Penn State University is said to be haunted by the ghost of a girl named Betsy Aardsma who was mysteriously murdered in the library in 1969. Her killer was never captured and her murder remains an unsolved mystery.
In 1969, a pretty young woman named Betsy Aardsma was attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was an intelligent, happy and good-natured girl who had a lot of friends and was well-liked by everyone who knew her. She loved to write poetry and her ambition in life was to help others.
At the time, the University of Michigan was being stalked by a serial killer who was nicknamed “The Co-Ed Killer”. He had murdered a number of girls on the campus and everyone was terrified of becoming his next victim.
Betsy’s parents were extremely worried about her. The reports in the newspapers about the serial killer’s victims had them spooked. When Betsy announced that she had decided to transfer to another college, her family was very relieved.
Betsy enrolled as an English masters student at Penn State University. She wanted to be closer to her boyfriend, David, who was studying at the Penn State College of Medicine. On weekends, she would often take the bus to visit him. Her parents were delighted because they felt she would be much safer there.
Just two months after she arrived at Penn State, Betsy went to the library to do some research. She was in a cramped, creepy, isolated section of the library with low ceilings, dim lights and narrow staircases. The other students had nicknamed it “The Stacks”.
As she was searching through the long rows of books, Betsy was suddenly attacked by someone. The unknown person savagely plunged a knife deep into her chest and it penetrated her heart. It all happened so quickly that she didn’t even have a chance to cry out. As she slumped to the floor, pulling books down on top of herself, her killer pulled out the knife and fled into the night.
Some students who were studying nearby said they heard a gasp. A few minutes later, a girl found Betsy lying on the ground in one of the aisles and called the other students over to help. At first, they thought she had just fainted. They couldn’t tell she had been stabbed because she was wearing a red dress and they couldn’t see the blood. The students tried to help her, but it was no use. Five minutes after being attacked, Betsy was dead. She was only 22 years old.
Nobody had witnessed the murder and her killer didn’t leave any clues. Detectives questioned hundreds of students, but none of them had any information to share. One witness said she saw a blond man running from the stacks who said, “Somebody better help that girl.” The man was never found.
A year later, the serial killer who had been stalking the University of Michigan was caught. His name was John Norman Collins. However, the police determined that he had never been to Penn State. The person who killed Betsy Aardsma was never brought to justice and her murder remains an unsolved mystery to this day.
In the 1970s, the campus police received a taunting postcard in the mail. It read: “You never did catch the guy who killed that c### in the library.”
In 1994, on the 25th anniversary of the murder, a library worker found a candle burning in the aisle where Betsy was killed. It was surrounded by original newspaper cuttings about the case. On the floor, in front of the candle, there was a message scrawled in red marker.
It read: “R.I.P. Betsy Aardsma, born July 11, 1947, died November 28, 1969. I’m back!”
Over the years, the crime turned into an urban legend on the campus of Penn State and many people believed that the library was haunted by Betsy’s ghost. New students are always told ghost stories about “The Girl in the Stacks”.
A lot of students claim they have sensed her presence there. Things often get moved around and one student said she felt an invisible force grab her roughly by the neck and try to choke her. Strange screams have been heard coming from the stacks and a shadowy female form with glowing red eyes was seen lurking in the aisles of the library.
One night, in 1995, a library employee was working alone in the stacks area of the deserted library. She said saw the ghost of a girl, wearing a red dress, with a look of sadness on her face. Later, when she was shown a picture of Betsy Aardsma, she almost lost her mind. It was exactly the same girl she saw in the library that night.
In 1998, a young woman was in the library looking at books in the stacks area. She claimed that something or someone had grabbed her. After she left the library, she felt as if something had followed her home. Later that night, she awoke to the feeling that she was being strangled and she could not scream out to alert her roommate. Afterwards, the woman refused to ever set foot in the library again.