ActivePaper Archive Is there a Ghost in my Residence Hall? - The Tower, 8/28/2009

Is there a Ghost in my Residence Hall?


The Urban Legends and Famous Spots that Haunt Campus


The Exorcism Room in Caldwell Hall is near empty, with only a chair, kneeler and a few religous photos on the wall.


Tower Staff

Hearing strange sounds from Caldwell Hall? Wondering what that brick structure is on your way to Marist? Look no further, as The Tower brings to you some of the most popular urban legends and famous spots on campus.

Urban Legends

1. Susan Sarandon

Hollywood actress and alum Susan Sarandon, B.A. Drama, 1968, supposedly lost her virginity to her husband and fellow alum Chris Sarandon B.A. in Flather Hall. The room is always being debated, but most say it was on the 5th floor for sure.

2. Caldwell Hall

There are numerous rumors about the haunting of the infamous exorcism room in the attic of Caldwell Hall. The room, furnished with a glow in the dark crucifix hanging from the ceiling, prayer cards and pieces of broken glass scattered across the fl oor, with no broken windows in the room, has invited students into a tangled web of speculation regarding religion and the supernatural.

One story claims the attic is haunted by a former Civil War soldier who wanted to have an exorcism, believing his body was fi lled with evil spirits. The priests refused to perform it because he was a soldier who represented the south. Now his soul haunts the room.

A different story circulating says that a former Tower member went to the exorcism room to find out the real truth. Because he did not return, a friend went to the room to fi nd him. The Tower writer was found badly

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such horror that he immediately hung himself and died in the room as well.

Another story is of the tragic death of Rev. William Fogarty in June, 1896. A sick Fr. Fogarty could not sleep and had gone to the fourth floor of Caldwell to get fresh air when he lost balance and fell out of the window, falling to his death. When at the hospital, however, doctors found no bruises or cuts on Fogarty’s body.

Another rumor holds that there is a journal that describes the real exorcism that was written about in the novel ‘The Exorcist’ by William Peter Blatty (the troubled priest in that movie version was played by Jason Miller, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and University alumnus). Some have claimed that this journal is actually a mystical exorcism book which has only been printed into two copies, one of which is kept in the room and the other at the Vatican in Rome.

One widely speculated stories is of a student who went to the exorcism room to get his hands on the book. After successfully retrieving it, the student took the book back with him to his dorm room. When reading it, a grim-faced priest came to the door demanding it back. The book, however, would not leave his hands. In a state of shock, the student raced backwards and fell out of the window, breaking his ankle. When the boy went to the hospital, the nurse claimed that this was not the first time a student was injured while exploring the Caldwell attic, as she had treated another student a few years prior.

The exorcism room was locked in spring of 2007, and a fire alarm will now go off if anyone enters the attic area. In reality, the passage way into the room has been closed because it is unstable and dangerous (The hallway is two planks that lay across a hundred year- , making easy to fall through the wood and land on top of the roofing panels), yet many students believe it was locked because of the evil spirits that haunt the room.

Famous Spots on Campus

1. Observatory

Behind Reardon, next to the trailers, and along the path, are the ruins of what is left of the fi rst observatory on campus, built in 1890. It was the first of its kind in the region and the ancestor of the modern observatories. It is built on the 77th meridian of the earth, to work in line with the sun and moon. The original structure was destroyed in a fire, and what remains is a stone structure with a hole in the middle, which was the shaft for the observatory.

2. Civil War Fort Slemmer

Behind Marist Hall and O’Boyle Hall, the north woods are home to a civil war fort, Fort Slemmer. It was a smaller garrison of the main fort, Fort Totten, just a ways down the road from the University. Not all the soldiers lived at the garrison, however. It was an important spot for the Union, as from the top of the hill, one could see for miles.

There are remainders of a rifl e trench for the army that used the fort that goes all the way around, through the woods, to the road. Fighting occurred mostly during the warm weather here, as soldiers retreated back to Fort Totten during the winter months.

Because of the historical significance of the sites in the north woods, federal mandates would require the University to do research before any time of demolition or construction would take place on the land.