Rushing ghosts: The haunts at Pike House

Breanna Francis, Reporter

Breanna Francis
The exterior of the Pike fraternity house. For decades, the house has reportedly been the site of supernatural occurrences.

Huntington is awash with Halloween traditions as the spooky holiday draws closer, but for Marshall University’s oldest fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, or Pike, everyday is filled with ghastly ghouls in their haunted fraternity home.

Seated on 5th Avenue, mere blocks from campus, the Pike house is Huntington’s own haunted house all year round. The house is home to the members of the fraternity from whom it got its name, but it has not always been the fraternity house famously featuring a fire engine on its front lawn.

Before Marshall University’s Pike chapter took up residence, this home used to be just that: a home. Its frights and horrors have even inspired some to write of its supernatural residents.

In the fiction novel, “The Blacker House,” the author, Nicole Mulloy, loosely bases her story on her time living in that very home when she was a young girl. Throughout her story, she talks of the bumps and whispers she would hear throughout the structure, but one potentially supernatural event she describes that takes place, as she details the sounds of a lively party in the very top rooms of the house, may be echoing the supposed history of the residence.

“According to a few rumors about the history of the house, it used to be a speakeasy during the Prohibition era,” Anthony Spano, previous president of Pike and Marshall alum, said. “Which is crazy considering the sounds of parties and lots of people walking around that can be heard from the attic rooms and lofts throughout the night. People have supposedly died up there in all of the drunken mess, which would account for the voices and apparitions seen too.”

The house is supposedly home to a few different ghostly apparitions, from the noises of parties and people talking, to full blown shadowy figures walking around and knocking on bedroom doors, bringing Pike members out of bed to find that there was no visible person on the other side.

“As the president at the time, I felt the need to stay behind over holidays and breaks to watch the house,” Spano said. “And, when everyone was gone, and I was truly alone, or maybe not, I would hear footsteps through the halls. My bedroom door would be knocked on, only to find that literally no one else was home, and laughing could be heard all over the house. You never felt truly alone there, and that was a pretty scary part of living in the house.”

Though Spano’s time in the Pike house has passed, the residents still hear their supposed undead roommates running amuck, making their presence known.

Ben Vanston, the sergeant-at-arms, alumni relations chairman and campus community involvement chairman of Pike and a senior economics student, said his time at the house has been one full of paranormal phenomena, despite him never having believed in the supernatural prior to living in the Pike fraternity house.

“Personally, I’ve never really believed in paranormal things,” Vanston said. “I find some of the things about ghosts, or ghost stories, interesting, but never really had a complete belief. I’m still not completely sold on these types of things. I’ve seen my share of creepy things, but I don’t know if I’d call it belief just yet.”

Vanston said, despite his teetering on the edge of believing in the ghosts of his home, that plenty of other people who have been inside the house fully believe in the scary things that they have experienced while there.

“People have experienced everything from hearing people walk up and down the stairs to full on seeing figures walking around,” Vanston said. “Apparently, there’s a ghost in dress clothes that will walk around the first floor at night. People also say that there’s a little girl who wanders around in the basement. I’ve heard knocks on my door late at night but nobody will be there when I answer.”

Despite his assurance that he doesn’t believe in the supernatural, Vanston said his experiences there cannot all be explained away.

“I’ve actually experienced something personally that I’d rather not even talk about,” Vanston said. “I’ll say that it’s the scariest thing I’ve seen in my life. It’s 100 percent true and happened New Year’s Eve of my freshman year. I can’t explain what happened at all but choose not to believe that it was paranormal because it’s just better that way.”

Though the men who live in the house at 1411 5th Ave. and those who have visited the house may say they are surely not alone when they are inside, there is no hard evidence as to whether or not the house’s history has caused the property to harbor any supernatural energies, but this Halloween season, many are curious to find out for themselves just what might be lurking in the halls of Pike.

Breanna Francis can be contacted at [email protected].