A local university has garnered a lofty spot in a national poll.

No, not in this weeks NCAA football rankings.

No, not in a U.S. News & World Report list of the top 10 universities.

Still, 21st in the nation is this category is nothing to sneeze at particularly on the eve of Halloween.

Let it be known that the University of Akron is a major player among The 50 Most Haunted Campuses and Colleges.

According to a website called the Online Schools Center (an impeccable source if ever there was one), the credit goes to two particular buildings:

Constructed in 1871 at the request of industrialist John Hower and his spouse, Susan, Hower House is so spooky that some students apparently refuse to cross its threshold.

According to the legend, Susan Hower became furious after discovering that her husband had been unfaithful, and she held onto this anger for the rest of her life. Since her death in 1896, a number of people have reported seeing Susans enraged spirit, which seemingly targets any male who dares to step inside the National Historic Landmark.

The schools Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house, meanwhile, is said to be occupied by the spirit of a girl who hanged herself inside. Some claim to have had brushes with the young womans phantom, while others have described observing strange lights.

Another Ohio university grabbed the No. 1 spot: Ohio U, thanks to Wilson Halls infamous, now-sealed Room 428, where during the 1970s a female plummeted to her death from a window while practicing astral projection, and The Ridges, a development on the site of a former psychiatric hospital.

Two other Ohio colleges landed in the Top 25: Kenyon at No. 8 and Miami at 24.

Who knew the Buckeye State was such a frightening place?

Books galore

Do you like to read?

Do you have a couple of spare hours Saturday?

Do you like gladiator movies?

Oops. Disregard that last one. (I accidentally channeled one of my favorite movies, Airplane.)

The biggest book fair in the state will take place Saturday in Wooster, where nearly 100 authors will gather at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center to peddle their wares.

Now, I would never dream of trying to get in a free plug for my collection of columns, Blimp Pilot Terrorizes Akron, or my previous book, The Top 20 Moments in Cleveland Sports.

And I certainly wouldnt advocate anyone getting a jump on his or her holiday shopping by nailing down a relatively inexpensive gift or two.

But I do think its worth mentioning that many top authors will be there, including University of Akron assistant professor David Giffels, whose latest work, a collection of essays about Akron called The Hard Way on Purpose, contains some of the finest writing youll find anywhere.

If youre a baseball fan, youll want to stop at the table where Ken Griffey Sr. will be signing his autobiography, Big Red.

Other names include Dav Pilkey (the Captain Underpants guy), Ohio astronaut Don Thomas and heart-healthy-cooking experts Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn.

The show runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. All books will be sold at discounted prices, and no sales tax is charged. For more information, check out www.buckeyebookfair.com.

Radio static

Dear WKRK, aka 92.3 The Fan:

If you dont quit playing that incredibly annoying music in the background, youre going to lose a listener. That endless, mindless, artificial drone is the radio equivalent of waterboarding. You need to have more faith in your on-air personalities.

Dueling answers

This from Jennifer A. Bishop of Bath, who noticed awhile back that the topic of food labeling was addressed in two different sections of the same newspaper in two very different ways.

Bob: In the Spry Living insert: The use by date, determined by manufacturers, is the last date for a products peak quality. After this date, taste, texture and quality may go downhill, but it doesnt mean a food is unsafe to eat.

Above all else, let common sense and your senses be your guide.

In the Food section: The National Safety Foundation explains that expiration or use by dates refer to food safety, and that food should be thrown away once this date has passed.

The NSF said ... a majority [of people] rely on the decidedly unscientific and incorrect approach of using their senses to decide when to throw out food.?

Huh????!!!

Jennifer: Im glad we were able to provide a definitive answer to that vexing question.

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or bdyer@thebeaconjournal.com. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31. Anyone who asks can be his friend. Yes, hes that needy.