Students of Atterbury Job Corps recall the sights, sounds and smells of a haunted campus

By Rick Hinton

Melinda Zell continued her recollections of the Atterbury Job Corps: “Rosa Parks Dormitory was haunted by a little girl that bounced a ball. She was always heard at night. There were also sightings of a blonde woman in a long white gown. The dorm often smelled of cookies, and you would hear the sounds of shoe heels on the tile floor.

“I became terrified of Belamy Hall. Walking past it one night I glanced up into the windows and something was glaring back out; and it wasn’t the Halloween skeleton decoration hanging from the inside of the window. At that same exact moment I had a memory that was not my own. It was what the medical hospital had looked like back in its prime. There was a wounded soldier (the face in the window), along with an old-time nurse. I heard screaming in the distance and suddenly felt panic. My vision passed. I didn’t see the soldier or nurse anymore. They had been replaced by the Halloween decoration.”

Some of the students attending the Job Corps with Zell also weren’t immune to the creep factor on the campus:

Melinda Zell. (Photo by Melinda Zell)

Christopher M Stanley – “The ground fog that would roll over the dorm buildings in a manner of minutes.”

Dawn Highley – “I remember in D-Wing at Rosa Parks when I saw a girl come out of one of the doors and she wore an old-fashioned dress. Also, going to the dorms from work by Bellamy and Pat Hall, the fog was so thick, and I thought I saw someone standing in the fog. Then I looked again, and it wasn’t there. …”

Alisha Holman – “When I was in Rosa Parks, I would hear heels going up and down the halls and smell cookies baking all the time. I would be walking in front of the building on the outside … when no one was around … and see figures in the windows on the top floor.”

The Atterbury Job Corps Center’s Welcoming Station. (Photo by Rick Hinton)

Jonette Moore – “I remember the old hospital building. A bunch of us wanted to check it out, but before we went in, I saw a little girl pounding on the window from the inside.”

David Fowler – “I saw men dressed as soldiers and nurses walking past the windows in some of the buildings at night!”

Zell also added – “One girl went into Bellamy Hall to disprove the ghost stories. What she experienced was so bad she refuses to speak of it. She never went near that building again!”

One of the abandoned buildings from the former hospital complex. (Photo by Rick Hinton)

People come and go after their short walk in the sun, often leaving imprints of themselves on the land or in the buildings they frequented. Former hospital buildings that are now dormitories? Imprints of lives that were fueled by emotion, turmoil, tragedy and then remain behind? If only these buildings could speak. …

“I made friends that became like family because of the things we experienced,” Zell summed up. “It (the Job Corps) was where skeptics became believers!”