What We Know About The Ghost At Miami University

Towering oak trees and endless plots of freshly-cut grass adorn the campus of Miami University in Ohio. Students at the Oxford, Ohio campus pass their days in the heart of what most would call an authentic piece of paradise, but there's said to be something lurking in the nocturnal shadows of the school's locale after the sun goes down — something more reminiscent of the underworld than paradise.

According to Miami Student, the university could very well be home to an otherworldly presence that is known to reveal itself in the dark hours of the night, and whose origin lies in a legend dating all the way back to the 1940s. Tales of the Miami motorcycle ghost have been recounted over and over again among students throughout the years, and like all paranormal beings that can't seem to make it over the threshold into The Beyond, this ghost has a story.

The story of the Miami Motorcycle ghost

Let's start at the end of the story: picture Ghost Rider meets The Headless Horseman. Riveting, right? Anyway, it was sometime around the middle of the 20th century that a courtship developed between a young man — the ragtag James Dean type — and a farmer's daughter in the Oxford, Ohio area. Dissatisfied by the idea of his daughter spending time with a boy who he saw as nothing more than a hooligan on two wheels, he forbade her from seeing him at night or during the week. Nonetheless, they managed to keep a secret correspondence on their own terms. Under the cover of night, they would set off on the boy's motorcycle together far beyond the watchful eye of the ornery farmer (per Miami Student). 

The story came to a tragic end after the young man, while on his way to propose to his girlfriend, collided with a strip of barbed wire connecting two fence posts, and was beheaded (via Miami University). The tale is almost Shakespearean in tone, especially when you consider that his ghost may have stuck around after the fact.

Students still see the cyclist at night

The scene of the cyclist's gruesome death isn't far from Miami University's campus. Years later, stories of various sightings proliferated through the student body. Allegedly, at a certain point during the night, bystanders are liable to see the faint trace of a phantom headlight — believed to be that of the cyclist's motorcycle — illuminating the dark. The myth goes that, following his grisly demise, the lovesick young man stuck around the place  he died (where Oxford Road meets Milford Road) in search of his long lost sweetheart (per Miami Student). 

However, the Miami Motorcycle ghost doesn't just appear without a little prompting. There's a certain ritual that students allegedly have to perform if they're looking for a juicy story to share at the next frat party. According to Ohio Motor Sports Group, if you want to summon the spirit of the cyclist, you have to approach the dilapidated farmhouse in your car, pull into the driveway, and turn your vehicle off. Then, once you restart your car, back out, return to the crossroads, and stop. Flash your lights three times, and if you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of the cyclist headlamp spawning out of the dead of night. 

There are other ghosts on Miami University's campus

The ill-fated motorcyclist isn't the only ghost that haunts Miami University. Helen Peabody once oversaw the girl's dormitory at Miami University (Peabody Hall is aptly named) before boys and girls start sharing housing units. Peabody made it a personal goal to vehemently prevent fraternization between males and females within her building. Some say she still stalks the halls when boys are present, keeping a watchful eye on any who might get a little too frisky with the girls (via Her Campus). 

In April of 1953, Ronald Tammen went missing from Fisher Hall. The story goes that before his disappearance, his friend Richard Titus stuffed a dead fish into his pillow in true Godfather fashion as a practical joke. Tammen ran his sheets through the wash and disposed of the fish, but when his roommate returned later that night, the young man was nowhere to be found. He was never seen again. Several theories have floated around in years since, but their credibility mostly goes belly up like a dead fish. Some say he was recruited by the CIA, while others say he suffered a spontaneous bout of amnesia and wandered off into the night. At any rate, students claimed to have seen his ghost wandering the campus after Fisher Hall was torn down in 1978 (per Miami University). 

Bloody handprints in Reid Hall

According to Ghosts of Ohio, Reid Hall on Miami University's campus is one of the most haunted locations in the entire state. While misfortune and mystery have inspired rumors of the school's other ghosts, the apparitions of Reid Hall were rooted in a murder-suicide that took place in 1959. When he happened upon a verbal dispute taking place between two students on his floor (he was one of the university's RA's), Roger Sayles stepped in and tried to diffuse the argument. One of the men reportedly pulled a gun and, after delivering a fatal shot into the unfortunate Sayles, fled the scene.

The assailant hid away in Ogden Hall and planted a bullet in his own head. News of the tragedy swept the campus, and 70 years later, students still swear they can see the bloody handprints left on the wall by Roger Sayles after he collapsed from the gunshot. Strange, sourceless noises are also known to arise near the scene of his death.