dress, floats around for a few seconds and then disappears. Have you ever heard about such a spirit?
A: Several colleges across the U.S. are said to be haunted by their dearly departed students or professors. Huntingdon College in Montgomery is no exception: The ghost of what experts and even school administrators simply call the "Red Lady" is said to have paid the campus several visits throughout the years.
The Red Lady is believed to be the restless spirit of a young woman from New York who registered at the school many years ago.
She never really fit in with the other students, perhaps because she always insisted on wearing red dresses and even painted her dormitory room in crimson.
The poor lass grew more lonely and homesick, until her body was found one day in her room, dressed in a red robe, under a red blanket and covered in blood from the wrists that she had apparently slashed.
To this day, students at the college tell of seeing odd flashes of red light in and around her old room, and seeing her red-clad specter roaming about the fourth floor of the school's Pratt Hall.
While administrators at many schools try to dispel their rumors of ghosts, the nice folks at Huntingdon have embraced the legend.
Every year at this time, they sponsor Red Lady Week - several days of festivities that include (ironically enough) a massive blood drive.
Can you recommend a good book or Internet site about haunted homes?
My favorite book about the supernatural is "Haunted Places: The National Directory," by Dennis William Hauck. The author is an internationally known authority on paranormal phenomena, and the book provides details about haunted places in all 50 states.