Haunted Haskell

Spirits who haunt campus halls loved school enough to linger

Lori Tapahonso, public information officer at Haskell Indian Nations University, gives a tour featuring Haskell's Tommaney Hall.

Lori Tapahonso, public information officer at Haskell Indian Nations University, and her daughter, Chamisa Edmo, talk about the spirit who allegedly haunts the library in Haskell's Tommaney Hall. The building will be one stop on the haunted Haskell tours on Wednesday night.

Halloween-related events happening on Wednesday

¢ Singing and costume parade, 4:15 p.m., Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H. Cost is $5, 843-2787.

¢ Downtown Lawrence Trick-or-Treat, 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m., at businesses downtown, 842-3883.

¢ Haskell Halloween Carnival, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Tecumseh Hall, 749-8480.

¢ Trunk or Treat, 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Central United Methodist Church, 1501 Mass.

¢ Haskell Haunted Halloween Tours, 8 p.m.-11 p.m., beginning at the Cultural Center. Cost is $5 for the public, $3 for students and free for Haskell Indian Nations University students, 832-6686. Not recommended for children under 13.

¢ Fall festival with games, booths, prizes, moonwalk, candy and hot dogs, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Cornerstone Southern Baptist Church, 802 W. 22nd St. Terrace, 843-0442.

¢ Trunk or Treat, evening, Indian Hills Church of God, 601 W. 29th St. Terrace, 843-9565.

¢ Trunk or Treat, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., Lawrence Wesleyan Church, 3705 Clinton Parkway, 841-5446.

Lori Tapahonso stares at Hiawatha Hall, still with contempt.

It’s been more than a decade since she says a spirit smacked her in the head in a stairwell inside the hall, which is on the Haskell Indian Nations University campus.

She hasn’t been back inside the building since.

“We’re naive to think we’re the only ones in the world,” says Tapahonso, public information officer at Haskell. “The others are unseen. That’s what our elders teach us.”

Those “others” are the subject of a series of tours Wednesday night at Haskell. The Haunted Haskell tours run from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, starting at the university’s Cultural Center.

Tapahonso says there are many stories on campus about spirits that look like children walking around, or new employees having their names called when nobody is around.

“For me, what I realized was there’s something different with the ‘hauntings’ here at Haskell and those elsewhere,” she says. “Here, they’re not scary. They’re not feared. The way we look at this is the way we look at life, that living isn’t linear – it’s not just birth and death. It’s cycles.”

The tours – led by flashlight – make stops at several campus locations. Among the locations purported to be haunted:

¢ A room in a dorm, which allegedly had a demon show up in the grain of a wood door – three separate times.

¢ A young man, apparently from the ’40s or ’50s, who sits in the Haskell Auditorium.

“He’s never bothered anybody,” Tapahonso says. “He just kind of hangs out.”

¢ Tommaney Hall (home to the school’s library), which has had books dropped without explanation by a spirit nicknamed “Libby.”

Tapahonso says many people assume the hauntings come from the years when Haskell was a boarding school for children. Dozens of children died there.

Rather, she says, the ghosts are generally in, well, good spirits. Tapahonso says spirits generally return to a point in their lives when they were most happy.

“They’re not there because they can’t leave,” she says. “They’re there because they love the school.”

The one exception to that, Tapahonso says, might be the basement of Pocahontas Hall, where an infirmary for sick children was previously located.

“You have a lot of young children haunting this place,” she says. “This is the one place where you have the most confusion.”

Tapahonso says the reports of spirits usually pick up during the summer months.

“There’s a running joke on campus that when students leave for the summer, the kids get restless,” she says. “Things will disappear from our desks. Things move around. Doors slam when we know nobody’s there. It’s a unique co-existence.”