Deep in the heart of the University of Florida’s campus rests one of its oldest buildings. Built as a mule barn, converted into a print shop and then transformed into offices, this UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences building has seen ages of people come and go over its 100 years.
But what if one of those people never really left?
UF has its share of ghost stories, from “Old Steve” in Thomas Hall to the Norman Hall ghost. According to UF/IFAS lore, the current office building adds one more tall tale to the mythos.
When the building was a print shop, employees who worked in the early morning and evenings repeatedly saw a dark-haired, white woman dressed in a floor-length, blue, Victorian gown walking the halls. The stories of who she was and how she died have faded from memory.
While most first-hand accounts have been lost to time, one former UF/IFAS employee, Wesley Croom, recounted his experience seeing “The Lady in Blue” in the 1990s.
Croom, who worked at the UF/IFAS print shop for 35 years, said he was working at his computer at around 4 a.m. The building was dark except for the light directly overhead, his desk lamp and the warm glow of the computer monitor.
“And so there’s no light turned on outside of the area that I’m working on,” he said. “I’m expecting another employee through the door any second.”
“All of a sudden, I see her walk past me. From right to left is a small, short hall that we have,” he said, “and I notice it’s a lady and she’s wearing a long blue dress.”
Expecting it to be his coworker, Croom walked to the hallway, but it was an empty, dark dead end. “There’s no doors, nothing past this as far as getting outside of that area,” he said.
He said he started looking for an intruder, looking behind stacked boxes, but didn’t see anybody.
“I went and started looking behind boxes and looking for an intruder. Went over and set down my phone call to security … to let them know somebody had been in the building,” he said. “Then the next thing I know was the person I’m waiting for comes walking in. She’s not wearing a blue dress.”
His coworker helped him search the building until he told her the full story – then she stopped him. “She had seen her before, too,” Croom said. “And the fact there had been two other sightings after that point, I do know that there was another person that had seen her at the [a next-door office] building.”
For Croom, he said he doesn’t necessarily believe in ghosts, but he said sometimes there are things that you just can’t explain. “She was solid. I could see her just like I can see you.”
“This is a very old building,” he said. “Fact is the very first building built in this area on the University of Florida campus. And I know this got a long history. … How old does it have to be for there to be something that none of us know about?”
Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert
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