Tales from the Grave: The Playful Ghost at Sweet Briar College - WSET.com - ABC13

Tales from the Grave: The Playful Ghost at Sweet Briar College


Reporter: Lauren Compton l Photojournalist: Daniel Heffner

In this special report called, "Tales From the Grave", ABC-13 News investigates the story behind Daisy William's life and the restless spirit students say walks their campus.

Amherst, VA - Halloween is just days away, but students at Sweet Briar College say ghosts walk their campus all year round. And, students say the ghost of a 16-year-old girl named Daisy Williams plays pranks on them at night.

Daisy Williams is buried on the Sweet Briar College campus. Her family, the owners of the school when it was plantation, left all of their possessions and money to create the all women's college in her honor.

"Daisy was absolutely the center of family's world, said Christian Carr, Director of the Sweet Briar Museum.

Carr runs the museum where William's life is carefully preserved. Carr says Williams died from a hereditary disease while attending school in New York at the age of 16. Her body was brought back to Sweet Briar Plantation, and Carr says it seems William's spirit has never left.

"We've definitely had some strange and unexplained things happen in the museum, and all over campus," said Carr.

A harp, Williams' favorite instrument is housed at the museum, it has no sound board, yet some say they can still hear melodies.

"They say that they hear Daisy's music box playing. And, when the students are closing up the museum some say they can see the harps strings quiver," said Carr.

The strange occurrences in the museum are so spooky not many people want to be left inside alone.

"As the days get shorter it's difficult to find a student who wants to be left alone in the museum after dark," said Carr.

Daisy's body is buried on Monument Hill, a cemetery overlooking the Sweet Briar campus, but students say her playful spirit rises from the grave.

Under a near full moon we headed on campus to hear about Daisy's appearances on campus. Alexandra Mebane gives ghost tours on campus and says Daisy's ghost is a bit of a prankster.

Mebane says William's most common prank involves an elevator at a freshmen dorm called Meta Glass. Mebane says the elevator takes students from basement to the fourth floor, but never to the fifth floor attic.

"The elevator has a mind of its own," said Mebane.

Some students think Williams is operating the elevator.

"Most students say the only way they can get to attic is if Daisy takes you there. And, that's why it's so creepy," said Mebane.

We tried several times to get to the fifth floor attic on the elevator with no luck. And, the stairwell to the attic is locked at all times.

"She definitely doesn't mean any harm. She's not like a poltergeist. It's something we like to joke about a lot," said Mebane.

Mebane says most students embrace Daisy's spirit, in memory of the little girl who never got to grow up, and never lived to see the scenic campus made in her honor.

"This is her way of having fun with us, and saying I'm still here just remember me," said Mebane.

Students say Daisy's spirit is not the only one that walks the Sweet Briar campus. They have Ghost Tours with other stories of spirits on campus.

The last Sweet Briar College Ghost Tour is Saturday October 30th from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. Tours leave every half house.

For more information about Sweet Briar College Ghost Tours, click here.

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