Dorming with Ghosts: The Many Spirits of Marillac Hall

Ouija boards are the subject of much controversy.  Having grown up with a psychic mother, I am pretty comfortable using them, although I know that it is wise to take some precautions, such as lighting a white candle and placing a chalice or bowl of water nearby to help attract positive spirits.  I had some spectacular experiences with ghosts during my years at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, especially at Marillac Hall.

I lived in Marillac Hall in my Junior year.  I’m glad that I had a roommate because I don’t think that I would have been brave enough to live there on my own.  The oldest building on campus, Marillac was built in the late 1800s.  My college always had a lot of fun hosting haunted houses and ghost tours for Halloween.  After getting permission from the Residence Director, I invited my mother and a friend up to do a Ouija board séance at Marillac Hall.

I was standing downstairs in the lounge, waiting for my mother to arrive.  Suddenly, I heard a tapping sound.  Looking up, I saw a face grinning back at me through the porch door’s window.  I must have jumped ten feet high.  The woman on the other side of the doorway laughed hysterically.

“Very funny, Mom,” I chided her.  “You have to come in the front door.  The porch is always kept locked.”  She nodded and I went around to get her and our family friend, Artie, signed in under me.  Artie, also known as Lord Tammuz, is another elder of the Craft in New York City.  He and my mom have been friends for many years and they are used to doing the Ouija board together.  Mom, Artie, and I spent some time catching up while we waited for people to arrive for the event.

Once everyone was there, I introduced Mom and Artie to the group.  Mom explained how we were going to respectfully ask any spirits who were around if they wished to communicate.  This was not going to be an aggressive event where we tried to coerce spirits into making contact.  While there were never any guarantees that spirits would decide to come thorough the board, Mom was hopeful that there would be a high level of activity that night because it was Halloween.  The veil between the Spirit World and the living is thinnest on Halloween night, which is also known as Samhain in Wiccan traditions.

Due to fire safety precautions, we could not light any candles, but Mom said that was okay.  She didn’t think we would run into any negative spirits.  The Mount is a peaceful, holy place.  CMSV was founded by the Sisters of Charity and Marillac Hall has a tiny chapel located on the first floor where the Sisters sometimes hold special, private prayer sessions.

We turned down the lights, keeping only the low lamps on so that we could see the board clearly.  Mom and Artie did the board while I recorded the words that the spirits spelled out.  The first spirit that came through was a gentleman from the 1940s.  His wife had attended the College of Mount Saint Vincent back when it was still a women’s college.  He had fond memories of visiting her here while they were courting.  They had gotten married after she graduated.

The room that we were doing the Ouija board reading in is known as the “Engagement Room.”  Mom and Artie didn’t know this, but my classmates and I did because we knew the history of the building.  When the school was still exclusively for women, male visitors weren’t allowed to go upstairs to visit their girlfriends.  The front desk attendant would escort the gentleman caller into the “Engagement Room” to wait.  Then they would let the young lady know that she had a visitor.

The second spirit that came through was a priest with a heavy Irish brogue named Father William.  During his life, he had resided on campus and taught mathematics.  This was reflected in the friendly, but professorial manner in which he addressed us.  He told us that many spirits chose to “haunt” CMSV, but not in the negative sense.  Very few, if any were stuck there.  Rather, the positive experiences that they had at the Mount forged a bond with the place that kept them coming back to visit long after they had gone to the light.

Father William went on to explain that sometimes spirits returning for a visit would be surprised by the changes that the Mount had undergone in their absence.  His former abode was now a large broom closet.  One of my classmates gasped, “Are you the ghost that haunts the storage closet on the third floor whose door always opens up on its own?”

“Aye,” Father William spelled out.

“Why do you stay there?” we asked.

“The landlord hates me,” he responded.  Then Father William told us all to study hard and said that he had to be going because there were other spirits who wanted to come through the board.

A couple of other spirits came through.  One commented on a student’s velvet curtains and said that she could leave them open if she ever wanted to see the ghosts that congregate on the balcony outside her window at night.  Just like the porch, the balcony had been sealed off many years before and students were forbidden to climb out onto it, even if their windows overlooked it.  The young woman shook her head, “After this, I’m always keeping them closed.”

Then the last spirit of the night arrived.  This one was a female from the 1950s.  “Hi, gang!” she chirped out over the board.  She introduced herself as K.M.  “I love Marillac!  I have a monument here.”  We all looked at each other.  As far as my classmates and I knew, there was no monument to any student on campus.  We were curious about how she had died.

K.M. grew sad.  “I did something foolish that led to an accident.”

“What did you do?” we asked.

She spelled out one word.  “Dumbwaiter.”  She had apparently climbed inside of one and the resulting accident had led to her death.

I nodded.  “Oh…That must be why all of the old dumbwaiters in the building are sealed up now.”

The spirit circled “YES” on the board.

We were all silent for a moment.  Then one of the students asked, “Where is your monument?”

K.M. responded, “In here.  Turn on the light.”

We didn’t understand what she meant, so we kept turning on and off lights for a few minutes.  We didn’t see any monument though.  It was close to midnight at this point, so we had to bring the event to a close.  We all said goodbye to K.M.  Then Mom thanked the spirits for joining us and closed out the session.  As we were cleaning up, Mom noticed something behind a tall lamp.  The lampshade had been hiding a brass plaque that was attached to the wall.  The initials of the person who the plaque commemorated were K.M. from the Class of 1955.

You can read more about the hauntings of CMSV in the following Ghost Posts: A Strange Welcome: Marillac Hall, Part 1, I Thought I was Alone: Marillac Hall, Part 2, The Ghost of Marillac Hill, Legends of CMSV: Sarah’s Story, and The Ghost Chase.


If you have a real ghost story that you would like to share with The Ghost Post, send me an email to theghostpostreporter@gmail.com to set up an interview.  I’m always in the mood for a good ghost story! 

For more ghost stories, paranormal phenomena, and updates, follow Tara Theresa Hill on Facebook and on Twitter at @TaraTheresaHill.

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“Spook” – Artwork by Mara Cordova, Copyright The Ghost Post –  April 2017

Want to show off your passion for ghosts with a little fashion flair?  In celebration of The Ghost Post’s 1 Year Anniversary, I have launched a Café Press store featuring The Ghost Post’s official new mascot, Spook. 

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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!