The Ghosts of Sweet Briar College

The Ghosts of Sweet Briar College

The gently rolling hills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains are home to Sweet Briar College, a seemingly serene college for women.

Yet, amidst the peaceful setting, supernatural events are openly reported on a consistent basis.

This historic college is host to a couple of well-known ghosts who have an intimate and eternal connection with the establishment.

Indiana Williams, the founder of Sweet Briar, and her daughter are said to still be present on campus in ghostly forms…

Family History And Spooky Beginnings

Indiana Fletcher Williams owned the Sweet Briar plantation which made her a wealthy and respectable woman. The plantation was inherited from her father, a former teacher and advocate of education.

Indiana married Henry James Williams, an Irish immigrant, in 1865. Daisy was born two years later and was raised in a sheltered, pampered lifestyle.

Sadly, Daisy died when she was 16 from an inherited enzyme disorder. Henry passed away a few years later, leaving Indiana a widow and bereaved mother.

Upon Indiana’s death in 1900, she stated that her entire estate was to be turned into a school for women. The estate was comprised of over 8,000 acres and was worth approximately $1 million.

This gesture was intended as a tribute to her young daughter, but other members of the family did not agree with her decision.

These family members fought Indiana’s will and lost. The college was founded one year later. However, before it was officially opened, a good friend of Daisy’s claimed she saw Indiana’s ghost wandering in the dining room several times. Signora stated that Indiana wasn’t talking or interacting, just floating around.

The First Year at Sweet Briar

In its beginnings, Sweet Briar’s campus consisted of four buildings and 50 female students. The Williams’ family grave is located on campus and a special statue was placed over Daisy’s grave.

Apparently, a bitter family member defaced the statue, destroying all but the base. A new statue was erected and it came with a new feature. On a windy day, students can hear the statue “screaming.”

It has been determined that a certain part of the statue’s construction is the cause of the sinister sound. However, this is still accepted as a proper ghost story on campus and students still frequent the screaming statue.

Tucked away in a remote forest with no form of communication, the first graduating class at Sweet Briar had ample sources of inspiration for spooky stories.

These ladies ended up writing a book titled In The Light of Ember which is a collection of accounts of strange and spooky experiences on campus.

An Adolescent Ghost

Students and visitors have been reporting experiences with Daisy’s 16-year-old ghost for over 100 years. Many of these stories feature incidents with the same objects.

For example, an old music box from the Williams family that is out of order is sometimes reported to be playing eerie music.

However, the most commonly repeated story is the echoes of supernatural laughter heard all around the campus.

A former school president had a young daughter who acquired an imaginary friend upon moving into the President’s House on campus.

This house was in fact the home of Indiana, Henry and their daughter. Daisy’s room still contains her original furniture.

Barbara Hill was not concerned about her daughter’s imaginary friend until her daughter informed her that her friend lived in the walls of the house and was named Daisy.

One of the girl’s dormitories holds an off-limits attic. Local police have been called several times to investigate the attic when residents complained about hearing noises up there. The source of these noises was undetectable by the police officers.

The Mystery of the Medallion

Mrs. Martindale was the director of the halls of residence for over 20 years at Sweet Briar and she was a meticulous lady.

One day, she required something from her supply storage on the first floor of the Gray Residence Hall. In addition to her supplies, Mrs. Martindale discovered a framed medallion featuring the bust of Daisy.

Nobody in residence had ever seen or heard about this medallion. It was found on the same day the Daisy Gymnasium was completed, and it ended up being mounted inside the entrance to the gym.

Supernatural Silver

Over 10 years from Signora’s original silent sightings of Indiana, the woman’s ghost appeared to her again. This time Indiana didn’t keep quiet; she told Signora that there was silver stashed in one of the walls in her house.

Signora came to the school’s president with this story and the president had the school’s carpenters break open the wall that Indiana said the silver was in.

To everyone’s surprise, the silver was there, wrapped up in paper packages covered in grime.

The Ghosts of Sweet Briar College

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the subject of the ghosts of Sweet Briar College please leave them in the comment section below.

Thanks for taking the time to read our article 🙂

6 thoughts on “The Ghosts of Sweet Briar College

  1. 1 of my friends was asked by Dean or president to chose a couple of other students to stay at Sweet Briar House for a week in the winter of 1981, my freshman year. It was the same week that Dr. Richard Leakey was at the house preparing for lectures at the college. We got a real kick out of that and gossiped like crazy… eavesdropping on him because he was there with his “assistant” and they shared a room. Honest. That was the biggest story of the week for me.

    We knew some stories at the time. I have experienced many unexplainable events in my life, but at Sweet Briar, I personally never saw anything I thought was out of the ordinary, except occasional elevator problems and going to the top floor with me in it when it wasn’t supposed to. I visited the grave site a few times over the years. I recall hearing the sound coming from it. It was a creepy location for sure because you had to walk far from campus and were alone in the thick forest, walking up quite a long grade to the top of the hill.

    During that week event was a bit of a different story. There were odd things for sure. All the doors to the rooms were locked and we tried each one of them. Then, they were all open, so we snooped top to basement. There was a clock in the kitchen which ran backwards, but might have been a gag considering the lore. The one thing that I couldn’t explain eek was when we 4 snooped up the stairs to Daisy’s room. It was a narrow stairway which I remember being separate from the hall traffic. It was dark without the lights on. The light switch, the stiff up and down type, was at the bottom of the stairs. We turned it on and we all started up the stairs and it turned off by itself. We made a huge deal about sneaking up, the light going out, being scared. It must have been entertaining. None of us touched it. Someone went back down and turned it on, but it turned off by itself once again. We left it that way because we were at the top of the stairs.

    I think that something unexplained may have been happening at Sweet Briar College, but I really don’t recall anything very odd. Except, I really didn’t like the basement of the Randolph dorm. No particular reason except that it was uncomfortable to me personally. And, I never wanted to live in the old dorms, remaining in the newest Meta Glass building for 4 years.

    I didn’t use my time wisely, then. I was interested in having fun with friends and my insecurities got the best of me. I threw caution to the wind, but acted like I didn’t know how to live away from my own family or how to make wise decisions alone. Just the same, I was only the third generation in my family to earn a BA, and like the experience or not, I have Ms. Indy to thank.

    Ms Indy inherited the plantation in 1858, only 3 years before the first battle of the Civil War, which occurred 129 miles north of Sweet Briar, in Manassas. Petersburg was 123 miles east of the plantation. My life was enriched by not only my family, but also by people I never knew, who lived and died long before I was born. People who endured great upheaval and tragedy: among them a woman who survived both civil war and the death of her husband and her only child; who dedicated her plantation to a cause which has outlived her for generations. The college was just recently shafted by its board of governors but alumni rescued it.

    Yep, there’s much more to this place than what meets the eye, for sure.

    1. Wow thanks for this additional information Beverly – it really helps our original article evolve! Thanks for taking the time 🙂

  2. This is a really awesome site dedicated to the world of Paranormal. Whether your a full blown believer, or skeptic. This site has it all!!
    Being a believer of the paranormal and spiritual world, this website kept my interests going non stop. So much I’m going to drop in more regularly.
    Thanks for the great info

    1. Hi there Daniel (I got your name from your email address!),

      Always nice to hear that people have enjoyed their visit here…and are looking to return! Great to have you here mate 🙂

  3. I really like your site!. You know, people like you make the world go round. I like the video, I like, the silver in the walls, and I love the story!. I wasn’t expecting anything to be so captivating this morning! Thank you! It reminds me of this school in Denver that I swear is haunted me a little girl that drowned herself there.
    Thanks for waking me up with SOMETHING less ordinary lol!

    1. Well that’s quite a message Eddie – really glad you enjoyed our ‘something less ordinary’

      Do you have the name of that school in Denver by any chance? Could be an article in there somewhere for us!

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