The Ghost of Marillac Hill

This story was told to me by one of the campus security guards when I was a student at the College of Mount Saint Vincent.  For my previous ghost stories about Marillac Hall, please see “A Strange Welcome” and “I thought I was Alone.”

This story is about the hill that runs beside Marillac Hall.  The steepest hill on campus, it rises steadily at almost a ninety-degree angle.  You can easily take a tumble on it if you are not careful.  It’s near impossible to traverse in snow and icy weather and during a big storm, the rushing rainwater turns into a waterfall.

There is a legend about a ghost nun who walks around campus.  Supposedly, she walks along the grounds by the administration building late at night and toward the early hours of the morning.  Her journey ends when she gets to the top of Marillac Hill and mysteriously disappears.  No one knows who she is or why she does this.  Some think that perhaps this is her spirit guarding the school.  Another theory is that this is a residual haunting and her apparition is a recording of something that she did frequently in life.

Being a homebody, unless there was a play or another campus event that I was interested in attending, I was usually in my dorm after the dinner hour.  Even when I lived in Marillac Hall, I didn’t go out much after dark.  One time in my senior year, I went to a visit a friend who was then living in Marillac.  I was dorming in Spellman Hall that year because it stayed open year-round and I wanted a room that I could stay in during the breaks.  We hung out until after midnight.  My husband, then fiancé, was an RA on duty, so he couldn’t come and pick me up.  Even though it was a safe campus, it could still be risky to walk around in deserted areas after dark.  One of the services our college offered was a security escort between buildings and back and forth to the front gate.  I had never used it before, but when the front desk encouraged it that night, I decided that I’d better be safe than sorry.

Spellman is up the hill from Marillac.  The guard came and picked me up to drive me back to my dorm.  I don’t remember it being particularly foggy that night.  As we were driving up Marillac Hill, the ghost story of the nun came to mind.  Now, I was trying not to look out the car windows for fear of seeing something.  As we approached the top of the hill, I saw a patch of mist right in front of the car.  I couldn’t say it was a fully developed apparition because it wasn’t well-formed, but a cold shiver passed over me as we drove through it.

Within a few minutes, we were back at Spellman.  I thanked the guard for the ride and went inside.  Wondering if I had really seen anything, I asked the guard at the front desk if he believed the legend of the ghost nun of Marillac Hill.  He said that he wasn’t sure, but that a buddy of his, who also worked security for the Mount, had had a strange experience once.

The guards always did periodic rounds of the campus to make sure that everything was safe.  One night, one of the guards was driving by when he saw a nun walking along Marillac Road.  Being polite, he rolled down the window and called out, “Good evening, Sister!  Need a lift?”  Thinking she must not have heard him, he tried again.  When she still didn’t respond, he decided to follow her just to make sure that she was okay.  He watched as she turned toward Marillac Hall.

“Okay, she must be one of the nuns who lives there,” he said to himself.  Having driven this far behind her, he still had to drive the car into the dorm’s parking lot to turn around.  As he was about to do a U-turn, he noticed that the nun had walked past Marillac’s front door and toward the porch.  For many years, the porch doors had been kept locked to make sure that there was only one entrance and exit for the building.  Thinking that she must be confused, the guard got out of the car to help her.

“Wait!  Sister, you can’t get in that way.”

When she finally turned around, the guard saw that the woman had no face.  The apparition dematerialized right in front of him, leaving him standing alone on the deserted porch.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

Follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and on Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill for more updates and paranormal phenomena!

 

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“I’m still here.”

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Merlin

I’m always amazed by the ways that spirits choose to communicate with us.  Read the story below and let me know what you think.  Do you think it was a true spiritual communication or a happy coincidence?

Merlin was a spunky, mischievous, little dog.  A mix of Westie and Maltese, he was my mother’s faithful companion for fourteen years.  She and her wife, Sandra, found him running across Fordham Road, an extremely busy area of the Bronx.  I was in high school when they brought him home.  The first time I saw him, he was a filthy, shaking bundle wrapped in a towel in my mother’s arms.

Mom and Sandra gave him a long bath to wash all the muck off him.  They had thought that he had dark-colored fur, but then Mom said, “I think he’s actually lighter than we thought.”  They gave him another bath to discover that his fur was white with an apricot tinge to it.  I knew from the start that we were going to keep him.  Sandra and Mom were always rescuing animals.

“What should we name him?” asked Mom.

“How about Merlin?” I suggested.  His curly, white fur reminded me of Merlin’s beard from Disney’s Sword in The Stone.  Plus, being Pagan, we always chose magickal names for our pets.

They fed Merlin and then went to take him out with our other dog, Bambi.  Being the friendly soul that Bambi was, he bonded with Merlin immediately.  I think Bambi was thrilled to see another dog instead of a cat, although he was well-behaved with cats, too.

About ten minutes later, I heard a buzz at the door.  Mom sent Bambi up to me.  “Where’s Merlin?” I asked, but Mom was already gone.  I fed Bambi and went back to my homework.  Almost an hour later, Mom and Sandra came back looking bedraggled and carrying Merlin, who was once again covered in dirt.

“You chose the right name for him,” said Mom.  “He did a disappearing act on us.  Slipped right out of the leash!”  As she carried Merlin back to the tub for his third bath that night, she said, “Tomorrow, we’re buying you a harness!”

Merlin and Mom bonded in the same way that Bambi and I did.  He followed Mom about the house, was always giving her kisses, and was extremely protective of her.  He was so possessive of her that sometimes I couldn’t help teasing him about it.  I’d put my hand on her shoulder, look him right in the eye, and say, “My mommy.”  He’d start growling at me.  I thought it was because I had my hand on her, so I tried it without the gesture.  He still told me off.  Then I would start arguing with him, “But Merlin, she is my mother.”  He would keep on barking at me until I relented, “Fine.  She’s your mommy.”  Then Mom would pick him up and say, “See?  He’s a real little boy, Tara!  A real little boy!”  Then he’d cover her with kisses.  Even though I joked about it, I loved how close they were and felt thankful that Merlin was there to watch over Mom.

Years passed and Merlin started to show signs of illness and aging.  Mom constantly fretted over him.  Then one day, shortly after Christmas, the inevitable happened and Merlin passed away.  I was on my way to my old job in the city when I got the call.  Mom was hysterical for days.

Two weeks later, she told me that she was going to go get another dog.  This wasn’t a surprise to me.  My mother always handled a pet’s death by going to get another.  That night she came home with two dogs, Jimmy and Hachi.  She didn’t want to separate them since they were related.  Jimmy was raised as a breeder dog and Hachi is his grandson.

Of course, even with a new puppy and senior dog to bond with and take care of, Mom was still mourning the loss of Merlin.  She knew that I sometimes see Bambi around my house.  One morning, she called me and I could sense that she was more depressed than usual.  “Why doesn’t Merlin come visit me?” she cried.

Holding my phone to my ear and stirring my coffee, I said, “Just because you can’t see him doesn’t mean that he’s not there.”

“Yes, but I wish he would find a way to let me know that he’s still around.  Just give me a sign of some sort, so that I can be sure that he’s okay.  I want him to know that I still love him.”

“I’m sure he knows that.”

“I don’t want him to feel replaced just because I got Hachi and Jimmy, now.”

“Knowing him, he probably sent them to you to make you feel better.”

Mom laughed.  “Yeah.  He probably told God that he couldn’t take my crying.  Make her stop, already!  Here!  Give her two dogs!”

We talked for a bit longer before getting off the phone.  Thinking about Mom, I said aloud, “Merlin, if you can hear me, I wish you’d find a way to let Mom know that you’re still there.  She misses you so much.”  I didn’t think much about it after that.

A little while later, Mom called me back.  “The strangest thing just happened!” she said.  “I was sitting on the couch with Jimmy and Hachi when one of Merlin’s sticks landed by my feet.”

“You mean, you had it on the couch and it rolled off?”

“No.  It fell on the floor directly in front of me out of thin air.”

By this time, Merlin had already been gone for months and Mom had cleaned up all his old chew toys.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

Follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and on Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill for more updates and paranormal phenomena!

The Presence

Thanks to Regina for this story!  To read Regina’s first story, please see A Medium’s Rite of Passage.

Most of the houses in Regina’s neighborhood in North Philadelphia were built during the early 19th century.  It was rumored that some had been constructed over an old cemetery, so there was no surprise that the town had a reputation for hauntings.  Regina was about eight when she started noticing strange things happening in her house.

The previous owner of Regina’s home was an alcoholic who died while living in the house.  Sometimes, Regina would see a male apparition.  One day, Regina came home and saw a man sleeping on the couch.  At first glance, she thought the man was her father.  Then she watched as the figure got up, walked through the closed door, and down the block before fading away.

The dining room was also known for strange activity.  Sometimes in the middle of the night, disembodied voices could be heard among the tinkling of the chandelier as it swayed back and forth.  The floor had a mysterious stain that couldn’t be removed.  Regina’s parents constantly tried to cover the dark mark, but it always managed to come through whatever carpet that they laid over it.

The eeriness permeated the rest of the house’s atmosphere, but only Regina and her sisters seemed to notice.  As a young child, Regina was afraid of going upstairs by herself, especially at night.  There were two chips in the paint that looked like gaping eye sockets.  Even with her back turned, she felt like they were watching her.

Her parents’ closet door would open on its own.  Outside their bedroom was a perpetual cold spot about five feet in diameter.  It didn’t matter what time of the year it was, the iciness was always there and light always left the hallway in shadow.

One Easter, there was a terrible fire next door that caused extensive smoke damage.  Regina’s family decided to move a few months later.  A suffocating, almost violent feeling hung in the air as they packed up their belongings.  Regina’s father went to drop some things off at the new house.  On his return trip, Regina decided to go with him.  Her mother, Rachel, and brother, Janiero, stayed behind.

After Regina left, the temperature in the house continued to drop until it was so cold that her mother and brother’s teeth were chattering.  Janiero had to use the bathroom.  They heard a creaking noise coming from upstairs.  Looking up, mother and son watched as Regina’s bedroom door slowly closed on its own.

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

Follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill for more updates and paranormal phenomena!

 

Nightfall at Pennhurst Asylum

This past summer, my husband and I won two tickets for a public ghost tour of Pennhurst State School and Hospital from the Pennhurst Paranormal Association. Timothy Smith runs Pennhurst Paranormal Association and maintains Pennhurst, conducting ghost tours and teaching visitors about the asylum’s tragic history. Tim and the staff of Pennhurst Paranormal Association are experienced, professional paranormal investigators. Everyone was kind and patient in answering both my questions and those of other tour members. The tour was focused on finding evidence of hauntings through the use of ghost hunting equipment, which they also showed us how to use. Pennhurst Paranormal Association hosts both public and private ghost tours of Pennhurst State School and Hospital.

The drive through the picturesque historical town soon ended, bringing George and me to a stop on a dark, country road next to a water tower. Thankfully, Tim sent one of his team to come and find us because we might have never found the place in time for the tour. Pennhurst Asylum was designed to be an isolated location, which undoubtedly helped in keeping the truth behind it a secret for many years. We had to drive down a winding path through the woods just to make it onto the campus, and it was already after dark.

I felt a shift in the atmosphere from the second I saw the dimly lit structures of the buildings looming above. I was thankful that there was a large touring group that night. After having done some preliminary research online, I was anxious about going. Before now, everything that I had done with ghosts had been low-key or happenstance. This was my first time being with a professional group of paranormal investigators that had ghost hunting equipment. We toured two buildings that night, Mayflower Hall and Devon Hall.

In the first building, we went into a kind of common hall where patients used to congregate. Paint was peeling off the walls and water pooled on the floor in some areas from recent rain. Members of the Pennhurst Paranormal Association told us background history about Pennhurst. The place was known for “womb to tomb care.” Many of the occupants spent their whole lives in Pennhurst, whether they needed to be there or not. Family members were encouraged to drop their children and relatives off and told not to look back as return visits might only upset the patient and disrupt the treatment.

Images of people being abandoned by their families, helpless to stop any ill treatment that might befall them filled me with unspeakable horror. I asked why these spirits were still here. Why hadn’t they moved on after so many years? Pennhurst was officially closed down in 1987. This prompted a discussion about hauntings and whether the spirits see the place as we do now.

Without proper funding, Pennhurst was understaffed, poorly managed, and incredibly overcrowded. This allowed for the medical staff to abuse their patients and for patients to accidentally harm themselves or each other. Severe punishments even included surgically removing the patient’s teeth so that they could not bite in defense. This was done without anesthetics. The mentally disabled were not seen as equals and it was easy for the staff to disregard them.

One story that was told to me was about a telephone lineman who was working on repairing the phone system when a patient came up to him and started swaying. After a few minutes, the patient began banging his head into the doorframe. The lineman hailed a nurse who was passing by for help, but she said that she didn’t have time to take care of the patient because she was so overwhelmed with work already. Meanwhile, the patient that she refused to help had blood pouring from the self-inflicted gash on his head.

We had been in the common room for a few minutes when I felt someone take my hand. Thinking it was my husband, I turned around to see that he was standing a few feet away from me. There was no one standing either next to or behind me. I jumped, pulling my hand back. When I brought this up to the tour guides, they said that people often reported being touched or having someone grab their hand in that room. They said that teenage boys used to be here in this section and that was their way of showing affection. We also got some cold spots in that room.

Next, they brought us to Emily’s room. Emily is the spirit of a sweet, thirteen-year-old girl who has the mental capabilities of a five-year-old. There were various dolls and stuffed animals on her bed. We communicated with her via an EMF (Electromagnetic Field) reader which spiked every time she got excited or came near us. She seemed to prefer females and enjoyed when the female tour guides and I took turns singing nursery rhymes to her.

While I was standing in that room, I suddenly saw a small, green orb. I followed it into the darkness down the hallway into another room, but it disappeared. I came back to Emily’s room. At that point, we said goodbye to Emily and went back outside to join other group members who were planning on visiting Devon Hall. Devon Hall is known for having great EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena). Tim, the association’s leader, took us there.

At one point, I remarked that I kept hearing what I thought to be footsteps following behind us. Tim said that while that was possible, it was more likely that I was hearing the steady dripping of water down the wall. He was accustomed to hearing these noises, so he could debunk them. He even showed me where the water was coming from so that I could see for myself. While we had sufficient light to see by, this was mostly provided by flashlights that we carried along with us during the tour.

First, we went upstairs to inspect some bathrooms in Devon Hall where they had gotten great EVPs in the past. I sometimes get mental flashes of spirits when I enter rooms. It kind of reminds me of taking a picture because I only see the ghost for a second or two before they vanish. When we entered the bathroom, I saw an image of a little boy sitting in the bathtub. I grabbed George as he went to lean against it.

“Don’t sit there!” I hissed. He had no idea what I had seen until I told him later. I didn’t want him to upset the spirit.

Tim showed us how EVPs were made. He had a recorder that would only record when someone was speaking. He would ask a question, wait twenty seconds, and then ask the next question. Later, when he would play the recording back to the group, the ghostly voices would show up in between Tim’s questions. Since the recorder only records when someone is speaking, in theory, there should have been no gap between Tim’s questions during the playback.

The bathroom was a horrible place. Tim asked if the ghosts were repentant of what they had done during their lives, but they seemed to be proud of how they molested and raped young boys. They staked out claims on stalls and threatened to harm Tim if he entered them. Clutching my St. Michael pendant for protection, I envisioned a circle of white light around our group. Thankfully, I had managed to convince George to carry a protective talisman as well. The creepiest thing about this whole situation was that while I didn’t hear anything while I was standing there, Tim’s EVP recordings showed that there was someone in the bathroom with us. This someone was getting angrier at what they took as an intrusion of their territory.

We trudged down to the basement. At this point, I was looking at the cracked plaster and broken sinks and thinking to myself that I should have brought a face mask since I am super sensitive to dust. We entered another bathroom. Apparently, they are a great source for EVPs. We had a brief discussion about whether this was because the water is a good source of energy for spirits. Then we started another EVP session.

Tim made contact with another spirit who obliged us by reading the writing that was on people’s shirts to show that he was there. Then Tim asked if he would go and see if he could get Dr. Fear for us. That was actually the man’s name, although it would have been an appropriate nickname for him as well since he instilled fear in his patients. His soul apparently came here after his passing. I wondered how this was an appropriate punishment for his evil deeds since he seemed to be able to lord over the suffering souls that were still trapped here.

Moments after Tim called for Dr. Fear, I got a flash image of a spectacled man in a lab coat walking over to our group. In my vision, he came over and placed his hands on both a young woman’s and my husband’s shoulder as if he was peering over a group of medical interns. Just then George and the young woman complained of feeling a cold spot right where I had seen Dr. Fear appear.

Tim began asking Dr. Fear questions. Dr. Fear stated that while he remembered who Tim was, he didn’t really care about his presence one way or the other. One of the female tour guides asked if he was a real doctor. The ghost half chuckled into the EVP recorder. Of course, he was a real doctor. The way that he said it made it seem as if he thought she had asked a stupid question. She had been trying to insult him, but he had dismissed it.

One of the things we had discussed were the missing bodies of patients. Patients had died or gone missing and their bodies had never been accounted for. It was thought that they might have been buried somewhere on the campus in unmarked graves. Tim asked Dr. Fear what happened to the bodies.

“I burnt them,” crackled over the recorder, followed by low, eerie laughter.

I felt cold all over after that. Tim offered to keep taking us around the buildings. The next stop would have been back to the Mayflower building. There was the ghost of a nurse on one of the upper floors who was reported to administer ghostly shots to people. George and I decided to leave. We still had a three-hour drive back home and I felt emotionally and spiritually sapped after that encounter in the basement.

I was exhausted for days following this visit, even with my spiritual cleansings. Tim later told me that was one of their strongest EVP sessions. While I don’t consider myself a Medium per say, I do feel like spirits tend to manifest strongly when I’m around. This was easily the most terrifying ghostly encounter that I have ever had. There is nothing like being in a silent, near pitch dark room and having someone who you cannot see answer you.

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Emily’s Room – Mayflower Hall

If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send an email with your contact information to Tara Theresa Hill at theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview. 

I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

Follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and on Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill for more updates and paranormal phenomena!