Auburn University Chapel

Auburn University Chapel in Auburn, Alabama

Auburn, Alabama

BUILT: 1851
OPERATION TIME: 1921 to present


The Auburn University Chapel is the oldest public building in the city of Auburn, Alabama, having been constructed in 1851 by a Presbyterian congregation. During the Civil War, it was utilized by the Confederate army as a hospital to care for wounded soldiers. In 1864, a British volunteer by the name of Sydney Grimlett was struck in the leg by pieces of cannon shrapnel. By the time he received care for his injured limb, it had already turned gangrenous. Grimlett died from the infection and was buried in a graveyard near the chapel.

Following the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College burning down in 1887, the chapel was temporarily divided into classrooms. The building was renovated sometime around the turn of the century. Eventually, in 1921, it was sold to the college. For a few years, it served as the YMCA/YWCA center. The college’s acting troupe – called the Auburn Players Theater – resided in the chapel from 1927 to 1973: it was during the 1960s that the paranormal activity began to occur. It is speculated that the emotional energy from the actors invited Sydney Grimlett’s ghost to begin haunting the Auburn University Chapel’s resident acting group. When the troupe relocated to another portion of the campus, Grimlett followed them (his spirit now reportedly haunts Telfair Peet Theatre). Witnesses describe him as being a rather restless spirit. His identity was discovered through the use of a Ouija board. Sydney Grimlett’s ghost has been known to move props, whistle in the attack, produce floating lights, and tap a singular foot nervously. Students often leave Skittles candies for Sydney before performing in shows.


  1. Alabama Ghost Hunters. “University Chapel,”
  2. Forgotten USA. “University Chapel,”
  3. Hauck, Dennis William. Haunted Places: The National Directory
  4. Wikipedia. “Auburn University Chapel,”



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