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Haunted Waldo

Elizabeth Thomas works in Waldo Hall, and people have told her they’ve seen a woman “disappear” in a second story hallway of the Oregon State University building. OSU is a very old campus with some very old buildings on it. There is no way that a campus this old wouldn’t have some ghost stories. The primary suspect in the vanishing act is Ida Kidder, the school’s first librarian.She’s been dead since 1920. “People weren’t creeped out or anything. They thought she was a friendly presence,” Thomas said. In my years as a student and working in the Office of Admissions I can’t say I’ve ever seen Ida Kidder or any other apparition. [1] 


Photo by Andy Cripe, Corvallis Gazette Times This photo of Benton Hall was taken during a "haunted campus" tour hosted by the OSU archives on Halloween 2008. 


Ida Kidder is alleged to be the ghost of Waldo Hall, the former women’s dormitory where she lived from 1908 until her death in 1920. Kidder a widow, served as the first staff librarian at OAC and instituted significant reforms to organize and modernize the school library. As a resident of Waldo Hall she was much loved by students and fellow residents. When “Mother Kidder” suffered a heart attack in November 1919, and lost her mobility, some engineering students designed and constructed an electric  “wickermobile” which soon became a favored sight around campus. Kidder died in February 1920, and was granted the equivalent of a “state funeral” in the library. It is rumored that Kidder now haunts the fourth floor of Waldo Hall, where she lived until her death.

"The Wicker Mobile"

Students and friends pose with Ida Kidder and the wickermobile.

Dave Brauner, a professor in the anthropology department in Waldo Hall, has often had friends and colleagues ask him about the ghost rumors surrounding Waldo, but said that after talking with numerous alumni who used to live in Waldo, he's never heard one firsthand ghost account. And the only frightening occurrence he ever encountered in his office had a sadly mundane explanation.Brauner was in his office at about 1 a.m. one night when a partial elk skull he kept on a shelf began to wiggle, apparently by itself. "It got my attention," Brauner laughed. "But when I was finally brave enough to lift it up and see why it was wiggling, this great big cockroach came out." [2]

Corvallis Gazette Times The Haunts of OSU? Oct 31, 2002, 12:00 am Theresa Hogue

Staff and faculty members whose offices are housed by Waldo have described strange feelings of another person's presence in a room with them, only to discover that no one was there. Student Advisor Julie Hamby was working in her office one evening last spring during a string of 100 degree days. There was no breeze at all going through her office when suddenly her door slammed shut. She was so unnerved by this that she spent the rest of the evening working in the hallway. People have also said they have heard furniture moving on the fourth floor and have heard someone walking in high heels across the floor. "If the facilities people are up there, they're not wearing high heels." said Nikkie Pastre, an admissions specialist who works in an office on the third floor. Pastre said one time, when she was out sick, she hired someone to fill in for her. "After coming in on the weekend to do some work one night he refused to come back, but wouldn't say why." [3]

From the Daily Barometer Tuesday October 31, 2006


"We weren’t able to gain access to the fourth floor, but the consistent tales of Kidder’s ghost and her deep connection to the university do have the hallmarks of a legitimate haunting. From the nature of the reports, it sounds like Waldo Hall may contain the residual psychic energy of Kidder, which are randomly replayed and experienced by various students and staff. We were not able to find any reports of witnesses who actually interacted with Kidder, which would indicate that these are not an apparitional events (events where the ghost appears to be self-aware and able to interact with the living and its surroundings.) Regardless, it seems to if you have to have a ghost in your dorm, having a “motherly” one would be the best possible choice. Sleep well, kids." [4]


This from a July 25, the 2009 Blog Post at

[1] Jm. ,  “The Ghosts of OSU.”  OSU Admissions Blog. October 31, 2008

[2] Hogue, Theresa. “The Haunts of OSU.” Corvallis Gazette Times, 31 October 31, 2002: n. pag. Print

[3] Vardanega, Nick. "Haunted Hall." Daily Barometer [Oregon State University] 31 October 2006: n. pag. Print.

[4] Blog Post at July 25, 2009