A Haunting in Sanford Hall?

Will Peebles

Sanford Hall is the home Georgia Southern’s Communication Arts programs, including Theatre, Communication Studies, Multimedia Communication, Journalism, Public Relations and- according to some students and faculty- supernatural entities.

Sanford was originally a traditional student housing dorm, but the building was recently renovated to house the Communication Arts department. Classes in Sanford began at the start of the 2014 school year.

In August of 2014, only a few weeks before classes began, there was a flooding issue in Sanford. A structural problem caused the television control room on the building’s bottom floor to take on water. Footage from a security camera was being used to help GSU’s physical plant devise a solution to the problem, but on August 17 something unexpected was caught on film.

“There was no explanation. The police warned me before they showed me the video that there was no way to explain what I was about to see. I watched the video, and saw the door handle wiggling and then opening.” Ben Bentley, Broadcast Engineer for the Communication Arts department, said.

In the video, the door to the television control room opened, seemingly by itself. The handle jiggled, and the door opened to the inside, about halfway.

After the incident, Bentley did his best to recreate the scenario. He tried to approach the seemingly supernatural event from the viewpoint of an engineer in an attempt to explain the door opening on its own.
“We sat around and talked about it from an engineering standpoint. I came down here and did some tests to see how much force you would have to put on the door for it to open. You really do have to apply a certain amount of force. It doesn’t just naturally go in. How did the door open on its own? It can’t be explained,” Bentley said.

The footage is no longer available, because the Office of Public Safety deletes old footage once it serves its purpose. Since the tape was used to show the physical plant that there was a leak, it had already served its purpose.

“While some things have happened, we have not investigated the events to determine if the cause is natural or supernatural.” Dr. Pamela Bourland-Davis, Department Chair of Communication Arts, said.