Posted October 20, 2016

Stranger Temple: Four campus myths worth knowing

So, you’re walking through campus and there are, like, no squirrels anywhere. Suddenly you feel a chill down your back. Yeah, it’s probably just the wind. NBD. But….*maybe* it’s a ghost (Hi, Russell Conwell) on its way to 7-Eleven. So bingeing on scary movies this month might be affecting our judgment. (#BlairWitchProjectForeverrrrrrr) DYK: North Broad Street has some creepy history—history that makes us want to plug in a nightlight, just in case there is some truth behind Temple’s spookiest myths. Here are four campus myths worth knowing, or that you might regret knowing...


Myth #1: Your house was built on old burial grounds.
Verdict: Hm, maybe that explains those weird noises. This could be true! As you may have heard through the campus grapevine, a cemetery—Monument Cemetery—spanned several blocks from Broad to 17th and Montgomery to Norris in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some 28,000 graves were eventually relocated to another cemetery and the area now is occupied by Geasey Field and the 15th Street lot. You can still see what remains of the graveyard on campus, though: The tall wall at Broad Street and Polett Walk is part of the old cemetery walls.

Myth #2: Russell Conwell and his wife are buried on campus.
Verdict: Totally true. After Monument Cemetery was no longer, our university founder and his wife, Sarah, were moved to campus, before finally being laid to rest in Founder’s Garden in 1968. So yes, your OWL Team leader was right—the OG night owl is still here. Which might lead you to have a follow-up question...

Myth #3: Does his presence linger?
Verdict: While Owls have questioned Conwell’s presence for many years, this one’s inconclusive. While we’d love to imagine him reciting “Acres of Diamonds” to students passing through the garden, we could also totally see him hobnobbing down in Old City with our Founding Fathers.

Myth #4: There’s a ghostly gal haunting Peabody Hall.
Verdict: Also questionable. The Conwell's did live in a house where Peabody Hall now stands, but the gal who supposedly haunts the residence hall isn’t Russell’s wife, Sarah. If you ask some who’ve lived there, they would tell you that the ghost of Gertrude Peabody (former Dean of Women, Peabody Hall dedicated to her in 1958) allegedly makes the odd appearance in the lobby and elevators.