Keene has many ghost stories, but the most popular seems to be that of Harriet Huntress, the namesake and resident ghost of Huntress Hall on the campus of Keene State College. An abandoned wheelchair in the attic of the Hall appears to be part of the inspiration for the ghostly legend.
Huntress, motivated perhaps by anger at co ed living arrangements during WWII, or just plain old otherworldly boredom, can be heard wheeling her chair through the hallways. Of course, no one is sure just who the owner of the wheelchair was, or why it’s sitting in the attic, but it makes for a great story.
A local paranormal group did an investigation of Huntress Hall in 2008, and found nothing. That doesn’t mean the case is closed. Old homes and buildings inspire ghost stories. Evolution has made us afraid of the dark, there might be bears, and also there is still that creepy wheelchair. Still even believers in ghosts couldn’t find proof for Harriet’s haunting.
One story reported by several former students is that Harriet Huntress does not like to be made fun of. Students that dress up like her for Halloween, usually in a gray wig and some sort of wheeled chair, find Harriet is not amused, and she will have her revenge. Things happen to those that make fun of Keene’s best known ghost. The next test, despite having been studied for, is failed. She’s also supposed to be fond of tripping any student that makes fun of the wheelchair. She seems to be suggesting those that can walk should not be imitating of those that can not.
There is almost always some form of retribution, especially to those that would imitate her ghostly presence. Huntress saves her more extreme revenge for those that wheel a cart down a hallway trying to scare others. A student that with his friends took part in making mysterious noises in an attempt to hoax a group of fellow students, found himself with a broken leg shortly thereafter. He says he did not believe in Huntress or any curse before he took part in the hoax, but that the three students that also participated in the hoax with him all had accidents within the week of the hoaxing. One student had a bad car accident, another had a car that simply wouldn’t start and needed expensive repairs. The third hoaxer slipped on an ice covered sidewalk and threw out his back so badly he needed to use a wheelchair for the rest of the semester. The student felt that Harriet saved this especially appropriate revenge for this student as he was the leader of the hoaxers.
Does Harriet Huntress still roam the hall that bears her name in a wheelchair? Perhaps, or perhaps she just doesn’t like people making fun of her. No matter what, it’s better to be just polite, and not make fun of people, even if they are dead.