NORMAL—Illinois State University Police confirmed Monday that the ghost of former librarian Ange Milner has been arrested on trespassing charges.
For years tales of moving books, mysterious lights, and even being hushed by an ethereal figure in the now abandoned stacks of Williams Hall have fed ghostly rumors—rumors that have proved to be based entirely in truth.
“We are pleased to report that as of this morning we have taken the spirit of Angeline V. Milner into custody,” said Aaron Woodruff, chief of police at Illinois State. “Reports of Ms. Milner’s unauthorized spectral activity led my staff to conduct a month-long sting operation that led to this arrest.”
The stakeout was initiated after a student reported strange activity in Williams Hall.
“I was in Williams Hall taking a shortcut through the stacks,” said Brad Meadows, senior pantomime major. “My phone rang and I took the call. I figured, why not. This place is empty.”
But that ill-fated phone call set off a chain of events leading to the historic arrest. After only moments of talking on his phone, the specter of Milner (1857–1928) appeared before him and shushed him before disappearing.
“It was crazy,” Meadows said. “She just showed up out of nowhere, glowing blue and floating. I don’t know why she shushed me. I was using my inside voice and everything.”
It was during this encounter that the student realized something wasn’t right. At no time did Meadows see a Redbird Card—identification carried by all students, faculty, and staff—in Milner’s possession. He contacted ISU Police, which in turn consulted Human Resources. That is when the shocking truth emerged: Milner had not been considered an employee of Illinois State for years, making her occupation of Williams Hall illegal.
“When employees die they are no longer eligible to be employed by the state. That’s human resources 101,” said Tina Lufty, assistant to the vice director of employment services for the state of Illinois. “The state is an equal opportunity employer encouraging diversity, but we do require every employee to have a heartbeat.”
While most students were pleased that the hauntings would be coming to an end, there were mixed emotions.
“I don’t see why the ghost had to be removed,” said one student, who only identified herself as Strawberry. “For a while it was like I was at Hogwarts and Ange Milner was our school ghost. It gave me a little hope that I could turn out to be a wizard after all.”
Milner is being held without bail. She faces 85 counts of trespassing and is also accused of violating the Quad’s new smoke-free policy. Milner has requested that her lawyer be contacted via séance prior to her arraignment. In the meantime, Milner will be “checking out” the University Police holding cell.
Steven Barcus can be reached at srbarcu@IllinoisState.edu.