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The Haunted: East Tennessee State University

Updated on September 19, 2017
Joey Paranormal profile image

Joey is a Paranormal Investigator with 25 years experience and well over 1,000 cases under his belt.

What Was That?

East Tennessee State University is a four-year degree college located in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Anyone who has attended ETSU will likely have, or knows someone who has, a story of paranormal to tell. Some stories can be very detailed, others very vague; but they are all passionately delivered by those who have experienced the alleged hauntings across the campus.

Many students, faculty, and staff have come forward with many stories of paranormal sightings, unusual and mysterious sounds, and many other unexplained phenomena.

Let's explore some of these buildings located on the ETSU campus.

Gilbreath Hall


This building is named after the late founder and President of ETSU, Sidney Gilbreath. The hall houses several classes and the Theater department.

Mr. Gilbreath was said to be a very strict president and vocal president. After his death in 1961, many sightings have been documented. Students hearing disembodied voices telling them to, "get to class," windows being closed by what appears to be a shadow right before a storm, and countless experiences in the theater where it has been reported that Mr. Gilbreath was seen in the seats enjoying rehearsals.

Lucille C. Clement Hall


One of these spirits is alleged to be of a boy who died after he fell down an elevator shaft. This particular spirit has been named, "Marble Boy," because he likes to drop what sounds like marbles on the floor. It has been documented that if the boy is told to stop, he will drop, what sounds like, many marbles out of anger.

Another young boy, believed to be the son of a custodian, fell five stories while playing on the roof, is also said to haunt to residential hall. Numerous reports say that if you are outside the hall at night that a young boy can be seen peering out of one of the windows.

A few students have witnessed a girl standing over them after waking up during the night. This girl was given the name of "Lucy," named after Lucille Clement. There isn't much information on whom "Lucy" could be, as there have only been a handful of reported sightings.

Numerous reports exist of elevator doors opening and closing on their own, going to and stopping on the 2nd floor, no matter which buttons are pushed. Various reports exist of water faucets being turned off and on, televisions being turned on and the channels changing on their own, and man who will talk to students and disappear.

Many believe some of the hauntings in this building could be related to a twin engine plane crash in a parking lot close to the building in 1985. None of the three passengers survived and it is believed that the spirits of these three haunt the entire campus, not just this building.

Burleson Hall


Burleson Hall is said to house the most paranormal activity on the campus. It is believed to be haunted by the spirit of Christina Burleson, who was an English Professor at the university.

Ms. Burleson was stricken to a wheelchair later in her life and the disease eventually led to her suicide in 1967.

Numerous students have reported being followed by an old woman in the hallway and when shown a group of pictures, they have all picked out Ms. Burleson from the group.

There is also a portrait of David Burleson, Christina's father and former professor, hanging in the building and his eyes appear to follow people as they walk by. Many who have seen this portrait believe the eyes belong to the spirit of Christina and not of her father.

Many report cold spots and the sense of someone, an energy source, being with them whenever they are walking down the hallway after night classes.

The Conclusion

There is no shortage of stories associated with East Tennessee State University. Thousands of students, faculty, staff, and even visitors have reported one or more of these experiences.

Several have reported sporadic experiences across the campus. From disembodied laughter, whispering, doors and windows shutting that were left open, sounds of carts rolling through the halls, and even deactivated elevators mysteriously working on their own.

Are these people just passing on second-hand legends, letting their imaginations run wild, or are they personally experiencing the unknown source of paranormal phenomena?

You be the judge.


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