Among Seattle U residents, staff and alumni, legends of ghosts are whispered in hushed tones every time an empty elevator mysteriously opens, the lights switch off or a door slams. Are these ghosts or merely our nerves getting the best of us? In the spirit of Halloween, we thought we’d let you decide.
After nearly 125 years as an institution, each building on campus has its own stories passed from one generation of residents to the next. According to a former RA and RHA staff member, there’s more than just school spirit in Campion Hall.
Rumor has it that the ghost of a female student, whose life was tragically cut short, haunts the 10th floor.
According to the campus legend, handprints appear on windows, the elevator doors open late at night to reveal no passengers, and some students have even claimed seeing the girl in her former room. The exact room number remains a mystery, to prevent undue panic, but it’s said this one room has a higher than average turn-over rate.
“About eight years ago, a sensitive RA had a séance with the girl and asked her to stop bothering everyone.”
Questions remain as to if the séance worked or if the girl still lingers on the 10th floor.
Take a walk down the hill from Campion, and you’ll find yourself at Chardin. Once the Bessie Burton Sullivan Skilled Nursing Residence for the elderly, it is now a residence hall that also houses classrooms, labs and meeting spaces. When a place bears witness to the final moments of so many souls, it’s bound to leave a lasting impression on a place. Though remodeled, the building still holds the telltale physical signs of its former life, including a double-sided elevator designed to easily move caskets carrying the deceased in and out of the building. In the residential suites, fixed above the beds, you’ll find electrical outlets, placed high to accommodate respirators and other life supporting machines.
But what about those who passed away within its halls, have any spirits lingered?
According to Maria Ochoa, current Assistant-Director of Magis and former resident-minister who once lived in Chardin, the presence of the departed is felt by those now living there.
“I had students come to me saying that they experienced things. I’ve also heard there was an RA who saw an old woman in one of the windows. At one point I had two ROTC students come visit me, because one of the boys felt that there was the presence of something dark in his room. He said a dark shadowy man would appear from time to time and it would really freak him out.”
As a resident, Maria had her own brushes with the paranormal. While getting ready in her bathroom one morning, she felt a hand brush against her arm, giving her chills. A few days later, Maria had another encounter, in her bathroom. While brushing her teeth before bed, a shampoo bottle flew out of the shower and landed at the other end of her bathroom.
Fr. Mike Bayard, Jesuit in-residence in Chardin, has been approached by students who’ve had lights switch off and on, doors slam, or who feel a presence following them up the staircase.
“You always feel like there is someone with you on the stairs.” Fr. Mike said. “I myself have had two experiences in the building. Shortly after moving into Chardin, I was in bed reading when my room was filled with the smell of an old woman’s perfume. I am not an old woman and I don’t wear perfume so it obviously wasn’t mine. I live in Chardin year round, and in the summer I’m often the only one there. But at night, as I close my door and get ready for bed, I can hear people shuffling back and forth outside my room on the top floor.”
While Fr. Mike acknowledges a presence in the building, he isn’t ever frightened by it. “Students ask me to preform blessings to get rid of the spirits, but this is how I see it – this was a nursing home. These were good people. We’ve already asked them to move once - we shouldn’t do it again.”
So the next time you visit campus and a door slams, the lights flash, or a hand brushes your arm it might be a former Seattle U resident just saying, “Hello.”
Have you experienced any ghostly activity during your time at Seattle U? Share it with us in the comments!