In honor of Halloween week coming to a close, perhaps we should commemorate our school’s shadows. Throughout the years, stories have been told of one particular lingering spirit of an Amory Panther.
Anyone who has ever taken Mrs. Beddingfield has heard about the ghost story of Mr. Hayman. During the 60s and 70s, Mr. C. E. Hayman served as superintendent for the Amory School District. Originally, the central office was located inside the high school, which is now where Mrs. Huppert, Coach Cox, and Mrs. Wright’s rooms are. While researching for this article, I was able to read old newspapers that had articles in which Mr. Hayman and his family were featured. While doing this, I discovered how well-loved the Hayman family was and how involved in the community they were. Mr. Hayman loved his job and often stayed late into the night. However, in 1974, Mr. Hayman passed away due to a heart attack inside his office. Although he passed away in his office, it is folklore that you can see Mr. Hayman’s shadow standing in the corner of the Etta Dozier Beauchamp Auditorium located inside Amory High School.
Former English IV and Composition I & II teacher, Mrs. Beddingfield, claimed to have a run in with Mr. Hayman during the 1980s. This is how the story goes: after a long night of Junior-Senior Banquet practice, Mrs. Beddingfield was shutting off the lights inside the auditorium when she saw something standing in the back corner. Thinking that it was a student trying to pull a prank or waiting on a ride, she told the shadow to go outside so she could lock the doors. The shadow stood still, not moving a muscle. She repeated herself, telling the unknown figure that she was cutting off the lights and locking the door to go home. On her third attempt, she told the shadow she was locking them inside the auditorium if they didn’t go outside. Still, no movement. She finally had enough, and she finished cutting off the lights and locked the shadow inside.
The next day at lunch, Mrs. Beddingfield informed her co-worker Mrs. Holmes of the event from last night. After hearing of her encounter, Mrs. Holmes told Mrs. Beddingfield the ghost story of Mr. Hayman. Finally, the dots connected and Mrs. Beddingfield left the cafeteria that day knowing she now had her own personal encounter with Mr. Hayman.
While Mrs. Beddingfield was teaching at Amory High School, I had her for both ACT Prep and Technical Writing/ Composition I. In both of these classes, Mrs. Beddingfield would tell us the story of Mr. Hayman. From a random object falling off a shelf to an unexplained noise that was made, we started to believe her stories. One time during Composition I, something fell off a shelf in class. No one was around the shelf to trigger the item’s decent. Without hesitation, Mrs. Beddingfield told the ghost to go away and then proceeded with her ghost story.
Although Mrs. Beddingfield retired last school year, we all remember the stories of Mrs. B and think of Mr. Hayman anytime we’re in the auditorium.