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!
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My mom, Rita Horan Krsak, graduated from Seattle College in 1947 and worked there in the Presidents Office and on the switchboard until my brothers birth. She loved SU, and met my dad at a St. Paddys Day dance. Her last 9 months were spent in the loving care of BBS, now Chardan. She died peacefully as we said the rosary at her bedside. If she has the ability to hang out at SU, she would probably do so, but only as a good spirit with happy memories. The photo in the current issue of the SU magazine is not of her with my dad. Its of me, but she may be more present to SU than I am!
I actually remember a handprints incident in Campion involving what was later decided to be a prank using glow-in-the-dark paint, was it really? ;) What always frightened me as a student was the Lynn Building. I'm surprised that the former mortuary wouldnt make this post.
What about the transient guy that was found in the steam pipes? Discovered after a week of a horrible smell? The jumper was an Art Student from 10th floor Campion. She lived.
There was an old apartment/ girls dorm across from Pigot. Everyone saw and heard ghosts or spirits there, or maybe just the old pipes. The building hadnt always been part of the school. I bet previous older residents, who stayed as spirits, didnt appreciate all the noise students made while living there.
I didnt want to do a written final for a very tough sociology teacher; so I challenged her to give me an oral exam of any length in her office in the building. While I answered her questions she put on a bright scarf and makeup. As if that wasnt distracting enough: a mans face was visible to me in the top corner of the mirror watching the instructor then winking at me. I believe he was a lecherous old peeping Tom ghost. Im still glad I didnt have to write that final exam for her. She gave me the only tarnish on my perfect grades at SU. I hate to think how much tarnish I would have gotten if I had written it. I also wonder what happened to the old spooks.
Its so funny that they changed the story of the room and the floor that the girl jumped out of in order to make people feel less nervous. She jumped out of the last room next to the stairs on the 11th floor and on the south side of Campion.
When I was living in that room, room 1111, myself and my friends experienced everything from things going missing, to whispers from nowhere, to late night banging on our door with no one there. One night I sat up to wait for the loud bang on our door and right when it happened I opened the door to discover no one was there. The worst experience I had was when my roommate was out of town one weekend in October and a book was throw across the room with serious force and hit me in the back of the head. I only lived there for a semester but it took a blessing of the room to get the spirit activity to quiet down. Definitely a living situation I will never forget.
When I was worked at The Spectator, we would often have doors in the office slam, one of the couple windows shake a bit, and often feel like someone was entering or leaving the room. Youd feel this cold presence all of a sudden. Once, while going through the archives, I found a story about a UW college student who had been drunk one night and went down a manhole near Campion because he thought it was an underground tunnel. He ended up dying in what was actually a boiler room nearby. After I read that, I always thought it was probably him who was haunting the already creepy Spectator office.
For about six years, I was the sacristan/altar server for the 7:15 a.m. Mass in the Chapel on the 2nd floor of the Administration Bldg. I'd set things up early, then pray awhile. One morning, I turned around and to my surprise saw a younger priest in one of those cassocks down to the floor all priests wore before Vatican II happened. I did not hear him come in, he didn't talk but just nodded and smiled. I knew who all the Jesuits were, and never saw him before. I turned around front again. About 3 minutes later, I turned back around. He was gone, and I never the door shut, either when he came or when he left. And that chapel door does make a noise, except for this person. That happened to me two different times, same priest. I do think that at least one former Jesuit member of the faculty still hangs out in Administration Building.
2005: campion 9. definitely campion 9