Illustration by Mike Cagle


At 200 years old, Indiana University has quite a few local legends, including ghostly yarns like the one about a grumpy child apparition in the Indiana Memorial Union Tudor Room, said to be connected to a painting of a little boy holding a pumpkin. Rumor has it the spirit creates a fuss when the chairs and tables in the room are moved out of place. Indulging in such stories is part of the fun when the IU Folklore and Ethnomusicology Department holds its annual Ghost Walk.

The walk is organized by students in the Folklore and Ethnomusicology Student Association (FESA) and led by faculty members and graduate students who spin the haunting stories. The event has grown in popularity from the 40 guests who showed up in 2012 to more than 300 in 2018, half of whom had to be turned away, says Krystie Herndon, senior advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences and co-founder of FESA. 

“So many people love IU’s campus, and the Ghost Walk is a great opportunity to learn some of the school’s stories you wouldn’t know,” Herndon says. 

The walk is open to the public, and families with children are encouraged to attend. “Ever since the event began, more and more kids have wanted to come along with their parents,” Herndon says. The walk is conducted after dark, but there are no jump scares. “If you love ghosts, legends, and secret histories, this is a great event to attend,” Herndon says. 

This year’s Ghost Walk will take place on Tuesday, October 22, and starts from the Folklore and Ethnomusicology Classroom Office Building, 800 E. 3rd St. A reception kicks things off at 7 p.m. The tour itself starts at 7:45 p.m. and lasts about an hour. All proceeds support student organizations in the folklore department.

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page at FESA-IU.