Saturday, March 15, 2014


Professor Believes Ghost Lives in Clara Thompson Hall

By David Burton
October 1987, Drury Mirror

"I am not ashamed to tell you," began Dr. Sidney Vice, "I have felt for a long time that there is probably a ghost in Clara Thompson."

Dr. Vice, the head of the music department, has been an instructor at Drury for 22 years. Now someone has finally asked him about the ghost of Clara Thompson. "It is exciting, and I've been thinking that for 20 years," said Vice.

Dr. Vice has frequently experienced the ghostly events on weekends. During the weekend Clara Thompson Hall is completely locked up. Dr. Vice, however, has a key to the doors and occasionally will come over to the building--when there is no one there.

"I have had repeated experiences with what I believe is a ghost," said Dr. Vice. "Too many times when I have been here on the weekend, with the building completely locked, I have heard banging, rustling, and moaning sounds which can not be explained."

Dr. Vice says that he understands students feeling a little unusual in the building, as if there is another presence,

"I have little doubt, however, that it is a benevolent ghost," added Vice. "I don't believe it is threatening at all; rather, I think it is watching over our program."

As a matter of fact, Dr. Vice considers this ghost so seriously that he has developed his own theory as to the identity of the ghost. "I have often thought that it could be Dean Skinner," said Dr. Vice.

Thomas Stanley Skinner, the man credited with founding the Drury Conservatory of Music, was the Dean of Music for 3 decades at Drury, 1920-1950. "I understand that he was a tremendous musician," said Dr. Vice.

The only problem with this theory may be the fact that Mr. D. Wayne Johnson, a 1950 Drury graduate and a student of Dr. Skinner's, says that students were telling ghost stories about Clara Thompson Hall when he was a student.

"I haven't had any personal experiences," said Johnson. "I've heard a lot of stories about rattling and creaking though."

It would have been impossible for Dr. Skinner to have been the ghost during Johnson's time since he was still alive and teaching during this period.

However, Dr. Vice suggests a possible solution to this apparent dead-end. "Could it be possible that this ghost vacated Clara Thompson in order to show his respect of Skinner? Perhaps this building has had two ghosts," said Dr. Vice.

Ghost experts, in fact, do suggest that spirits will occasionally vacate a certain location in order to allow a different spirit into a location where its interest would be greater.

"I am quite certain that this is a musical ghost," added Dr. Vice. "I know it is gentle, and I feel like it watches over us."

Dr. Vice even suggested what he believes the ghost is looking for. "I believe activity, especially with music, makes it happy," said Dr. Vice. "For example, the only times I have ever heard the moaning sounds have been over breaks or weekends when the building is deserted. It was at those times I felt that maybe the ghost was lonely and unhappy."

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