Thanks to my friend, Jeanine, for this story about her old college dorm!
Jeanine went to Dominican College in the 1990s. At one point, she lived in a dormitory that was actually a former German Masonic residence. Built in 1909, the building functioned as a place for retired Masons and their family members until 1983. If a Mason was too sick or old to work, he could live there rent free. Also, if a Mason left behind a widow and young children, this institute made sure that they were provided for after his death. The building was converted into a dorm when Dominican College took it over in the early 1980s.
One of the rooms that Jeanine stayed in was the site of a double suicide that occurred in 1933. As the story goes, John Ellich and Marie Kiefer had secretly eloped while living on site at the residence. When the board found out, they decided to separate the couple by sending one of them away to live in another Masonic home. Already in their golden years, John and Marie locked themselves in her room and committed suicide together. Jeanine saw a male ghost in her room whom she believes might have been John Ellich. Other friends have reported seeing Marie’s ghost.
Jeanine and her friends had numerous paranormal experiences during their time in the historical building. Every weekend, one would smell rose-scented perfume wafting down the hallway that had no known source. Students would hear knocking on their dorm doors, but answer them to find no one standing there. Thinking it was their classmates trying to play a trick on them, they’d step outside to investigate, only to hear the ghostly sound of children’s laughter receding down the hall. The building was especially creepy at night when the paranormal activity was at its height. Even if you didn’t have a roommate, most people tried to find someone to bunk with so that they wouldn’t be alone.
Some of the creepiest areas of the building and its surrounding grounds were the porch area, the campus cemetery, the elevator, the laundry room and the basement. At the front of the building was a screened in porch that was always uncomfortable. It could be ninety degrees outside, but the temperature would drop sharply to freezing once you were inside the porch enclosure. As if the place needed anything else to add to the spooky atmosphere, there’s even an old graveyard dating from around the 1900s located somewhere on the property.
Jeanine told me that no matter what button you pushed for some unknown reason, the Masonic Hall’s elevator always went automatically to the basement. Jeanine and her friends used to do their laundry in pairs because you would often get the sense that you were being watched. Strange banging noises and screaming would ensue only to cease as quickly as they began.
There was a section of the basement that was closed off, but still accessible if one tried hard enough. One time, Jeanine and a friend thought it would be fun to explore it. They saw what looked like morgue slots lining the wall and decided to each take a turn climbing inside. Jeanine says she has no idea what possessed her to do that, nor would she ever do something that crazy now. She could have gotten stuck or worse, but she was young and it seemed adventurous at the time.
As soon as her friend closed the door on her, she heard loud wailing and scratching noises coming from all around. Banging on the door behind her head, she started screaming for her friend to let her out. Thankfully, the slot popped open and she and her friend ran back upstairs. Jeanine avoided that area of the basement after that incident.
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I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story!