Alabama Ghost Stories: Condie Cunningham

Local News

Check out other CBS 42 “Alabama Ghost Stories” segments here.

MONTEVALLO, Ala. (WIAT) — The University of Montevallo loves their ghost stories. During the Halloween season, the university usually hosts a ghost walk.

One of their most infamous stories is about sophomore student Condie Cunningham Also known as, “the Girl on Fire.”

Back in 1908, The University of Montevallo campus was actually the Alabama Girls Industrial School.

On the night of Feb. 4, a tragic accident happened in the Main hall dormitory to 16-year-old Condie Cunningham.

“She in an effort to quickly hide their cooking, before lights turned out she accidentally set herself on fire by tipping the fuel for alcohol burner onto her nightgown and she immediately went up in flames,” said Carey Heatherly, the University of Montevallo archivist.

Cunningham ran down the hallway for help, but the girls were unable to help her in time.

Her death grabbed headlines in the news and caused the president of the school to open an investigation.

“When the accident happened with Condie, that opened the door for him to install fire escapes, to install water towers for a water suppression system. We bought a house to act as an infirmary.”

But Cunningham’s story doesn’t end there.

After her death, her wooden bedroom door all of sudden appeared to show her face, and when the door was replaced, her face appeared again.

“I actually lived on the 3rd floor where they say she may have died and when I lived on the 3rd floor, I definitely had more instances of spooky things happening so definitely a lot of door openings, weird stuff falling off walls, things getting moved,” said University of Montevallo student Madison Robinson.

It’s unsure exactly where Cunningham lived, but there’s a door in the main hall that is made of steel, the only one. That door is presumed to be Cunningham’s room. Today, no one lives there.

“The girls who lived across from me my freshman year. They say they heard a voice in their room, heard a girl speaking to them, and they’re like I don’t know what’s happening so maybe it was Condie,” said Robinson.

Legend has it, Cunningham still roams the hallways, sometimes screaming for help or causing odd things to happen.

“They hear her. They see her. They feel her presence. Occasionally students will report hearing her scream, especially if they’re alone in a hallway or something like that,” said Heatherly.

To this day, the school hasn’t been able to identify Cunningham in the group photos.

All they know is the girl on fire continues to live amongst the girls at the main hall, and students say they leave her be.


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