Legends of CMSV: Sarah’s Story

My alma mater, the College of Mount Saint Vincent, has several ghost stories.  One of the most beloved is about a ghost named Sarah.  Sarah is believed to have been one of the orphan children that the Sisters of Charity cared for during the late 1800s.  After she died from a sudden illness, her spirit stayed on the campus.

Sarah’s favorite place to haunt is Hayes Auditorium.  A big fan of the theater, she likes to make herself known during performances and events.  While I was there, the students had a tradition of greeting Sarah whenever they entered or exited the building.  It was considered bad luck not to do so because then Sarah might decide to play a prank on you.  There were a few people who didn’t do this, but I always did out of respect.  Sarah didn’t mind if you didn’t believe in her because that didn’t stop her from existing, but she didn’t take kindly to people making fun of her.

When I was an Orientation Leader in 2005, one of the new resident directors completely dismissed her when we told him about the legend.  He laughed at us for saying “Hi, Sarah,” when we entered the auditorium.  Later on, he was briefing us about what to expect when the orientation students arrived.  As he was talking, he went to lean back against a table that was set up on stage when it completely collapsed beneath him.  We tried to warn him that he shouldn’t have messed with Sarah, but this did nothing to change his attitude concerning ghosts.  Perhaps he just wasn’t a good fit for our college.  He didn’t even make it a full year as resident director.

Sarah could also be helpful.  During college, my husband (then boyfriend) was a resident assistant.  One of George’s residents told him this story.  The student had lost his security badge somewhere in the theater.  After spending almost an hour looking, he was about to give up, when he asked out loud, “Sarah, please help me find my badge.”  Suddenly he heard something drop from the dark alcove above.  At his feet was the ID badge.  Picking it up, he said, “Thanks, Sarah,” and quickly left the building.

My own encounter with Sarah was equally strange.  I was taking photography in my Senior year.  I had just come out of my class which was in the library.  CMSV is particularly picturesque, so I always loved snapping pictures of the campus. The library is across the road from the auditorium.  Aiming the camera at the circular window of the top floor, I said jokingly, “Smile, Sarah.”  Hours later when I was going through the images, I noticed what looked like the face of a little girl sticking her tongue out at me.

What do you think of the pictures?  Is it a trick of the light on old glass or perhaps a real ghost image?  Let me know what you think in the comments.

 

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Hayes Auditorium, College of Mount Saint Vincent
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Possible Ghost Image of Sarah – Hayes Auditorium
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Possible Ghost Image of Sarah – Hayes Auditorium

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! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

 

 

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When Strange Winds Blow

Thanks to Amy from West Virginia for this story!

Amy grew up with her grandparents in an old coal mining town.  Her grandfather built the house with his own hands using leftover wood from the church.  Amy’s grandfather passed away before she was born, but she heard plenty of stories about him.  A coal miner, he had also been a heavy smoker and had a reputation for being a curmudgeon.  Amy never felt her grandfather’s presence in the house while growing up, nor did she experience anything paranormal or out of the ordinary.

However, something strange did happen on the day of her grandfather’s death.  Unknown to Amy’s grandmother at the time, he had been crushed between two mining machines.  It was a terrible accident.

Amy’s grandmother was home alone when suddenly the back door flew open.  The gust of wind tore the curtains down in the living room.  When it reached the other side of the house, the front door opened inward, as if someone had pulled it open from the inside.  Then the wind exited the house and everything was still again.  Later, Amy’s grandmother discovered that this incident had occurred at the time of her husband’s death.

Amy still lives in her childhood home.  Things were fine until she did some major remodeling to modernize the place.  Every so often, a great wind blows through the house.  She has checked it out and there are no sources for these drafts.  She has also occasionally seen a shadow.  She is unsure whether the apparition’s presence makes her feel uncomfortable because of a vibe that it is giving off or if it is because of the background knowledge that she has about her grandfather.  Both Amy and her husband have sensed the spirit.  Sometimes the wind leaves the scent of tobacco in its wake, but no one in the house smokes.

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! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

The House Next Door

Thanks to Stacia from Pennsylvania for sharing this story with me!

Stacia comes from a psychically gifted family.  They always knew that the house next door was haunted.  Former occupants had suffered from drug abuse and suicide, among other trials.  After it was abandoned, Stacia and her family would sit on their front porch and listen to the echo of the doors banging opened and closed throughout the empty house.  Their dogs refused to go anywhere near it and growling could be heard coming from inside the house.  Despite these occurrences, Stacia’s family bought the place so that they could knock it down and extend their property.

After the house had been stripped, Stacia and her three siblings went into the front room to see if they could make contact with whomever was in the house.  Standing shoulder to shoulder, they took each other’s hands.  Almost immediately, the closet doors started repeatedly slamming open and shut.  It was then that they knew that they weren’t dealing with a trapped or sad ghost, but some sort of dark presence.  They quickly exited the house.

Sometime later, Stacia returned with one of her sisters.  They brought along a cat ball toy that had a little bell inside of it to see if they could get the spirit to interact with them.  Stacia took the ball and threw it at the top of the stairs.  The laws of physics should have caused it to fall down and roll around.  Instead, the ball looked as if it was caught in mid-air by something unseen and then it dropped straight down to the ground without any movement at all.  Realizing that they must have found the entity’s location, they went upstairs to investigate.  Once again, the upstairs closet door began rapidly opening and closing of its own volition.  Stacia and her sister ran out of the house.

Stacia was in the house one more time before it was torn down.  She and her sister went down into the basement to start the demolition.  Lying on the floor was an old Maxwell House coffee can that had been cut out on both ends so that you could actually see through it.  Picking up a hammer, they started taking down a wall when a cat-like shriek sounded from their right hand side, followed by punching and banging to their left.  Whipping around, they saw the coffee can rolling along the floor by itself, as if it was being pushed by an invisible hand.

After the house was taken down, Stacia and her family had the ground blessed in an attempt to calm any remaining restless spirits.  Whatever was in the house has apparently moved into the tree that still stands on the former house’s site.  Sometimes at night, if Stacia goes too close to the tree, it will come out and chase her back to her house.  Stacia told me this story while standing by what she calls “the damn tree.”

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! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

Ghostly Vibrations: A Change in Hauntings

Thanks to Paula from Nassau County, Long Island for this story!

Paula grew up in an old farmhouse that was built in the 1900s.  It has four floors including a basement, the first and second floor, and an attic.  Paula is more sensitive to psychic impressions than most of her family members.  She could always tell that her house was haunted.

Most of the paranormal activity happened on the first floor when there wasn’t anyone else down there.  Paula would hear chairs move, as if someone had just scraped them along the floor to get up.  Or there would be the vibrations of footsteps walking along the hallway between the main hall and the kitchen.  Sitting in her room and hearing these noises coming from downstairs, Paula would think, “As long as whatever it is doesn’t come upstairs, I’m okay.”

Some of the sounds were so commonplace that they literally became a part of the background noise of the house.  She’d hear dishes rattling in the cupboards and chalk it up to “old house sounds.”  It was only as she got older and started talking to other people about this, that Paula discovered that those things generally don’t happen in houses.

The house has a tragic past that the residents are familiar with.  Somewhere between 1915 and 1920, a young woman committed suicide in the master bedroom.  When Paula was growing up, her family did some remodeling of the house and found a box of love letters and old-fashioned clothes from 1906.  Apparently, the woman was unhappy in her marriage and had possibly planned to run away, but never found the opportunity to do so.

Another sad event took place in the house in the late 1990s.  A young man died in the basement from complications related to alcohol poisoning.  Paula states that up until this moment, the ghostly activities in the house were almost peaceful or non-intrusive in nature.  After the sudden death, odd things started happening in the house.

There is an apartment in the basement that family members use on and off.  Paula’s brother, Max, and his girlfriend, Michelle, were living there with their baby girl for a while.  Electronics would behave abnormally.  Sometimes, the ceiling fan would turn itself on and spin much faster than it was supposed to on the normal setting.

One evening, Max was in the shower and Michelle was lying down in bed.  Someone called out to her.  Thinking it was Max trying to get her attention, Michelle sat up in bed.  As she did so, she both heard and saw the light switch turn itself off.  Freaked out, she went and asked Max why he had played that trick on her, but he was still in the shower and there was no one else in the basement with them.

About a month later, Michelle was asleep in the basement apartment.  Max was upstairs, keeping watch over their child through the baby monitor.  Suddenly, he saw a pair of legs kicking as if someone was in distress.  He hurried downstairs to find that Michelle was completely fine.  He roused her, told her what he saw, and they both went upstairs to check the baby monitor.

Staring at the screen, they watched something invisible move on the bed.  Then a brilliant, zigzagging light started zooming around the room.  Fearful that whatever that was might mean the baby harm, Michelle went and got their daughter and took her back upstairs with them.  They have felt an uncomfortable energy in that apartment ever since.  Even the family dogs absolutely refuse to go down into the basement.

Paula definitely believes that there is more than one energy in the house now.  The change in the ways the hauntings demonstrated themselves makes me think that the first one that she grew up with is more of a residual haunting.  The second one with the electronics turning themselves on and off and the partial human-like apparition followed by a fast moving light, sounds more like an active haunting.  What do you think?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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! 

If you enjoyed this article and would be interested in supporting my work, please check out my Patreon page. 

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! 

 

 

A Ghostly Roommate

Thanks to Mariann for this story!

Mariann once shared an apartment with the ghost of an elderly man whom she called “Howard.”  Howard was a friendly spirit.  He enjoyed haunting the area by the front door and the kitchen, and also playing harmless pranks on Mariann.  One of Howard’s favorite tricks involved messing with Mariann while she watched TV at night.

Mariann liked to watch TV in the dark.  She had her phone in the living room, but the answering machine was set up in the bedroom.  Sometimes Howard would turn the ringer off on her phone, so that Mariann would not know when she was receiving a call.  Then her message machine would start up seemingly on its own accord and startle Mariann into shrieking.  She always got a mental image of the ghost bowled over with laughter in her kitchen whenever she did that.

“Very funny, Howard,” she’d say once she recovered.  He apparently enjoyed spooking her occasionally, but since it was all in innocent fun, Mariann didn’t really mind.  She and Howard had an agreeable living arrangement with one another.  There was only one time that she accidentally crossed a personal boundary and he made it abundantly clear that she had pissed him off.

A male psychic once visited her apartment and revealed Howard’s actual name to Mariann.  Mariann decided to try addressing the spirit by that name.  Immediately after speaking the new name, a horrible sound tore through the apartment.  Mariann headed in the direction of the terrible noise.  Upon entering her bathroom, she saw that every single ceiling tile had been broken in half, but turned upward.  The resulting clamor had been the sound of them cracking simultaneously.  Frightened by this volatile reaction from a usually tranquil spirit, Mariann apologized and swore never to speak that name again.

While she lived there, Howard was protective of Mariann.  At one point, she was dating someone who turned out to be abusive.  Howard knew the guy was scared of ghosts, so one night he decided to appear to him.  This was enough to send the fellow running out of the apartment.  Mariann ended the relationship soon afterward.  She attributes Howard with having saved her life.

Mariann grew so fond of Howard that when she moved, she asked if he would like to come along to her next apartment.  Howard was touched, but decided to stay behind.  Mariann heard from one of her former neighbors that the new tenant reported seeing the ghost of an elderly man.  The neighbor told the newcomer not to worry.

“That’s just Howard saying hello.”

Author’s Note: Mariann did not reveal the ghost’s other name to me for the purpose of the blog.  Knowing how Howard feels about it, I don’t even want to know.  I respect his wishes.

 

A Haunting in Yonkers

One of the most haunted places that I have ever been in was the apartment building where I grew up in Yonkers, NY.  During the six or seven years that we rented there, my parents and I lived in two different apartments.  One was located on the fifth floor and the other was on the second floor.  All of the paranormal activity took place in the second, larger three-bedroom apartment.

Things started off weird almost from the second we moved in.  I remember my mother cleansing the place with Florida water, smudging the doorways, and mopping the floors. Something about that place wasn’t right.  It felt different from our former apartment.  I think I was about seven years old when we moved in and I instantly felt strange there.  My parents’ bathroom terrified me.  I was always afraid that someone was going to come out of the shower stall and try to grab me.  I didn’t feel that way about the other bathroom that was located toward the front of the apartment though.  I took all of my baths and showers in the front bathroom and insisted on keeping the back bathroom door closed whenever I was in my parents’ bedroom.

Then there were the strange echoes that spoke our names.  This happened to everyone in the house.  We would suddenly hear someone calling our names.  I would hear mom or dad calling me from some other area of the apartment, but when I went to them, they’d say that they never said my name.  This happened to my parents, too.  They would hear either me or think that the other person was calling for them.  This got very frustrating and was particularly eerie whenever it happened because you didn’t know if you were really being called or not.

Other times, I would be playing in my room, deeply immersed in a game when I would suddenly feel someone watching me.  Usually, I would get scared and run and find my parents.  This got a bit better after we got my dog, Bambi.  He was extra-protective of me and I believe that he guarded the house in a spiritual capacity.

One summer day, I had a friend over and we decided to play with my mother’s Ouija board.  I had told my friend that I thought our house was haunted and wanted to see if I could contact the ghost.  I lit a white candle and brought a bowl of water just as I had seen my mother do many times before in her stores and me and my friend sat down to do our first Ouija board reading.  Mom saw what we were doing and must have got a kick out of it because she didn’t stop us.  We had a few false starts where either my friend or I were pushing the planchette, but soon it was flying over the board, spelling out messages.

“Hello.  Is anyone there?” my friend and I asked the board.

The spirit responded back with, “Yes.  Hello.”

My friend and I looked at each other.  I swallowed.  “Are you the ghost who is haunting this house?”

The spirit responded back, “Yes.”  We started giggling a bit out of nervousness, but I warned my friend that Mom told me that we always had to be respectful of spirits.  “Have you been in my room watching me play?” I asked.

“I have been in all the rooms,” said the spirit.  “I used to live here.”

At this point, my mother came over and started taking down the notes for us because they were coming so fast.  The spirit identified herself as a woman who used to live in a mansion that had been on the site where our apartment building now stood.  Having read enough ghost stories to know about unfinished business and trapped spirits, I asked, “Why are you still here?  How did you die?”

The spirit spelled out, “I hung myself.”

“Okay…Time to say goodbye now, kids,” piped my mother.  She jumped on the board with me and said, “We’re very sorry to hear that.  We wish you peace.  I’ll light a white candle for you to help you cross over to the other side.”  The planchette spelled out “Yes, thank you, and goodbye,” and my mother closed up the board.  When I asked her about it later, she said that the board was just probably messing with us and not to read too much into it.  I asked if we could move, but my mother said no.  We had to learn to live with the ghost and vice versa.  I decided not to play with the Ouija board anymore after that.

That winter we had a series of terrible snowstorms.  My father went out to help people shovel and dig out their cars.  One of the people was an elderly woman who happened to be a local historian.  She invited us in for coffee and hot cocoa and asked us where we lived.  When we told her, she started telling us about why there were huge slabs of slate in the wooded area that surrounded our apartment.  Back in Victorian times there had been mansions in this area where people like the Rockefellers hosted and attended great balls.  A lot of the mansions had been knocked down, the grounds bought up, and real estate moguls had built new housing on top of them.  She winked as us, “But I still like to think that you can feel the spirit of those people in the air around here, don’t you?”

I stared at my mother.  She turned to the lady.  “You have no idea,” she said.