Southern Illinois University’s Gate to Hell

History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern IllinoisFrom History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern Illinois by Bruce Cline.

Mysterious, secret places exist on many college campuses, and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is no exception. One evening our ghost hunting group was conducting a training exercise near the “Old Main” area of campus. We each had a Ghost Meter and were scanning the area for EMFs (Electro-Magnetic Fields). I was walking west along the sidewalk on the south side of Woody Hall when I discovered an EMF that ranged from ground level to just a couple of feet above ground. This EMF ran the entire length of the sidewalk. There were no overhead electric lines and no visible source of electrical devices nearby.

What was the cause and source of this unexplained EMF? I discovered that there is a complete network of secret tunnels underneath the S.I.U. campus. There are several hidden access points to the tunnels, some of which are: a pump house at the west end of the pedestrian overpass from Brush Towers, a pump house near one of the turnarounds at Thompson Point, a manhole in the woods behind the Center for Public Policy, a manhole on the south lawn of the AG Building, a manhole at the south end of the Student Center, a grate at the SW corner of Life Science II. Some of these tunnels are guarded during final exam week to prevent “test thieves” from using the tunnels.

Upon entering the tunnels, strange echoes can be heard. Graffiti such as “WILDMAN AND CREW” and “CREO’S LAST STAND” may have been left during the anti-war riots of the 1960s. A Physical Plant supervisor once stated that “Some parts of the tunnel have not been checked out since the Berlin Wall fell. If anyone was trapped down there, we wouldn’t even know today”.

An official at the Office of Student Life at S.I.U. stated that many years ago a maintenance man left one the access gates to the tunnels open. A student saw the open gate and decided to go exploring. The student was alone when he ventured into the vast underground reaches of the tunnels. Shortly after the student entered the tunnel, a maintenance worker noticed that the gate was unsecured. He immediately secured the gate with a heavy duty pad lock and chain. The student became disoriented in the labyrinth of passages but finally found his way back to the gate where he had entered the tunnels. To his horror, he found the gate locked. There was no way around it and no other exit. The student’s dead body was found several weeks later when workers noticed a foul stench and went to find its source.

Could the strange echoes that are heard from time to time in the tunnels be coming from the ghost of the student whose rotting corpse was discovered so many years ago?

Copyright Bruce L. Cline, 2014. You do not have permission to copy this post.




  1. […] maintenance tunnels crisscross SIU’s campus, and they are rumored to be home to one or more students who were […]


  2. […] maintenance tunnels crisscross SIU’s campus, and they are rumored to be home to one or more students who were […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: