School Spirit at MU
By: Teka Edwards-Deere
Photos: Marymount Website
Almost everybody has heard some story about something going bump in the night, that has made their skin crawl, or just plain scared them. Most of these stories are probably ghost stories that people have told to scare others. Now, a lot of colleges and universities have different ghost stories that are passed on from one generation of students to the next. Marymount University is no exception to this. Is it because the university is old? Are students really experiencing paranormal activities in the dormitories?
To start off, there is some history about the university that needs to be known. Marymount University started off as an all-girls high school in 1948, where classrooms were in the Lodge. Two years later in 1950, it became a Junior College with 13 students. Skip to 1960 where Marymount becomes an independent college, Marymount High School is closed, and Gerard Hall is the first modern residence hall. Marymount starts letting men in as Nursing students in 1972 before they finally become co-ed in1986. In between 1972 and 1986, graduate programs are starting to be offered, which is how Marymount becomes a University. Marymount Junior School shut down in 1988, which leads to the Marymount University that is known and loved today. So, after checking the math with a calculator, Marymount has over 70 years’ worth of students that have come and gone. Somewhere in between these 70 years, there were rumors that had started. These rumors had to do with the hauntings at Marymount.
Marymount has all kinds of things hidden, like the secret tunnel in the Main House, that students find out about randomly. One of the rumors with the tunnels is that nuns used to use them to get around the school. Another rumor was similar, except it was with slaves instead of the nuns. There are also rumors about the library. For example, a lot of students know about the graveyard on campus. There was a rumor that Marymount had removed the headstones from where they were originally so that the library could be built. This rumor has been squashed by an anonymous source, who has been associated with Marymount for a long time and wished to not be named. The anonymous source had said that there is no legal way to move a graveyard, so it would not have been possible for the headstones to be moved so that the library could be built. Even though what the anonymous source had said is true, it almost seems questionable due to the rumors.
It is understandable why there are rumors concerning the graveyard. It is a place that has deceased bodies that, unless students happen to know the story behind or have an idea of who is buried there, they do not know anything about why it is there. The anonymous source told that the graveyard on campus has graves that date all the way back until after the civil war. If students were to go to the graveyard, they would be able to see a wooden post that has papers in a clear box with a sign that says “take one”. The papers actually give some history about what the graveyard is, who is buried there, and why they are there. All this was left by the caretaker of the graveyard, Grant Doe. In 2015, a class went and cleaned up the graveyard. The students were able to find out that a lot of the graves dated back to 1841 all the way to 1959. This means that the graveyard has been there since before the university even opened. The anonymous source had shared that students from over 30 years ago would get spooked by the graveyard since they believed that there were ghosts or zombies walking around it. The source had said that it was most likely some animals running around the graveyard making the noises that the students had heard. It is understandable why students would think that something creepy was in the graveyard though. It looks creepy even when students have others with them and with lights.
The most popular ghost stories and rumors on campus take place in the dorm rooms. Rowley, Butler, and Gerard Hall are all famous for some type of haunting and paranormal activity. This would also explain why the majority of commuter students, faculty, and staff are always surprised to hear that there are ghost stories on campus since it mainly happens to residents.
Rowley is the residence hall that the majority of freshmen live in currently. Over the years, Rowley has switched between being all-girls and co-ed. As far as ghost rumors go, Rowley is where students have heard children laughing at random hours of the night. Normally children laughing isn’t that weird or creepy, but it is considerably creepy when students look and see nobody else in the halls that could explain where the laughter came from. Kembry McNeil-Thompson is a junior that has heard many different stories about Marymount being haunted. She said that she had heard stories that took place in Berg and the Ostapenko bridge, but the majority happened in Rowley. McNeil-Thompson has not only heard the stories, but some of it has happened to her personally. She says when she used to live in Rowley on the third floor, her and her roommates would hear furniture moving above them even though there was no floor above them. She said this was very concerning to her. There was also an incident in the women’s bathroom on the first floor of Rowley that she experienced fairly recently. McNeil-Thompson said that she heard the door made a strange noise and one of the toilets flushed. The reason why this is creepy is because McNeil-Thompson was in the bathroom by herself and the toilets flush automatically, meaning that there would to have been some type of motion that set motion sensor off. Out of all the buildings on campus, McNeil-Thompson said that she would consider the library to be the creepiest at night. The reason being is because it is kind of secluded from campus and she gets these weird vibes being in there alone at night. McNeil-Thompson said that she definitely considers Marymount to be haunted because there’s way too many stories and from her own personal experiences.
Maggie Cheng is a senior that has heard of Marymount being haunted in Rowley and Butler. One resident had told her that they had heard noises coming from the bathroom one night in Rowley. It is not uncommon to hear random noises in a dorm hall, but this case was different. The noises could have been made by other residents outside or possibly even noises coming from the vending machines that are in the halls, but it was none of those things. When the student had checked to see where the noise was coming from, there was nobody around that could have made it. Cheng also talks about another incident that happened, this time in Butler. She said Butler can get a little creepy at night. She said that there was one night where a couple of students were over by the vending machines that was close St. Joes around maybe 11:00 pm. When the students were done getting their snacks, they started heading back to their dorm. In order to get to their dorm, they had to pass through the offices in Butler to get to the staircase that leads to the dorms. Cheng said that one of the students thought that they had saw a figure in the door window as they were passing one of the office doors on the way back to their dorm. After they saw that, they picked up their pace to get back their dorm as quickly as possible. Cheng had also heard rumors about Ouija boards being used on campus and that the students attempted to contact people using the board. Some rumors that Cheng remembers hearing is that there was an exorcism performed somewhere on campus and there were lights flickering randomly once in Rowley. Cheng had said that she thinks Butler is the creepiest building at night because it’s old, everything is broken, there are bugs, sometimes there are random noises, and it just seems like a haunted house. Marymount is haunted because the library is built on top of a cemetery.
Judy Ortega is a junior and a desk assistant at Marymount University. Desk assistants are students who sit at the different desks located in the residence buildings and help students with different things, like if they were to lose their dorm key. Last semester Ortega worked as a desk assistant in Butler from either 9:00pm to 1:00am or from 1:00 am to 5:00am. Ortega said that the 1:00 am to 5:00am shift is a whole different world. She says that there are motion sensor lights in the lounge on the first floor of Butler that would go off at random times when she knows there was no human body in there so she does not know what kind of motion was going on in there to cause the lights to go off at random times. Ortega said that she was freaked out and wanted to call the RA on duty, but did not want to annoy them with her imagination. She said that there was a shift that she had worked one night from 9:00pm to 1:00 am that kind of verified the whole building being creepy. She had seen a little creature on the side moving around before she ran away from it. Due to all of this, she considers Butler to be the creepiest building on campus at night. Ortega would consider some of the older buildings on campus to be haunted because they are a little outdated and because of the other stories that she has heard and slightly experienced.
McNeil-Thompson, Cheng, and Ortega are just a few of the students that believe Marymount is haunted. There are so many other students on campus that may have the same opinion either because of the rumors or personal experiences that they have had. Overall, it seems that the older buildings may be the creepiest and possibly most haunted to students. There will most likely always mixed opinions on whether Marymount is haunted. One big reason that there would be mixed opinions is because not everybody believes in things like ghosts, which is understandable. Another reason is that not everybody knows that these rumors and stories even exist. Even though residents are the main ones that know about the haunting rumors and stories, not all residents are aware of them. All things considered though, it will be interesting to see which rumors or stories are being told years from now. For those who are curious about some other stories that were shared, watch the video!