Cabrini: haunted or hoax?

mansion

Graphic designed by Emily Rowan and Jill Nawoyski

A student typically does not attend Cabrini for four years without hearing at least one or two stories about how the campus is haunted. Multiple sources online claim that Grace Hall, the Cabrini mansion and Woodcrest Hall are all haunted.

According to an online blog called Pennsylvania Haunts, there used to be an underground tunnel that connected Grace Hall to the Mansion and it was used as a hiding space during the Revolutionary War days. The legend claims that the tunnel collapsed one day, trapping people and burying them alive. Today, many faculty and staff members who have had offices in Grace Hall believe that there is a ghost or “something beyond themselves” lurking the long narrow halls of the old building.

Vonya Womack, an instructor in the business department, firmly believes that there was a ghostly presence in her previous office located on the second floor of Grace Hall. Womack claims that her photos would never stay on the walls and her plants constantly died.

One day in particular though, Womack had an experience she will never forget. She had a book lying on her printer and a coffee mug sitting on her desk. She left the room and when she came back the book was on the floor and so was her coffee, spilled. Womack said, “I just sat there and thought ‘there is no way that book could have flown off of my printer and hit that coffee.’”

Womack eventually got moved into a new office nearby. A new graduate professor who was not at Cabrini for long, was moved into Womack’s old office. “We were in a meeting and she starts talking about how she is having these things happen in her office and how none of her plants are staying alive,” Womack said. “I must have turned sheet white because I just sat there and thought you have got to be kidding me.” That is when Womack knew for sure that the office was haunted.

The second and more popular story about why Cabrini is haunted starts with a girl named Mary who lived in the mansion. As a young girl, Mary used to play with the son of the carriage master, Xavier. As she got older she was forbidden to talk to Xavier because of her high status and his lower status but by this point, Mary had already fallen in love with Xavier and they were expecting a baby.

When Mary’s father found out about the situation he went looking for Xavier. The boy feared the consequences of Mary’s father so much that he hanged himself from a nearby bell tower. It is even said that the tower was closed off forever after that night but the rope still hangs inside.

When Mary heard what happened, she threw herself from a balcony killing herself and her unborn child. It is said that Mary, Xavier and the baby were buried in the peach orchard nearby where Woodcrest Hall now stands.

Some say Mary, a girl with long blonde hair and wearing a dress, still roams the area in front of Woodcrest Hall looking for her baby.

Some also believe that Mary’s father roams the hall of his Mansion.

“I’m pleased to report so far I haven’t experienced or seen anything otherworldly,” Julie Cruikshank, an employee of Cabrini who works in the mansion, said. “It is a little creepy… but if someone is up here with me, they’re keeping a low profile and I thank them for that!”

Cabrini’s haunted tales live on each year, especially during the month of October. Maricia Marchetta, a junior who is part of Cabrini’s CAP board, said she personally still can not decide if the campus is hunted or not, but she definitely thinks that the idea and stories about the hauntings inspire and add to the experience of Cabrini’s annual “Freak Week.”

 

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