MSU Folklore Club celebrated a milestone on Thursday when the club hosted its 10th year of haunted history tours.
For the last decade, members of the Folklore Club have brought the ghost stories of Missouri State and Springfield to life.
“(I) never thought when four students sat down and went through stories that had been collected by folklore students over the previous four years, that we would be here 10 years later,” Folklore Club Adviser Dr. Martha Gholson said. “That is an amazing accomplishment and it's all due to the students and their energy.”
The energy was tangible as actors took on the roles of unsettled spirits from around Springfield.
Stories from the tour, collected from MSU students and staff, included sounds of crying, laughing and the sight of wet footprints at Hill Hall during the night. The tour also included phantom footsteps on the running track in McDonald Arena and a friendly dorm mother ghost in Freudenberger House.
Additionally, the tale of the Phelps Grove Bridge ghost and multiple stories from Landers Theatre downtown complemented the route.
Junior psychology major Anthony Doyle found Folklore Club this year through Gholson. He said he enjoys finding the roots of folklore, legends and myths.
He played the Grim Reaper: a strong, silent type who carried a lantern and escorted guests on the tour.
“So far, this is the most fun I’ve been having with it, just being the lantern bearer,” Doyle said. “I wanted to be part of the haunted tour. I really like this time of year, getting to dress up and be ‘oh, so spooky scary.’”
A basic definition of folklore is the traditional customs, tales, dances or art forms preserved among the people, according to Webster’s Dictionary. Gholson said folklore can give voice to those who are voiceless and sometimes explain the unexplainable.
“By telling those kinds of legends … it gives us a sense of power,” Gholson said.
MSU has its own folklore that is not related to ghosts, according to Gholson. Have you ever heard if you get hit by a Bear Line bus you get your tuition paid for? Or if your roommate dies, you get all A’s for the semester? That is folklore.
Folklore is a living tradition since it is mostly passed from person to person by word of mouth. Everyone makes little changes to the stories to make it their own or make it more interesting.
The Folklore Club specializes in gathering these kinds of stories.
Senior art and design major Robin Prantl has been with Folklore Club for three years and was a guide on the haunted tour. She said she likes the content variety the folklore genre offers.
“Since almost everything falls under the folklore umbrella, we can discuss a lot of different cultures, a lot of different traditions and we just get a wide variety of things in our meetings,” she said.
If you did not catch the haunted tour this year, you will have to wait for the eleventh installment. If you are interested in the Folklore Club or have any folklore stories of your own, you can contact Gholson in the English Department.