The Ghosts of the US Military Academy at West Point

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Don't interrupt this guy while he's on the toilet. (U.S. Army)

West Point is the oldest continuously active Army post in the United States, but before it officially became the U.S. Military Academy in 1802, it was a real fortification. Its original purpose was to defend the Hudson River during the Revolutionary War, though no battles were ever fought there.

A structure with so much history is going to have its share of stories. Alongside the tales of its distinguished history and famous graduates, the academy is also filled with stories of some of its inhabitants. Some of them have stuck around for decades and, if movies and television have taught us anything, will be around a lot longer -- like, for eternity.

1. The "Pusher" in Room 4714

In October 1972, Cadet Jim O'Connor and his roommate, "Cadet Victor," were lying in bed when the temperature in the room began to plummet. O'Connor looked at the room's radiator and noticed a silhouette of a man's torso, floating five feet above the radiator. Victor confirmed that he could see it, too.

A few nights before seeing this apparition, both cadets had an encounter with the spirit in the room's latrine. O'Connor was trying to take a shower, when his robe began to swing on its hook. The water turned cold suddenly, and the robe stopped. When he went to adjust the water temperature, the robe began to swing like a pendulum. The water then turned hot.

Victor had a closer encounter. Later that week, he used the toilet in the middle of the night. As he turned to leave, he saw a man sitting on the toilet seat. The 5-foot-6 figure was clad in a cadet's gray dress uniform and was holding a musket with a Civil War-era bayonet. The man's eyes blazed a bright, pure white. It stood up and faded away as Victor ran from the room.

Now Imagine it sitting on your chest. (U.S. Army)

Later, their platoon leader slept in the room to see whether the ghost would appear. It did, so he called in Assistant Brigade Adjutant John Feeley. When Feeley slept in the room, he got an entirely different experience. At around 2:30 a.m., the temperature dropped again. Feeley tried to get up, but the apparition, wearing a coat with a high collar, was on his chest, staring into his eyes. The ghost again had pure white, glowing eyes.

When Feeley couldn't get up, he tried to scream, but the sound was cut off in his throat. O'Connor did hear the sound, however, and when he moved toward Feeley, the ghost fled into the wall. They were then assigned an upperclassman to watch over them in the night, but a series of upperclassmen also reported the feeling of the ghost on their chests, holding them down and rendering them immobile.

"Alright, who wants plebe hazing duty for all eternity?" (U.S. Army)

That's how perhaps the most (in)famous of all West Point ghosts, "the pusher" or "the crusher" of Room 4714 got its nickname. When famed psychic and spiritualist Jeane Dixon was called in to exorcise the room, the ghost reportedly picked her up and tossed her into a wall. She never returned, and the cadets were moved to another room. Room 4714 is still not used as sleeping quarters to this day.

2. The Superintendent's Haunted House

The superintendent of West Point lives in a house known as Quarters 100. Built in 1820, it's the oldest surviving original building on the campus. It's been upgraded and renovated since then, but it's home to more than just the superintendent. Rumors say it's a veritable hotel for ghosts, with at least two permanent guests, "Molly" and "Greer."

Sometime during his 1970-1974 tenure, superintendent Lt. Gen. William A. Knowlton apparently got fed up with the spectral visitors, because he called in some psychic experts to figure out just what was going on with his new quarters. Clairvoyants Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated.

It's all fun and games until the house implodes itself. (U.S. Army)

The Warrens found spirits and paranormal energy in every room of the house. Based on her descriptions, Knowlton ordered a thorough research project of the school's history and archives. The results found that one of the spirits matched the description of Sylvanus Thayer's cook, Molly.

Thayer was the fifth superintendent of the academy, the "Father of West Point," who held the position between 1817 and 1833. Molly is a playful ghost who knocks over wine bottles and rumples the bed linens.

"She is not old, very domineering, athletically inclined, and really not quite a lady. I get a feeling of no man; if she had a husband, he was dominated while at home," Lorraine Warren described Molly to the Army.

Greer, on the other hand, is a ghost that carries guilt and sadness from committing a murder. Warren's description best fits that of Lawrence Greer, a Buffalo Soldier who turned out to be a criminal. Greer was serving time at Fort Leavenworth in 1931 when he escaped from jail and made his way to Albany, New York, where he was recaptured in 1932.

The ghost of "Greer" is known to move objects around the house, even through closed doors.

3. The Lady of Quarters 107B

If you could find "haunted house" in a dictionary, this is what it would look like. (U.S. Army)

Quarters 107B overlooks the Hudson River on Professors Row. It was there sometime in the 1920s that a professor's wife took ill. The professor called in her mother to help care for his ailing wife, but she soon got the suspicion that there was something going on between her husband and mother.

The wife's dying wish was for her husband not to remarry her mother after she died. He promised, but upon her death, promptly broke that promise. They wed and lived in the same house the professor and his dead wife shared.

The studio audience would have a field day. (NBCUniversal Television/U.S. Army)

His dead wife's grief was so intense, she's forced to live out an eternal "Maury Show" episode in Quarters 107B, throwing objects and turning things upside down. The noises The Lady could create were so much that the room was sealed off in the 1950s.

A few decades later, the room was reopened and the ghost was about to get her nickname. Its new inhabitants had an 8-year-old daughter who would talk to the ghost in the dead of night. When her parents came in to see who she was talking to, there was no one visible. When asked who it was, the daughter simply referred to the ghost as "The Lady."

-- Blake Stilwell can be reached at blake.stilwell@military.com. He can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on Facebook.

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