Shaffer Dance Studio

The Unsubstantiated Truth

The dance studio used to be Shaffer Pool, which was nicknamed "The Greenhouse" because of its glass roof. The "Greenhouse Ghost" is said to be the ghost of a Kenyon student, or possibly an Air Force cadet during World War II, who died there in a diving accident, which led to the removal of the diving board. One version has him bouncing too high, shattering the roof, breaking his neck, and drowning.

During the war, Kenyon did in fact host cadets enrolled in the u.s. Army Air Force Meteorology Program. But there are no records of anybody dying in Shaffer pool. Former dean of students and swimming coach Tom Edwards removed the three-meter diving board in the 1950s, in his first month as coach, but it wasn't because of a fatal diving accident. It was because the deep end was only nine feet deep when it should have been twelve, and there was a dangerous ledge between the deep end and the shallow end. "Kids would come up from a dive, scraped up, with blood streaming down their faces," Edwards recalls.

The Tales

Kenyon custodians and safety officers consider the Shaffer Dance Studio to be the "creepiest place on campus," as one puts it. One night in 1979, when it was still a pool, a student lifeguard locked up the building, turned out the lights, and started up the hill. When he looked back, he saw that the lights were back on and he heard the sound of splashing. When he went back, nobody was there.

Long after the pool had been converted to a dance studio, dancers rehearsing late at night would see wet footprints leading into the locker rooms. Safety officers Carol Brown and Dan Turner once heard the sound of a diving board bouncing, not just once, but three times. Months would go by without any paranormal experiences, and then unexpectedly when Turner crossed the dance floor to lock the far door, the hackles on his neck would go up. He'd hear the sound of someone walking behind him.

"I can't tell you why, but one night, on the way back from locking that door, I just turned around," he says. There on the floor--the floor he'd just traversed--was a newly formed puddle of water. It wasn't raining and hadn't rained for days. Dispensing with protocol, he got on the walkie-talkie and yelled: "Everybody get your ass down to the dance studio! Now!" He could hear the squeals of the tires coming from the north end. Turner stood outside, trembling, not even able to light his own cigarette. Only when he was joined by officer Todd Bell would he go back inside.

"We literally watched the puddle evaporate before our eyes."