The Spectral Seat at the Old Yale Law School Library
Before the Sterling Building was constructed in 1931 to house the Yale Law School and its library, law students in the library recounted a rumor, a legend, that a particular seat was “lucky.” Whoever sat there would simply have the good luck to find the book he was searching for. Even more, a student would intellectual faculties heightened that he would think so much better, research so much, and writes so much better. There were students who claimed that if sat there when they studied for an examination they would so much better than if they had prepared elsewhere.
The rumor had it that an especially brilliant student named Samuel Smith had sat in that particularly seat. He had interrupted his legal studies to volunteer for the Army Air Corps during World War I in 1917. He had the misfortune to die in a training accident and never made it to the Western Front to see action. Perhaps his spirit was in some way is trying to complete his studies by helping others finish theirs.
In 1931, the law library was closed and the books moved to the new Sterling Building. library blessed with air conditioning, vending machines, Unfortunately, in the moving process, no provision was made for the spirit of Samuel Smith who was left behind and has ceased his unique form of haunting.