Linfield closed Pioneer housing this year, but new investigation suggests that someone may still live there


Camille Botello

Sydney Joss communicating with the spirits in Pioneer Hall

One step up. Now two, three, four. The floor squeaks and the temperature falls. Your breathing shortens as the hollow air and vacant rooms send a tiny electrical surge down your spine. 

Most people who have been in Linfield’s oldest building know its aura can be unnerving.

Pioneer Hall used to be the sole building on campus back in the mid 1800s when it was first constructed. During the ensuing 150 years, it has been an iconic symbol of the college. 

Sydney Joss, a Linfield senior and founding member of the Instagram video series “World of Wildcats,” decided to venture into Pioneer last week with roommate Emily Marcum. They came equipped with a video camera and an electromagnetic field detector to search for any signs of paranormal activity. 

Joss even said the producers of the popular cable television series “Ghost Hunters” have expressed interest in the historic building. 

“They’ve been in contact with Linfield about potentially filming an episode here, but they wanted some evidence first,” she said. “And so Linfield really wants us to show any evidence that we got because it will be great advertisement for the college.”

Tim Stewart and Erik Connell from Linfield’s Cleaning Services team agreed to open the building just after 8 p.m. so Joss and Marcum could try communicating with spirits they’d been hearing about over the years. 

Connell said he hadn’t encountered any himself, but that he has heard tales of others having out-of-the ordinary experiences. 

“It’s an old building and you hear things,” he said. “There are some sounds or feelings that people wouldn’t normally have.”

Stewart, who heads Cleaning Services and counts 34 years of college tenure, said that he has heard of the ghost of a dead cow roaming about the top few floors of Pioneer.

“Apparently,” he said, “a cow was taken up and they couldn’t get it down so they had to kill it.” 

Joss and Marcum started on the third floor, scanning the walls for electromagnetic activity. They weren’t getting many signs so they decided to trek up to the fourth floor. In room 407 they finally got a response. 

Asking yes or no questions, the duo decided a sharp EMF increase correlated to “yes” and a drop indicated “no.”

Joss said she felt chills travel through her body and Marcum said she could sense some sort of a presence when she entered the room.    

They believe they were communicating with the spirit of a former house mother who has been living in Pioneer since the deed was signed on Halloween day in 1892. 

In the last few minutes of the pursuit, Joss and Marcum descended to the third floor, where in room 302 they allegedly spoke with her again. 

She told them that she gets lonely in Pioneer by herself, but that she doesn’t want students to visit very often because of the dark forces the building harbors. 

“Are you here to protect us?” Joss asked. The EMF level surged. 

A video report of the ghost hunt will be available on the World of Wildcats Instagram in the next week.