The phantom of the Wright Center

CAITRIN WILLIAMSFeatures Editor

According to legend, Samford’s Wright Center is haunted by a phantom known as Cleophus.

A construction worker, Cleophus supposedly met his untimely death while building the Wright Center in 1976.

Stage manager David Glenn said that behind a locked door in the attic on the south side of the Wright Center, above the office suites, are concrete walk boards over the west elevator shaft that bear the inscription, “Cleophus died here.” There Cleophus fell five stories to his death.

Though the Crimson was unable to turn up any record of a construction worker falling to his death during the Wright Center’s construction, the legend lives on.

During his nearly 40-year run at Samford, professor and faculty designer Eric Olson said that he has been in the Wright Center at least five times working through the night on shows and “things of course get spooky,” but has never seen the phantom.

Olson did say that he has felt cold breezes and seen lights turn on and off, but nothing like the spooky happenings he experienced during his time at University of Montevallo’s theatre, which was once a Civil War hospital.

Similarly, David Glenn, who has acted as technical director for the Wright Center as well as for the School of the Arts, said that he has never seen anything spooky in the building that could not be explained away.

“I have been in theatres that were supposedly haunted, where I felt ghosts. I have never felt a ghost in this building. I ran the concert hall for 10 years before becoming a faculty member five years ago and spent many nights working at three, four, five o’clock in the morning and never experienced anything that felt paranormal or seemed out of place.”

Glenn said, “It’s not uncommon for ghosts and theaters to go together.” Like Olson, Glenn experienced paranormal activity in another university’s theatre.

“The Telfair Peet Theatre, it has a ghost,” Glenn said of the theatre at Auburn University, where he received his undergraduate degree.

Glenn said he saw lights swinging in a figure-eight pattern, felt chilled air in a hallway and felt a paranormal presence in the theater, which is supposedly haunted by the spirit of a fallen Civil War soldier.

Though the story of Cleophus’s death has not been confirmed, Glenn said he “wouldn’t write off” the possibility of the Wright Center’s resident phantom.

For more information on haunted theaters in the area, visit alabamaghosthunters.com.

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