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