As we return to campus after a restful, and hopefully productive, study week we now enter the month of November – a time of remembrance for those who have passed. Not to be too morbid but several people have died on this very campus. So if you didn’t get your fair share of creepy ghost stories on Halloween, then this article is for you.
Some say that ghosts still haunt parts of the campus – like the projectionist that moves the chair on the balcony in the Aula Maxima, to show whether he likes a performance or not, or the dog-man spirit that growls in the infamous ‘blood room’ of Rhetoric House. We’ve all heard the whispers of these ghost stories, on the tours or through late night googling, but have you ever wondered if they are actually true?
One night, as I was leaving a building on South Campus, I curiously asked the security guard who was escorting me out if he had any ghost stories. He told me that every security guard of South Campus has and if they were to tell you no, they’re lying. During their overnight shifts, they have witnessed various supernatural activities. We, at MU Times, interviewed a number of these guards on their spookiest experiences on south campus. They have asked not to be named. Unfortunately, we couldn’t use all of the stories but here are the best ones.
Our first story takes place on a summer’s night, at around 2am. His first night on the job, a guard was patrolling St. Joseph’s square and saw a group of men dressed in priest attire. He began to approach them, staying about six steps behind. The only light at the time came from near the archway between Physics Hall and Callan hall. As he reached the archway, he realised that these men had disappeared. His next experience was that following spring, this time with another security guard accompanying him. They were doing the lock up when they saw an old man in the Bicentenary Garden. It was 11.00pm and the campus was closed. They felt bad telling the old man to leave, but as they approached him he vanished right before their eyes. This time he questioned it more and even had a witness to this activity with him. He soon learned that it was just part of the job.
The next story happened in broad daylight in the Aula Maxima. A security guard was checking fire exits with the fire warden. While on this task, they both saw a man walk across the balcony and into the wall.
The fire warden asked, “Who is that?”
To which the guard simply replied “Don’t mind that; it is just the ghost.”
He didn’t believe him, so the guard showed him that the way to the balcony was locked and that no one could get up there. For those that don’t know, the story of the Aula is that a
projectionist was blown out of the window, after being electrocuted by the projector in the 1940s. Security guards spoke of regularly being asked for a light from a man in the dark, outside the Aula and then him disappearing. It is known that the projectionist was a smoker.
This next experience was across from the swimming pool, at the grey stairs by Rhetoric Annex. A seamstress worked there in the past. She fell and broke her neck. One guard admitted that, while on patrol, he could hear singing in this area. Originally he took no notice of it.
Until a few months later.
See, there used to be a snooker room there and two students always played until late, around 10pm. One evening, at about 9:50pm, the guard heard a thundering sound from upstairs. The two students came running out. One of them was hysterically crying. The guard asked what was wrong and the students exclaimed, “A WOMAN!! THERE WAS WOMAN! WE HEARD HER SINGING AND SAW HER DRIFT PAST US THROUGH THE WALL!”
After this experience, he never found those students playing in the snooker room after dark ever again.
However, out of all these tales, none are like this. This security guard stated, “It was the worst experience I ever had; it was so bad I had to go to a priest because I couldn’t sleep for three nights”. He vowed that since this experience, he would never laugh at someone discussing a supernatural experience, because of how much it freaked him out. He nearly even quit.
All the students were gone and it was the night shift. After leaving Loftus, he was passing Riverstown. Outside, next to the semi-circle, there are three doors, with glass in the middle one. “I saw a shadow on the outside window” he said. It was nearly 2am at night. “Someone must have broken in”, he thought, “will I check or call the guards?” He decided to check on his own.
He opened the door, went upstairs, turned on the lights and checked the big back door. There was nothing there. To this day, he questions his next actions. In hindsight, he should have gone to the front door turned off the light, alarmed the building and walked out, but instead he turned off the lights at the back door. This left him walking through darkness, with the only light coming through the glass of the door. All of a sudden, he heard a loud banging by his right side. He looked over and saw nothing. He looked back and there was a large, 6’3, black figure towering above him, whom he described as being as dark as charcoal, with white eyes, screaming at him in pain. He was frozen on the spot; he couldn’t move while this “thing was screaming at me”. The whole experience lasted an entire 15 seconds. Then it flew into the wall and left. The guard got out of the building, as his legs almost fell to the floor like jelly. Outside, he saw one of the campus Monsignors. The Monsignor asked “What was that awful racket?” The guard chose to respond professionally and said, “Oh it was a bad frequency on the radio”. The Monsignor replied, “There are bad frequencies in that building alright”.
After three nights of not sleeping, seeing this thing in his dreams, he went back to the priest to ask for help. The priest gave him advice of what to do in that situation. The guard took it on board and hasn’t had an experience in Riverstown since. He later found out, from the cleaning lady who worked there, that a priest that had once worked there died, screaming in pain.
So now you know some more ghost stories around our great campus. Please be mindful and respectful of the dead this November and maybe ask a security guard on south campus if you have any further questions about these tales.
PHOTO CREDIT: Liam O’Brien, Copyright@2016