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UW’s Cooper House Home to a "Ghostly" History

October 25, 2010

LARAMIE, Wyo. - It's the week when wispy apparitions, supernatural events and creepy sounds take center stage for Halloween, and Wyoming is home to its own stock of ghost stories. The historic Cooper House at the University of Wyoming is one example of what many believe to be a real haunted house.

Sophie Beck is the office manager for the American Studies Program based in the Cooper House. She says her first encounter with the ghost was years ago, during her first week of work. She was staying late to arrange her office.

"I could hear footsteps where the back kitchen is, so I just assumed the faculty were upstairs. Then I heard it again, so then I went up there, and no one was there."

Beck says a Russian student became so terrified while studying there at night, she never returned after dark. And Beck witnessed a student's dog barking menacingly - at something no one else could see.

One morning, Beck arrived to find the night custodian had left garbage and equipment throughout the house. She followed up with the woman and found she had abandoned the shift because she got spooked.

"She was heading into the bathroom, and she tried to open the door and it kept shutting on her. She said it was like somebody was fighting with her not to let her in there, and she just left."

Beck says she thinks there may be several ghosts in the house, and while some incidents have frightened students and faculty, she perceives the presence to be mostly friendly. The house sat empty for several years in the 1980s until nonprofit preservation groups lobbied to have it restored and put to use as classrooms and office space.

Details about the historic Cooper House are available at www.uwyo.edu.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY