School yearbook photograph of Betsy Aardsma
Betsy Ruth Aardsma|
July 11, 1947
November 28, 1969 (aged 22)|
University Park, Centre County, Pennsylvania
|Cause of death||Stabbing|
|Resting place||Pilgrim Home Cemetery, Holland, Michigan|
|Home town||Holland, Michigan|
Betsy Ruth Aardsma (July 11, 1947 – November 28, 1969) was a 22-year-old graduate English major from Holland, Michigan who was stabbed to death in the Pattee Library at the Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA in 1969.
While at the library, at some point between 4:45 PM and 4:55 PM, Betsy was stabbed a single time through the heart with a single-edged knife, approximately 3.25 inches long. She fell, and a minute or so later, one or two men exited the core stacks and told a desk clerk that "Somebody better help that girl." A call was placed to the Ritenour Health Center at 5:01 PM, and by 5:19 PM she was at the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was wearing a red dress and the wound produced only a small amount of visible blood. Until she was examined at the medical center, no one had realized she'd been stabbed, and first responders thought perhaps she had a seizure or medical ailment. The identity of the man/men who spoke to the desk clerk has never been determined.
In 1990, an author who had researched the case in the 1980s named Pamela West wrote a book called "20/20 Vision," which was a science-fiction story based on the details of the case. West stated that she had originally intended to write a true crime story, but was concerned with libel issues related to the fact that so many people involved were still alive at the time.
The television show Paranormal State featured a small segment on Betsy's murder in their first season. Penn State Paranormal Research Society head Ryan Buell wanted to conduct a paranormal investigation in the library's stacks, but college officials would not allow it, claiming that they were hesitant to bring more publicity/attention to the allegation.
In October 2010, news stories have brought more information to light, based on new research performed by Sascha Skucek and Derek Sherwood.  Other articles include "Case Closed". http://www.statecollegemagazine.com. in the October, 2010 State College Magazine, and "Who Killed Betsy Aardsma" in The Penn Stater's September/October 2009 issue.  Updated information about the case is available at "Who Killed Betsy?". http://www.whokilledbetsy.org., a website that also offers a reward for information leading to the closure of the case.
- "Betsy Ruth Aardsma". Findagrave.com. Find A Grave, Inc.. 2007-05-10. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=19328800. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
- ISBN 0345367367
- "Decades later, Penn State library slaying unsolved". Chicago Tribune. 2008-08-02. Archived from the original on 2011-05-22. http://web.archive.org/web/20110522115740/http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-pa-psu-libraryslayin,0,1703066.story. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
- "They Are Old Men Now". Harrisburg Patriot-News. 2008-12-07. http://www.pennlive.com/specialprojects/index.ssf/2008/12/they_are_old_men_now.html. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
- Shontz, Lori (26 October 2009). "Anniversary of Betsy Aardsma's death drawing notice". The Penn Stater. http://pennstatermag.com/2009/10/26/anniversary-of-betsy-aardsmas-death-drawing-notice/. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- "Mystery of the girl in the stacks continues to intrigue public", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 25, 2009.