Old Main is the oldest building on the University of Findlay’s campus. According to the University of Findlay building history timeline, the construction of the building started in the late 1800s. The building was not completed when classes started in 1886, so classes were held on the third floor while the first and second were worked on below.
From the same timeline, in 1912, in what is now the Ritz Auditorium, was a chapel ran by the College Church of God. More than 20 years later, a fire of undetermined cause broke out in the basement of Old Main, according to the building timeline, with flames reaching up to the third floor. A cafeteria was built in the basement of Old Main after the fire. In the 50’s, the library inside Old Main was expanded, and soon after that, the Cave was built to become a hangout for students and faculty alike.
Since the campus expansions decades ago, Old Main does not house the Cave or have a cafeteria and library anymore, but it is still used for classes and houses many faculty offices and services for students. In the basement lies Postal Services, Academic Support Center, and Printing Services. The Ritz Auditorium is used for presentations and sorority events.
Despite the long and detailed history of Old Main, some parts are left unknown. Such as the part where some former students say that it is haunted.
Brandon Emsweller, a 2017 University of Findlay graduate, claims Old Main is haunted without a doubt.
Emsweller hosted two paranormal investigations at Old Main in 2016, the first being in October and the second near Christmas break. Both times, he said, he experienced paranormal activity.
One unexplainable image he remembers was on the second floor of Old Main, where in a phone call, Emsweller says he took a photo of a figure—that of a child—in the Ritz Auditorium.
“I was looking at my computer screen and I thought I had a smudge on my computer screen so I was trying to scrub it off,” he said. “But then… it’s not something I can scrape off… I zoomed in on it… and it looked like a child.”
Emsweller doesn’t know why a child would be there, but one theory he mentioned was the Ritz Auditorium being a church may have something to do with it.
“It was sitting in one of the theater seats. You could clear as day see eyes, nose, mouth, hair, and some type of clothing,” he said.
Lauren Sandhu, Adjunct Biology Instructor at the University of Findlay and Brandon’s sister, was with him both nights. She says that she approached the investigations with a skeptical mindset, but, what she experienced she couldn’t explain.
“[During the first investigation] We were setting things up and Brandon [Emsweller] was showing us how to use the cameras and everything… the first real thing that happened, we heard someone walk from one end of the third floor in Old Main to the other,” Sandhu said over the phone. “Clear as day.”
The group thought the security guards were still in the building, but after calling, they learned the guards had left 15 minutes prior.
Emsweller says that they’ll never really know what happened in Old Main but thinks about going back eventually to figure out what happened.
“It’s unexplainable. I still think about it, a lot,” he said. “Those experiences are something that can sit with you for a very long time. Some people believe that afterlife or spiritual present is nonexistent, but from the research I did and did document, can say otherwise.”
Old Main is locked up every day at midnight, its secrets kept away from students and staff when the clock strikes 12. Just remember… If there’s something strange on the campus grounds… Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! Or maybe campus security.