Legend Of The Lady In Black

Katie Smith

Imagine this: you are in your tiny bed on the eighth floor of Smith Hall (which means men, you’ll also have to imagine you are a woman). It’s the night before homecoming, so you can hear the faint sound of Phi Lamb’s drumbeat. You can still smell the bonfire on your clothes, which is a nice break from the musty stench that typically comes out of your air unit. You are just starting to doze off, when you get a strange feeling that wakes you up. It’s one of those eerie ones, like someone is watching you, but your roommate has gone home for the weekend.

You look up to see a shadow, hovering just beside your door. At first you are scared, but then you realize it doesn’t seem menacing. It’s rather small and slender. And it looks almost sad. It slips quietly through your door, back out into the hallway. So naturally, you follow it. You stand there in awe as you watch it go in and out of each room, like its looking for something. And then you realize…it is.

Every year at Henderson, during homecoming week, the Lady in Black haunts the hallways of Smith. Legend has it that she is the ghost of a Henderson student named Jane. Back when the schools were in their early years, Henderson was Methodist, and Ouachita was Baptist. She began to date a boy at Ouachita. But a freshman girl came and stole his heart, so he broke up with Jane.

“The heartbroken, jilted lover dressed herself in the black of mourning and jumped to her death on the bluff overlooking the Ouachita River the night before homecoming,” Mary Jo Mann explained in the Pine Tree Speech in 2014.

Now, every year during homecoming week, she searches the hallways of the girls’ dorm to find the one that took her love away.

Teena Johnson, a Henderson alumna, said she knew she was in her presence a couple times. When she was in school, Smith had suites, and she said it made it easy for them to clear out on the weekends. On a fall evening, with no one else on the hall, Johnson said she began to hear noises.

“I definitely heard doors slamming when no one else was on the floor,” Johnson said. “…never saw anyone walking in the hall and never heard the elevator open. She was definitely hanging out up there.”

Many claim to have seen her, but some don’t dare to even get a chance. Joanne Michael, senior psychology major, said it had an impact on her decision to not live in Smith.

“It’s just creepy,” Michael said. “I didn’t want some crazy woman coming into my room and mistaking me for someone who stole her boyfriend.”

Mann explains to the freshman every year that they have nothing to fear if they weren’t the ones who stole Jane’s love, but most girls still get scared on cold, fall nights when they’re all alone in their rooms. What do you believe?