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Ghost Stories on Halloween

October 31, 2011

I went to Saint Mary’s College for undergrad and lived on campus all four years, aside from my semester abroad.  LeMans Hall, where I lived freshman and junior year, is renown for its hauntings. (Of the four residence halls, this one has the most suspicious activity, though they all claim to be haunted.)

In light of Halloween, I thought I’d share some stories of my own, and some stories from the school newspaper. If you’d like to read more, there was a book written about the hauntings of SMC: Quiet Hours by alumnae Shelly Houser, Veronica Kessenich, and Kristin Matha.

On the second floor of LeMans, underneath the chapel is a skinny hallway of tiny rooms reserved for first year students, called Queen’s Court. I lived there for half of my first semester. (Roommate issues lead me to an equally creepy dorm room to myself around the corner.) Queen’s Court is notoriously haunted by a poltergeist named Mary, the name of the student who committed suicide in the room at the far end of the hall.  According to legend, Mary would steal small items and hide them in odd places.  She would also rearrange things in your room. For instance, years before I lived in Queen’s Court, a student had stayed on campus during fall break to work on a project. She had spread her materials around the floor in her room and got up to use the restroom. When she returned, all of her materials had been rearranged into a circle around her poster board.
I had one run-in with Mary. Early in the semester, my hairdryer went missing. For weeks, I looked for it. My roommate and I were still on good terms at this point, but she said hadn’t seen it either. Another student whose facewash went missing had told me that if you just ask Mary for the item back, it will be returned.  So I asked.  The next day, I found my hairdryer in a box full of craft supplies in the back of my closet.

Other stories I heard as a student:

Two sisters in my choir lived on the fourth floor of LeMans Hall and would regularly see a man in overalls in the bathroom at night.

The nighttime front desk worker in LeMans would hear children crying and saw a child’s handprints on a glass door on patrol one night.

A friend who would often go to the third floor chapel to pray and meditate would sense a calming presence she attributed to the nun said to haunt the chapel.

RAs, who return to campus earlier in August, have reported unplugged phones ringing and locked doors swinging open.

We lived across from the chapel junior year and I would regularly study in the tower common room below the bell tower (where it’s rumored a person was found hanging), both of which were said to be extremely haunted. I avoided the stairwell to the chapel and the tower room at night or when things didn’t feel right.

Snippets from The Observer (Notre Dame & Saint Mary’s student newspaper):

From “The ghosts of St. Mary’s continue to watch over campus” – printed 10/30/2000
The second floor of Le Mans also boasts unexplained noises and sightings. Between rooms 274 to 273, an RA claims to have seen a strange blob floating down the hallway. Students say it is the ghost of “Mary” who hung herself in room 274. In support of these rumors, a couple of years ago an alumnae in her 80’s visited room 274 and told the girls that it was her roommate who hung herself. Saint Mary’s has no record of this particular incident on file.

Also, many women claim they have heard a crying baby in the showers of Queen’s Court. Archivist John Kovach says someone died in the Le Mans during the early 1970’s. It is rumored that this death was a stillborn baby left in the bathroom. For confirmation of the death, students will have to wait 75 years until the coroner’s reports are open to the public.

Furthermore, on Dec. 6, 1990, the Saint Mary’s Archives Narrative states a student’s body was found at 7:30pm in her room. Popular belief pinpoints the room of the suspected suicide to be on the fourth floor of Le Mans. It is said that this student along with the crying baby dwell in the shadows of Le Mans Hall.

Across the street at Notre Dame:

From “Gipp, ghosts haunt campus lore” – printed 10/31/2006

Other stories include groups of students sleeping in Washington Hall – some of whom had very strange experiences.

According to the hall’s Web site, a group of students snuck in with a Ouija board to try to contact Gipp. The board spelled out “S … G” then slide to “Goodbye.” They tried again and had the same result: “S … G” then “Goodbye.” The students then exited the hall, but they were not alone. Bursting through the door of Washington Hall came a security guard (SG) who had just finished an inspection.

Washington Hall employees were reluctant to grant interviews regarding the ghost stories, partially because of the amount of ghost-related attention the hall has received from the media and even ghost hunters.

In 2004, a television crew for The Travel Channel came to Notre Dame to film a segment on Washington Hall for a program titled “Haunted Campuses,” which aired in October of that year.

Have a happy, safe, and unhaunted Halloween!

[This post was inspired by the lovely Kerri’s own haunting story.]

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2011 5:57 pm

    I love stories like this. I used to live in Athens, Ohio, home to Ohio University and a whole ton of haunting stories. A lot of the old houses of Greek row were used as part of the Underground Railroad to smuggle slaves north and there are absolutely fascinating stories about events that transpired there, including a haunting by a slave who was caught and killed on the property. The 5 main cemetaries in town are in the shape of a pentagram and there’s an old mental asylum with tons of creepy stories associated with it and a super creepy cemetery on the grounds with headstones listing only the former patients ID numbers. It’s the creepiest place I’ve ever been.

  2. November 2, 2011 11:03 pm

    You have officially creeped me out for the rest of the night. Did you just get used to living in a haunted place? I feel like I would be scared for no reason sometimes. I am glad you shared these though, I love a good ghost story.

  3. November 26, 2011 2:08 am

    I met one of the authors of Quiet Hours. I believe she was a junior when I was a first year.

    I lived in the LeMans “Infirmary Wing” for two years, which was supposedly haunted. I don’t know that I believe in ghosts, but I do know that my closed, latched door would occasionally SWING OPEN completely, really fast for no reason (and — a couple of times — I’m pretty sure it was even locked).

  4. Julia fletcher lee permalink
    October 31, 2012 9:40 am

    I am a SMC grad from 2002 and lived in LeMans my junior and senior year. Mary was still around…she hid quite a few of my desk items that I later found behind clothes in the closet. She would also sit on my legs during the night and tap “Camptown Races” on our bunk bed posts. Sounds crazy, I know, but we SMC chicks know she’s there…

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