The Ghost Chase

I had quite a few ghostly encounters during my years at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, NY.  Given the college was founded in the late 1800s, this was not extremely surprising and even somewhat expected when staying in the older buildings.  However, this time I was spooked in Alumnae Hall.  Alumnae Hall was built in 1965.  For most of my years at the Mount, it was the newest dormitory on campus.  So, I honestly didn’t expect to see a ghost there, especially since I had lived in that building in my freshman year and hadn’t experienced any paranormal phenomena.  There had been a few strange moments late at night, but never anything definitive that I could identify.

Now, it was the summer of 2005.  I had finished my sophomore year and I was an Orientation Leader.  Aside from decorating the bulletin boards, preparing Orientation packets for new students, and devising Ice Breaker activities, we had to help with getting the dorms ready for the incoming future students.  Just before everyone arrived, we were supposed to do a check of the rooms to make sure that they were ready.

The students were scheduled to come the next day.  I decided to make the rounds early to get it out of the way.  I started down my side of the floor, peeking into each of the rooms.  Everything seemed in order.  Then I turned the corner.

A young woman stood with her back facing toward me.  Her wavy, auburn hair fell to about her waistline.  I noted her bell bottom jeans, which had made a comeback at the time.  “Excuse me,” I called out.  “Who are you?”  She didn’t answer me, but instead started walking briskly away.  I followed behind, calling for her to stop.  No matter how fast I went, she always seemed to be a few feet ahead of me.

We reached the end of the hallway and she ducked into the last room across from the stairs.  “Hey, come back!  You can’t be in there!” I said knowing that I was going to have to confront this person now.

I entered the room.  “…And you’re not here,” I said aloud.

The room was completely empty.  I closed the door and checked every place that someone could hide.  No one was under the bed or in the closet.  I also looked out the window, even though they were closed and it was a far jump to the ground floor.  No one was there.  I had run in right behind her, so she hadn’t had any chance of getting out without me seeing her.

Standing there in that empty room, I thought back to the details of the young woman.  Long hair, bell bottom jeans, and I had never seen her face even when she turned into the room.  No one on staff fit that description.  I checked with security, but nobody like that had been admitted into the building either.  It was like she had appeared out of thin air and just as quickly vanished again.  She is still one of the most detailed apparitions that I have ever witnessed.

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! 

 

 

 

Sharing Space with The Dead: Life in a Historic Masonic Home

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.

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

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

 

 

My Beloved Bambi

 

Bambi Photo
My dog, Bambi. Original Artwork by Jan Mina, 2013

For anyone who knows the loss of a familiar or animal companion.

Bambi and I were inseparable from the moment we met.  He was a handsome Sheltie dog with light brown fur and a white front ruff.  I was eight years old and recovering from the chicken pox when my parents got him for me.  Bambi was an intelligent, loving, well-behaved, and extremely gentle dog.  He never bit anyone and was deeply protective of our family.  He slept with his head on my legs from the first night that we brought him home until the day that I left for college.

During my sophomore year, he fell ill and became progressively sicker.  Then one night during my spring semester finals, I had a strange dream.  I was standing on the edge of this beautiful field.  Long green grass waved in the wind.  A blue butterfly with a wingspan the size of a large notebook appeared by my shoulder and started dancing around me.  Surprised, I started whirling around with it.  At some point in the dream, the blue butterfly smiled and kissed me on the forehead.  I watched as it flew off to join a cloud of other butterflies that had gathered in the field.  My heart was heavy because I knew that I could not follow the joyful little spirit.

When I woke up that morning, I knew that Bambi had passed away even before my mother called me.  I told her about the dream and said that he had come to say goodbye to me in my sleep.  The months that followed were a dark time for me.  I mourned Bambi so deeply that my husband (then boyfriend) bought me a stuffed animal that looked like him to sleep with at night.

I started seeing Bambi’s spirit frequently after I graduated and moved into my first apartment.  I have had four apartments so far and he has followed me to each one.  I will turn around and suddenly see him out of the corner of my eye or enter a room and find him sitting on the floor just as he used to when I was a little girl.  Sometimes I even see him resting next to my darling cat, Diana.  Bambi has the most benevolent soul and his presence always brings me a sense of incredible comfort and peace.  Even through death, we are still connected and always will be.

 

Keep the Light On

Thanks to Stephanie from Massachusetts for this story!

Whenever I think of haunted states, the ones that come immediately to mind are New York, Virginia, and Massachusetts.  Maybe it’s because they are all from the original thirteen colonies and have so much history, but it’s not surprising to hear of ghost stories.  From houses to colleges to battlefields, almost everything is haunted.

Stephanie works the night shift in a residential home for children with extreme developmental issues.  Part of her job is to check on the children routinely throughout the night.  She does this about every five to ten minutes.  The house that she works in has four bedrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, and a living room that functions as a common area.

Stephanie sits watch in the hallway.  The living room is behind her.  Two bedrooms are at the front of the house.  In order to get to the second bedroom, she had to walk around the staircase and pass through the living room.

Last October, it was a normal night like any other when things suddenly became strange.  It was about two or three in the morning.  The area by the craft table in the living room was dimmer than usual.  For some reason, Stephanie had forgotten to turn the light on in the room that night.

As she turned into the living room, the figure of a man materialized.  He had short hair, was muscular in stature, and looked to be anywhere from his twenties to mid-thirties.  It happened so quickly that Stephanie didn’t even have time to react.  One second he was walking beside her and the next, he had passed through the wall by the craft table and disappeared.  She only caught the side profile of his face and didn’t notice any particular details about his clothes.

Stephanie is a no-nonsense person.  She had a better reaction than most other people would have had in her situation.  Once the man was gone, she resumed her nightly duties.  Since that night, Stephanie always remembers to keep the light on in the living room.  The mysterious man is yet to make another appearance.

The House that Never Sleeps

Thanks to Renee for contributing this story!

On Englewood Avenue in Teaneck, New Jersey there is an old, white house with high levels of paranormal activity.  Renee states that her family has known very little peace since buying the house in 1960.  The spirits are particularly disturbing at night.  After everyone has gone to bed, you can hear doors opening and closing and sounds of a loud party going on downstairs.  However, if you brave your fears and check below, the noise stops.  Family members have reported seeing dark shadows walking around and incidents of waking to find ghostly figures standing by their beds.

Built in 1917, the house was part of Dr. Gaylord’s extensive property.  The original house included six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a powder room, and a kitchen.  Renee’s family built on additional rooms.  Most of the negative activity takes place in the newer parts of the house.

One account that Renee shared with me happened when she was a child.  She and her siblings were playing outside.  A little boy appeared and asked if he could join in their game.  After a while, Renee’s mother went into the yard and called for her kids to come inside.  They turned to say goodbye to their new friend, only to see him vanish.  They never saw him again.

A man resembling President Ulysses S. Grant has been said to appear inside of the house or on the grounds.  The scariest part is all that you see is his head floating by as if he is walking, but there is no body attached.  The family has found flags and bullets on the property.  While the former president could not have been in the house being it was built after his death, there is evidence that he knew the Gaylord family and perhaps had visited their estate before.

Big bursts of activity usually occur around the holidays.  One Thanksgiving, Renee’s sister saw the face of a red-headed man and she screamed.  Later on that same night, she was carrying a bowl of gravy when a portrait suddenly fell off the mantel, causing her to drop the platter she was carrying and scald herself.  Renee’s aunt was visiting and mentioned that she wanted to see a ghost.  The red-headed man must have taken this as a challenge because she woke up to see his face leering above her bed.  Unable to get back to sleep, she went to stay in a hotel.

Unlike other places where the spiritual phenomena fluctuate, this house continues to have a high level of activity.  It would seem that both the living and the dead residents are constantly vying for space.  Thankfully, most hauntings are not as intrusive as this one.

 

I Thought I was Alone: Marillac Hall, Part 2

I woke up early the next day to get ready for the start of Welcome Back Weekend.  My room wasn’t one of the suites, so I had to use the hallway bathrooms.  Gathering my things, I headed for the shower.  My dorm room faced the stair landing, so that I could see people coming up or going down the stairs.

I was still feeling a bit drowsy, when I noticed a young woman descending the stairs in front of me.  At first I thought her brown garment was a robe, but I quickly saw that it was actually a dress.  She was swaying back and forth as she glided down the steps.  “Gee, she’s going awfully slow!” I thought to myself.  If I had been more in a hurry, I would have tried to pass her, but instead I kept up my steady pace.

She reached the third floor ahead of me, but continued going down.  As my view turned the corner, I could see down into the next stairwell.  She glanced up at me before continuing on her way.  I didn’t think much of it at the time.  I reached the end of the stairs a moment later and stood on the landing.  An odd feeling made me look back.

She was gone!  I couldn’t even see her going down the stairs anymore and she had only been a few feet ahead of me.  She should have still been visible.  I lingered there for a couple of minutes before heading to the bathroom.

“If I’m the only one on the fourth floor right now, then who was that?” I mumbled to myself.  It was like she just appeared out of nowhere.  The woman hadn’t made a sound.  She had been wearing a long, dark-colored dress.  Her hair had been pinned up in an old-fashioned manner.  Staring into the bathroom mirror, it hit me.  I had seen a ghost.  More than that, I had just followed a ghost down the stairs.

I thought back to the words of Hans Holzer, a famous paranormal investigator.  He said that ghosts were people too and that it was important to treat them as such.  Be courteous, but honest about your expectations of sharing living space with them.  Taking a deep breath, I looked into the mirror and said aloud, “Listen.  You can’t keep popping up out of the woodwork like this.  I have to live here.  You know I can see you, but I won’t get much studying done if you keep spooking me like that.”

Thankfully after this incident, the rest of the students moved in and the ghosts were less noticeable.  Even so, every night that I had to stay up late, I would repeat my entreaty asking the peaceful, but strong spirits of Marillac Hall to stay hidden so that I could do my homework.  Fortunately, they were quite obliging spirits.  Well, most of the time…