Is Campus Haunted?

Daniella Amendola, Editor-in-Chief

As the spookiest of holidays draws near, it is only fair to draw attention to a widely shared belief among students and staff: The campus is probably haunted.

Whether the ghost is the undeniably creepy Lady McHale or the generally benevolent Tippy the Theater Ghost, the stories that arise from students and staff alike make one wonder if perhaps there is something supernatural wandering about campus.

“My ghost story didn’t happen to me directly,” said senior English and secondary education major Kimberly Kowalski. “Our friend was turning 22, and we had a little get together-slash-party in our apartment. So we were just hanging out, exchanging gifts and everything and after her childhood best friend of like, let’s say 17 years, gave her a gift, we had a weird experience.

Kowalski said she presented the gift and discovered the bedroom door was mysteriously locked.

“The best part of the story is that we were making a joke about the Sisters of Mercy, and that’s why it’s weird that the room locked. You can’t leave that out of the story!” said Kristen Capitano, senior English major and the aforementioned birthday girl.

Capitano and Kowalski, who live in a MacDowell Hall suite, agreed that their talk about the Sisters of Mercy prompted the odd experience.

“We mentioned something,” Kowalski explained, “that something about the gift reminded us of the Sisters of Mercy.”

Capitano laughed and said, “It sounds like I got a weird gift— which I did, but…”

The gift was a statue of Mary, which was supposed to be a cute gesture among friends. Kowalski said the roommates never lock their bedroom doors except over long breaks.

“What made it even weirder was that we had music playing on the TV and there were three songs that came on,” Kowalski said.

The songs, back to back, were “Mercy,” “Pray,” and a third one with a title that did not matter, because it began with the line, “In my college dorm.”

“We were listening to pop hits,” Capitano said. “There was really no reason why these songs should’ve been playing.”

Kowalski said they are pretty sure it was a ghost.

Capitano and Kowalski said a strange presence has been following them from dorm-to-dorm each year. Kowalski said that the roommates were talking about Capitano when she was way studying abroad and had an experience in McGowan Hall.

“I was mentioning her name and all of a sudden my books went flying off the shelves,” said Kowalski. “I had a plant that was filled with those little water beads, and they went everywhere. Books went everywhere. It was crazy! And my other roommate and I looked at each other, and we were like… oh crap.”

The ghost followed Capitano since freshman year. “We called him Timmy. Lived on fourth floor McHale.”

They said their TV would turn on in the middle of the night when they had not touched the remote.

Junior occupational therapy major Kayli Boyes said she also experienced a strange incident involving a television in McHale Hall.

“So I was on second floor McHale, and then the TV would randomly turn on at random points during the day and night. My roommate didn’t believe me until the TV turned on to Netflix, and I hadn’t used Netflix in a long time,” said Boyes.

She added that her firestick would have to be turned on in order to activate Netflix, but she had not touched either device.

“I also had fairy lights around the room, and they were operated by a battery pack, and the battery pack was really high up in the room so I always had to climb up on something to get it. So those lights would turn on randomly, and I first I thought it was my roommate, and she was like, ‘I don’t even know where the switch is.’”

Boyes added that when she was a third floor RA in McHale Hall last year she experienced a strange and creepy chill.

“I had the heat on, so it was kind of warm in my room, and then I just felt the temperature drop significantly. And I looked over at my desk, and my chair had tilted back as if something had sat down, leaned back, and put their feet up on the desk. There was nothing on the chair to make it lean, or anything, it was just there. So then I said, ‘Hi. You can have the room for a bit.’”

She said she then wandered the halls a bit, and the chair was tilted back up again when she returned.

Boyes said this ghost is dubbed Old Lady McHale, and it targets RAs.

Juliana Cofrancesco, junior English and secondary education major, said she had an experience with the dead  on the first floor of McHale.

“My freshman year I had some friends who had their window open while a funeral was going on across from their room,” Cofrancesco said. “I’m convinced that a ghost— that spirit— came into the room and it was not friendly.”

Cofrancesco said she and her friends would see the shadow of someone’s feet beneath the door.

“They thought that someone was just standing behind their door, and they had a very open door policy freshman year, so they would yell to the door, ‘You can come in! Or you can just knock, why are you standing in front of the door?’ And they would open door and no one would be there.”

Cofrancesco said the lights one went out in their room, and only their room, despite the fact that all lights in that wing were connected.

“There was also some queso dip that flew off a shelf and tried to take my friend out by the knees,” Cofrancesco said. “So yes. They were bad experiences.”

Jeffrey Kelly, the Manager of Cultural Events and Theater Director, also told of ghostly visits, specifically from the infamous Tippy the Theater Ghost.

“So we’re not quite sure how he or she got there. We just know that they are certainly present all the time. There are all sorts of signs of things, like sometimes you’ll be in there and lights will just turn on! Random lights, or lights will turn off, or things will fall over that haven’t been touched. Things will go missing and those types of things.”

Kelly said theater workers keep a light on to comfort Tippy.

“It’s a general theater thing that a manager, when everything is closed, and everything’s done, sets the lamp out that can be seen from all doors of the theater. No lampshade or anything, just a bright light to signify, hey we’re done, everyone’s going home, and it’s just called the ghost lamp so that Tippy keeps calm or whoever the theater ghost is.”

Kelly said that Tippy gets angry when the light is off.

He said the most frightening experience he and the staff had happened when he introduced moving lights to the theater, the type with moving head fixtures similar to those used at concerts.

“It was our first time using them, and we plugged them in, and there was no data or anything, so it won’t move. As soon as we put power to it, it started going crazy. The lights start turning on, all of the lights in the theater start flashing on and off. We had one gentleman who was actually on our football team, so a big, burly football kid goes, ‘What’s going on?’”

Kelly said the the light flipped around and hit the football player.

“He screamed, dove under the seats, and all of us were a little afraid to move for a little bit,” Kelly said. “Then we pulled the power out.”

Kelly suspects this  was just Tippy acting out in anger over the new lights.

All of these people swear that strange, unexplainable things happened to them, and the easy explanation is that the campus is haunted by ghosts. However, who can say, really?