(The Class Dolls from 1920-1925, including the doll described in this article; greensboro.edu)
In 1938, Greensboro College’s Alumnae Association decided to reach out to any living members of Greensboro College’s past graduating classes to request that they dress a doll in an outfit representative of the year they graduated as a part of the college’s centennial celebration.
More than 75 years have since passed, but the tradition of the class doll has continued to this day. The Doll Room, which is a part of the Brock Historical Museum in Main building, now holds more than 130 dolls.
A room full of aging dolls naturally sparks rumors and ghost stories, but one in particular has been a part of the college’s history for many years now.
The story begins with two women who graduated with the class of 1924 who volunteered to dress the class doll. On the night that the women decided to venture out to buy fabric for the doll’s outfit, they were involved in a freak automobile accident on their way back home from the store. Neither of the girls made it back alive.
Months after the two women met their untimely demise, their mothers decided to finish the doll in their honor. They set out together to gather more supplies to finish the dress for the doll, but their journey was abruptly ended by a deadly car crash that took the lives of both women.
After this accident, the 1924 class doll was stored away for some time; lost in the chaos of four unexplained deaths. It seemed that no one wanted to take the risk of finishing the job.
Eventually,however, the family of two of the women decided to be done with the doll once and for all and finally brought it to Greensboro College, where it remains to this day.
The doll arrived back to the college fully clothed and ready for display. As the family managed to clothe and transport the doll without incident, they assumed that the doll’s killing streak had finally ended. But they were wrong.
While the family and the doll all made it to Greensboro College unscathed, the family was not so lucky on their journey back home as they all met their end in yet another fiery car crash.
The doll has appeared to remain dormant since being put on display here, but appears to have left a permanent mark on the room where it resides. On a pane of glass in the window beside where the doll sits are the phrases “Mabel” and “May 20, 1924” scratched over and over again upside down and in a cursive scrawl on the outside of the window.
Could Mabel be the name of one of the women who passed away in those terrible accidents? Is it the name of the doll? Or is it just a simple coincidence? What happened on May 20, 1924?
The story of the 1924 class doll has never been proven true, but it does make you wonder: what other ghost stories circulate within the halls of our college?
By Lauren Smith.