In English

From Crying Room to Area 56 – The Student Village is a home for urban legends

Article: Nelli Lapintie Translation: Ree Melanen
Photos: Esko Keski-Oja & Nelli Lapintie
  • The communal nature of the Turku Student Village fosters urban legends. Photo: Esko Keski-Oja

A girl who they say died in the Village wanders around in the graveyard. She asks for directions to somewhere. Avoid any contact with her, or she’ll follow you home. What happens after, no one can tell…

Urban legends of the Girl in the Graveyard and UFO hub Area 56 have for a long time been a part of the day-to-day of the Turku Student Village.

Emma Röntynen, first year folkloristics student at the University of Turku, collected stories from the Student Village for a practice thesis. She ended up with a good 45 tales.

Röntynen points to the unique nature of the area as a reason for urban lore.

“The Student Village was built to be a community, with shared kitchens and communal spaces. Though people see each other less now than in the ’70s, it’s still a tightly-knit community.”

OUT OF ALL the stories collected, the most popular ones have to do with the supernatural.

A well-known one is of the Crying room. There was a family living in the village whose parents were researching evil at the university. One day, a child left alone got their hands on their research material. With fatal results.

When the parents returned, they found their child in the kitchen so brutally maimed the child could not have done it themself. After the apartment was cleaned out it was never rented out again. Years later you can still hear, through the walls, the sounds of a crying child.

In addition to straightforward horror stories there are some tales that are accepted as true. For instance, they say a student committed suicide in one of the 18 square metre apartments nicknamed ”suicide studios”.

Emma Röntynen at the Student Village graveyard. Photo: Nelli Lapintie

SOCIAL MEDIA has given new life especially to tales of UFOs. Rumour has it the Student Village has its very own Roswell: Area 56, named after the American Area 51.

House number 56 has long been embroiled in strange happenings. One apartment is the source of loud, hysterical screaming, and lights flash. Unmarked vans circle the area.

Still, people wrote more about the mundane.

“There were comments about bedbugs and pheasants found in the Village”, Röntynen laughs. 

Descriptions of urban legends are from Emma Röntynen’s practice thesis.


More articles:

Artists Envision Student Village of Murals

Wall murals are becoming increasingly common in Finland’s cityscape. Might we get some to the Student Village as well?

Student overalls: 10 Essential Rules

Overalls are an essential part of the Finnish student culture, but how to wear them? Here’s the etiquette, compiled in one handy list!

International Students Can Have a Hard Time Finding Their Subject-specific Organizations

Tutors can help in making the connections between international students and organizations.

Queer Life in Turku

For a small-ish city Turku offers a nice variety of events, activities and friendly locations for LGBTQIA+ people. Check out our tips for the queer crowd.