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Spirits of Kerr Tower

Spirits are people, not ghosts.

The Kerr Tower room is the hidden third floor of Founders Hall at Humboldt State University. According to a Feb. 4, 1971 news release, the Kerr family is from Maple Creek in Humboldt County. They donated $8,000 to HSU for the completion of the tower and the installation of a meditation and prayer room.

An HSU press release from Oct. 19, 1971 said that the Kerr Tower room in Founders Hall was completed as a spiritual sanctuary, a place of prayer and small gathering place.

Hal Greer is an oceanography professor at HSU and graduated from HSU in the early seventies. Greer remembers going up there to meditate and feeling the warmth and solitude taking away the pressures of graduate school.

“Twenty minutes of self-time in the comfort of a nice and quiet place replenished the energy required to keep up on my course load,” Greer said. “Kerr Tower was a spiritually comforting, neutralizing place.”

Jimmy Allen is another student from the seventies who utilized the tower.

“I didn’t meditate there,” Allen said. “Sometimes I would lay down and often times a female would come and snuggle.”

When Allen attended HSU, all of Founders Hall was left open. He and a friend took up residence in the open classrooms, which is where they lived during the spring semester of 1977.

Describing the social climate on campus at the time, Allen remembers walking into a Neo-Nazi meeting in the Green and Gold room in Founders Hall. At the time, the Green and Gold room was a study hall and a meeting room. No one seemed to mind Allen, who is black. He sat down and remained there studying throughout the entire meeting while no one bothered him.

Another person around campus who made use of the Kerr Tower room as a meditation place is Jesse Austin.

“Whenever I seemed to go there, no one else ever came up,” Austin said.

Austin’s wife Rita got him started in yoga and meditation in the tower room and sometimes they would bring candles up there.

Austin remembers having a psychic ability as a child and upon entering college at the age of 15, his psychic ability disappeared. Upon the birth of his first child, a daughter, his psychic ability returned.

Austin’s psychic power experiences in the Kerr Tower developed to become supernatural. He gives himself the title of Psychic Medium.

One time, the Austin’s brought back all of the past presidents of HSU into Kerr Tower.

The most memorable contacts with spirits were female professors from the original Humboldt Normal School, but one woman stood out. She lost her son over the cliff on Scenic Drive in Trinidad before there was a Highway 101.

“This one spirit was upset, but positive and extremely helpful,” said Austin. “The spirit was oriented towards teachers and was not interested in students.”

Austin emphasized the spirits were people, not ghosts, and she wanted HSU to reopen the tower room.

“I would like to see Kerr Tower reopened someday,” Austin said.

There is now a meditation room in the basement of the library. It is only open during lower floor business hours.

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