The Ghost that was Never There!
By Brian V. Brunner ('64)
Powder Springs, GA - 4/2001
- Winter 1960 -
This is a story about a Tallapoosa Hall ghost with a different twist. This was my own personal ghost, and I only saw him for a split second.
This happened again in the Tallapoosa Hall library. It was just after 7:00PM (1900 hours at LWMA) and the dying notes of "Call to Quarters" were echoing through the trees across the campus and down the valley to Camp Hill. This marked the beginning of evening study hall and LWMA became a very quiet place until "Tattoo" was sounded at 9:00PM (2100 hours). "Tattoo" was always sounded thirty minutes before "Taps" was sounded. Taps meant "Lights Out" and everyone was supposed to be in bed.
This must have taken place in the winter because it was already dark outside at 7:00PM. All of us low life cadets who had to be in Supervised Study Hall for bad grades had just been marched into the library and we were waiting for the adult teacher to arrive to make sure we did study. I don't remember the high-ranking cadet's name that had marched us up to Tallapoosa Hall that night.
Now, I have to layout the library at this point in the story so the rest of it will make sense. If you go into Tallapoosa Hall today and go down the hall to the left, you will see the only door in the hall to the old library is the first door on the left. That door seems to be set back. Really that whole wall is set back, as the wall to the left of the door was added years after this story. When you get inside this room and turn around and look at the door you just came through you will see another door about 10 feet down the inside wall to the right. There are bookcases to the left, between and to right of these two doors. That door on the right, NOW, lets you into the old liberay storeroom. At the time of this story the door on the right led back out into the hall just as one on the left does. Sometime after I left LWMA the two walls were built outside in that recessed area of the hall. Those two walls made the room that is now the old storeroom. Above both of these doors there is a glass transom. Back in the days before Tallapoosa Hall was air-conditioned those transoms were always opened or tilted back into the room for ventilation. The door on the right was always closed and locked, as the one on the left was the only entrance to the library we used from the hall. The Liberian had had someone move one of the large dinning room size reading tables* in front of the unused right door. Also, as part of this scene inside the library, there was a life-size plaster bust of George Washington that had belonged to Dr. Ward. This same room had been Dr. Ward's office, and the bust had been there for a long time. Old George was on a raised part of the built-in bookcases that went around the room. He was a located a little above your head over in the right corner on the far wall away from the doors.
Now that I have said all that, let us get back to this particular night of Supervised Study Hall during the 1959-60 school year. While were waiting for the teacher to arrive, some of us cadets were talking loudly and not studying. About that time we heard the front door open. We were wondering whether it was the expected teacher or some other member of the faculty or staff. Before that person could round the corner I jumped up onto the table in front of the locked door, stood up, and looked through the transom to see whom it was. I thought I would then be able to warn the others to be quiet if it was an adult. That seemed like a good idea until I saw this ghostly white transparent head and shoulders standing in the hall where I expected the teacher to be coming around the corner! Of course it was the image of George Washington's bust, below and behind me, reflecting in the glass transom! It only scared me for a split second, but if I had been chewing gum at the time I'm sure I would have swallowed it then and there.
I don't remember what took place after that. I think I just went on and waited for the real person to come around the corner. It was not something I would have told anyone about right then. But I know I've told this story over and over since it happened. It is one of those "Things in Tallapoosa Hall" that has stayed with me.
*This footnote is to remind everyone that those highly polished pine tables that are in the Alumni Office and the ROTC building (Ross Hall) classrooms were built by the Southern Industrial Institute students from trees that grew on the campus and were processed in S.I.I. sawmill. They were the school's dining tables for many years. I know we ate on them when Ross Hall was the dining hall in the 1950's and early 1960's.
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