The idea of spooky spirits and pesky phantasms floating about isn’t something you might typically associate with the rebirth and renewal of spring. But with April Fools’ Day also coming up, the University of Oklahoma evidently thought it would be a great time to resurrect its popular ghost tour — only this time, with a twist worthy of an M. Night Shyamalan movie.
“Initially, we had just the ghost tour, and as part of that, we would talk about the pranks that OU students used to do in the ’20s and ’30s, back when college was really crazy,” said Jeff Provine, OU freshman programs instructor and ghost tour leader.
“For example, they used to have an open brawl in the Oval: the juniors and freshman against the sophomores and seniors. It is a crazy and awesome story, but doesn’t have anything to do with ghosts. So spreading around some of those stories about what they used to do is what the prank tour is all about.”
The tour is free, but donations are accepted. All proceeds benefit the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Oklahoma, an organization helping children caught in abusive situations. Over the past several years, the ghost tours have raised more than $2,000 for the centers.
Although Provine himself has never spied a ghost on the tour, he has had his fair share of ominous chills run down his spine.
“Before the Jim Thorpe Multicultural Center was torn down, we used to go inside and up around on the second floor, where they had an exorcism in 1973, and it still felt weird. Very weird,” Provine said. “I’ve always been fascinated with ghosts. I really do enjoy the folklore and different stories, all the weird stuff out there.”
As creepy as the notion of ghosts and demons are, the fact is there’s no proof they exist. But vengeful students in bizarre costumes pulling violent pranks on unsuspecting students? That was very real — and perhaps even more unsettling.
“The creepiest story on the prank tour is about a secret society called the DDMC, which nobody to this day confirms what it stands for, but supposedly it stands for the Deep Dark Mystery Club,” Provine said. “From 1907 to about 1932, they were a secret society on campus that would go around in black hoods and red robes.”
Although the tour is “good exercise for a good cause,” according to Provine, an actual ghost sighting isn’t part of the schedule.
“I’ve been asked a number of times if we’re going to see a ghost on the tour, and I always say we never have. But, if we do,” he said, “the tour’s immediately over!”