It has long been rumored that there are ghosts that haunt UNCG’s campus. One of the most infamous is the Aycock ghost. The ghost reportedly creeps around Aycock Auditorium — which opened in 1927, rattling the nerves of students and faculty members alike.
Raymond Taylor, who was a theatre professor from 1921 until 1960, spoke during a previous interview (uncghistory.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-ghosts-of-university-of-north_29.html) about his personal experiences with the ghost, and the events that prompted the Aycock spirit’s eternal residence in the auditorium. According to Taylor, “at one time a sort of colonial mansion stood on the corner where Aycock [Auditorium] is. There dwelt in this mansion an old lady all alone. After a while she became extremely unhappy about her lonely state and went up in the attic and suspended herself from a rope on the rafters. Having committed suicide there, she determined to stay on as a ghost. When they tore down the building, she haunted the area for a long time until Aycock was finally built, and then she adopted that for her home. She seemed, when I knew her to delight in the upper reaches of Aycock foyer where she assumed the guise of the lights that flitted from ceiling place to ceiling place and dragging chains and clanking objects over the floor down in the lobby up to my office door.”
Taylor would often hear strange sounds that he’d try to write off as the echoes of passing cars or trains while working alone at night in the auditorium. One very hot day, though, Taylor and a janitor decided to remove some of their clothing so that they could work comfortably on the set of an upcoming play. Taylor had left his clothes in a neat pile on the second floor of the building. During the afternoon, a large thunderstorm rolled through. After the storm was over and Taylor had finished working for the day, he went upstairs to redress and found that his clothes had been thrown all over the room, and his watch chains had been arranged on the table to form a cross. After this incident, Taylor had no doubt that the Aycock ghost had visited him.
Since then, students have nicknamed the spirit Jane Aycock after the daughter of Governor Charles Brantley Aycock, the man that the building was named after, despite the fact that Aycock never had a daughter named Jane. In the ‘70s, drama majors would prank the freshman by sending them into the attic where they’d spot a human shape (which was actually only a manikin) that sent them screaming and running back downstairs.
Today, the Ghost of Jane Aycock seems to have grown tired of her super-spooky escapades, though she reportedly still makes herself known occasionally. Staff members can sometimes hear distinct sounds of a woman loudly crying, even though they are the only people in the building. Qanyu Phang is a staff member at Aycock Auditorium, and, although he believes that the ghost is “happily in rest,” he’s heard stories from others that suggest otherwise.
“From what I have heard, she is most prevalent in the audience seats, and only when one is alone in the auditorium,” Phang reported, “I do not avoid any of these places under any circumstance. It does not really come to mind during my work shifts there, even when I do work alone.”
One year, during one of the annual Aycock cook outs, a group heard footsteps and laughter that they couldn’t explain. Needless to say, they were rather alarmed and the story made its way to Phang and other attendees. Flickering lights have also become a clue that the Ghost of Jane Aycock is nearby.
“I don’t think she is doing anything too mischievous nor do I feel like she is a malevolent. I feel she is most likely happily in rest,” Phang said.
As the Carolinian has previously covered, the Aycock Auditorium will soon undergo a name change due to the racist beliefs and legal actions of Governor Charles B. Aycock.
Regarding whether or not Jane Aycock will be upset that the auditorium will no longer share her name, Phang said, “Probably not. She is sort of lazy and indifferent. If she does exist, she is not very active.”
The Ghost of Jane Aycock has been described as a woman in a white dress with long hair. Curious minds might spend some time alone in the Aycock Auditorium to catch a glimpse of her or hear her chains in the attic.