ETX Haunts: 'Chester the ghost' brings chills to SFA

Known as the oldest town in Texas, you better believe you better believe Nacogdoches has its own share of haunts.As legend goes on the campus of Stephen F. Austin, there's a ghost by the name of 'Chester' that's been lurking the campus halls for more tha

NACOGDOCHES -

  Known as the oldest town in Texas, you better believe Nacogdoches has its own share of haunts. 

As legend goes on the campus of Stephen F. Austin, there's a ghost by the name of 'Chester' that's been lurking the campus halls for more than five decades. 

 
 

"So, whenever there is some kind of anomaly, something doesn't quite go right...you can always say well I think Chester did that," SFA Graduate School Dean Richard Berry said. 

 
 

'Chester' is a mischievous 'scape-ghost' of sorts, that's rumored to have roamed the halls at SFA for half a century.  

 
 

"Chester was first noticed here in this room actually about 50 years ago in 1967, during theatrical productions on this stage with our theatre department," Berry said. 

 
 

Berry said strange things first started happening in the Griffith Fine Arts building during the 1967 production of Tiny Alice.  

 
 

It was captured in this photo, taken by retired theatre faculty member Tomy Matthys. A few months later, during a production of Macbeth, another unexplained occurrence.  

 
 

"Some of the professors noticed more people on stage in costume than we even had costumes for...than were certainly cast in the play. On further investigation backstage, that extra person didn't exist." 

 
 

What was first mistaken as a joke, quickly spooked the entire cast and crew. But the real mystery remains, who is 'Chester the ghost?' Why is he roaming the halls of SFA? 

 
 

"There have been a number of stories that this was the ghost of a worker who was killed here during the construction or perhaps the child of an architect who died during the construction process." 

 
 

Some paranormal investigations have been done on campus. The most recent was in 2001 by Dagulf's Ghost, based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

 
 

A statement from their investigative report said, "We uncovered one confirmed death, and this was the building foreman, who after working long hours, passed of a heart attack inside of the structure." 

 
 

The report also said that the strange activity may have multiple sources, pointing out that the land the theatre was built on was also in close proximity to an Indian burial ground.  

 
 

"But, even to today, we have stories of if something goes wrong in terms of production if something is missing or if a light cue doesn't quite go right. Chester often gets the blame for that particular occurrence." 

 
 

Whether that's unexplained scenery moving on stage, a draft of cool air, or doors that seem to open and close on their own. 

 
 

It's not hard to believe either. 

 
 

After more than 10 years working at SFA, Berry said he's experienced a number of unusual occurrences, sparking conversation among students. 

 
 

"Occasionally someone would come in and ask me. Now I've heard so. So, talking about a ghost, do you know anything about that? So, I would have to just shrug and say oh, well this is what I've heard and let it go at that." 

 
 

A 50-year-old legend turned superstition, still a part of SFA productions today. 

 
 

"You know the bottom line is, it's an interesting legend. It keeps people interested in this theatre. We go about our work. We hope 'Chester' doesn't play too many tricks on us." 

 
 

For more information about Stephen F. Austin's school of theatre productions, visit their website

 

© 2017 KYTX-TV


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