The University of Nebraska Omaha has a storied 110 years; some of these stories are unsettling, some strange and some just criminal.
Freshmen hear about superstitions—like stepping on the bell structure under the bell tower. As the semesters stretch on, more tales reach their ears. For those attending the university, here are five stories you need to know:
The superstition of the Henningson Memorial Campanile, dedicated May 1989, is one of the most unknowingly followed superstitions on campus. As students walk under the bell tower or around its structure, they often unconsciously step around the bell shape in the tiles.
The superstition claims that if you step on the bell, you will receive a failing grade on your next test. It is not clear where this story comes from, but some students still obey the old story, even if they don’t think it rings true.
“I don’t believe in that stuff, but I still step around it just to be safe.” Alex Konczey said, a UNO sophomore from Leavenworth, Kansas.
The College of Arts and Sciences (ASH) was the first college on the campus in 1908. According to the Gateway article, “A haunting at UNO?” written by Alicia Lambert, Nebraska at Omaha’s Paranormal Society has witnessed activity of the ghost of a man named William, who died while serving in the military in Anzino, Italy. It is said that he roams the halls of ASH, Elmwood Park and other areas of campus, in search for his girlfriend to make sure she received his letters while he was away at war.
“Not to judge, but he sounds a little desperate if you ask me,” said, Garret Roberts, a UNO junior from Lincoln, Nebraska.
The Unusual Part 1:
Arts and Sciences hall has more than just paranormal ties, one room specifically has an unusual feature. Room 100, on the first floor on the north-east side, has a small odd-shaped door with an old skeleton key lock and worn brass knob. The door seems out of place in the room, and some students have said they felt strange when seated next to it.
“The door is creepy,” said, Laura Mirras, a UNO junior from Springfield, Nebraska. “One semester, it was locked, and on the last week it we decided to try it again. This time it was unlocked, and we found a small treasure chest with old ’90s computer manuals. It was weird. The next time we tried it the door was locked.”
The Unusual Part 2:
Outside of Weber Fine Arts building, sits a small amphitheater with five-foot-tall pillars that resemble condoms. What is strange about this spot are the eyes that follow you as you walk past them. Built into the walls of the amphitheater are faces that look like a few specific politicians with gothic makeovers. It is their eyes that follow when you walk past.
“There are no real eyes, just black spaces so it looks like they are following you,” said Katy Weir of McCook. “Are they supposed to look soulless, and why are they surrounded by giant condoms?”
Knowing the reason behind their following gaze take some of the strangeness out of the phenomena, but it can make for an interesting experience.
The thought of walking across campus at night makes some students uneasy, but long before the school was fitted with cameras and the occasional campus safety blue light emergency pillars, people waited in the dark or walked with friends.
According to the Gateway archives, in 1955, Caroline Nevins, a 20-year-old student worker, waited outside ASH for her father to pick her up on Dec. 9. When her father arrived late to meet her, she was nowhere to be found. Assuming she found a ride, he went home. She did not make it home that evening, Instead, she was found the next morning by a delivery driver under fresh fallen snow.
Police never solved the death of Caroline Nevins, but it started a movement across campus to increase safety for all students.
“People should know that they can call public safety, if they ever feel unsafe on campus,” said, Emily Snyder, a UNO senior from Omaha.