Home Campus Myths and legends of BYU-I: from ghosts to tunnels

Myths and legends of BYU-I: from ghosts to tunnels

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A ghost on campus? Underground tunnels? Since the university was founded in 1888, BYU-Idaho students have shared stories and explored school myths.

Under the Oscar A. Kirkham Building, tunnels weave and twist to accommodate layers of cables and vents. The pipes gently release pressure in an inconsistent pattern as a phone flashlight pans around bumpy concrete walkway. Some of the tunnels lead to dead ends, others give access to vents that lead to the stage, and still others lead to open spaces where huge air conditioning units suck in air to filter through the building.

Antoinette Kaku, a junior studying public health, worked as an early-morning custodian and sometimes would go to the Kirkham late at night.

“It was so dark and felt outright spooky,” Kaku said. “I think one of my coworkers mentioned that it was ‘haunted,’ and right off the bat we thought we saw dark figures lurking in the shadows, doors closing on their own and heard weird noises. Maybe it’s because the building was also so old. It was just fun at the end of the day.”

The Kirkham was named after Oscar A. Kirkham, a music professor. He only taught for three years at Ricks College. On a night train to Rexburg, he wrote the song “Dear Old Ricks,” and it’s not hard to hear those lyrics echo through the halls (and tunnels) of the Kirkham in an eerie tone.

“Then cheer again for dear old Ricks

And keep her banners high.

There is no school that’s half so dear,

Her love is ever nigh.

I walk again her sacred halls

And sing her happy songs.

No matter where my feet may tread

My heart to her belongs.”

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Another myth is the ghost in the David O. McKay Library.

Early morning custodians, students and employees have reported paranormal activity in library, and all of them have lived to tell the tale. Many of these incidents have happened on the second floor near Special Collections.

Kamisha Jensen, an alumna of BYU-Idaho, was an early morning custodian in the library in 2016. She said she heard noises and experienced lights and computers turning on and off randomly.

“I was told her name was Greta, who was a professor who worked here on campus and then died, but I am not sure how much of that is true,” Jensen said.

Jensen said there was activity on the second floor of the library and the east wing on the first-floor bathrooms.

“One day, I was sitting in one of the three rooms that we have in the back, and all of a sudden the lights in the room went off, then back on, then back off and then a book on a bookshelf fell off,” said Samuel Richardson, an alumnus of BYU-I and former Special Collections library assistant.

Portrait of Sister Flamm

Hannah Nelson, a library assistant, said that they call the ghost Sister Flamm. She said that Sister Flamm’s family started a funeral home in Rexburg.

Richardson said Sister Flamm was one of the first people in Rexburg and that is why she is drawn to campus.

Richard Quansah, a junior studying biochemistry and employee in Special Collections, said the ghost of Sister Flamm is still there and you can feel her following.

“We have a big vault in the back there, and it’s always dark so you have to switch on the light before you enter,” Quansah said. “One time I switched on the light and it went off. When I went, a box fell and I believe that it was her, but I’ve gotten used to her so I’m okay.”

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