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SMC hosts haunted past

Hayley Miller | Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In daylight, Saint Mary’s is peaceful, historic.

But when students shut off the lights, centuries-old legends awake in the night.

This Halloween, campus staff and students shared the lesser-known ghost stories preserved in Saint Mary’s oral tradition.

Freshmen living in Queen’s Court in Le Mans Hall may get to meet Mary, a student who allegedly hung herself in the dorm many years ago.

Freshman Julie Galvin, who currently lives in Mary’s supposed room in Queen’s Court, said she believes she saw Mary late one night.

“It was around 2 a.m. and out of the corner of my eye I saw a profile of a woman with a greenish tint,” Galvin said. “She was standing by my roommate’s bed staring at the wall.”

Galvin said the image vanished very quickly.

“I was a little freaked out, but it was a very beautiful image,” she said.

On the College grounds, Saint Mary’s archivist John Kovach said a family named McComb once lived on the land that is now Lake Marian, which was sold to the Sisters of the Holy Cross in the early 1800s. As the construction crew was digging the new lake, Kovach said they found the remains of a woman’s body with hair still attached to the skull.

“No one knows if the woman found was part of the McComb family, but her body remains to this day below the south end of Lake Marian,” Kovach said. “Now, on a foggy night, if you look closely at the rippling water, you can see the reflection of a Victorian woman.”

High above the rest of these sites is the bell tower of Le Mans Hall built in the late 1800s -one of the most haunted spots in Indiana.

Hambling said Saint Mary’s ghost stories tell of two people who hung themselves in the bell tower, and if one was to look up at the tower in the dead of night, he or she might see the shape of a hanging body.

Lisa Schmidt-Goessling, hall director for Le Mans Hall, has lived below the tower since July 2004.

“For the first couple months I lived here, though I always thought I heard footsteps in the tower above me,” Schmidt-Goessling said. “I kept asking security to go check it out.”

As the overseer of all maintenance and utilities, Hambling said he believes there are logical explanations for many of the “spooky” noises that can be heard around campus.  

“There are pipes that run through the walls, loud heaters in the attic, and large steel doors that can sound like dungeon gates,” Hambling said. “Many of these buildings are very old with many utility systems; they are bound to be some creaks and groans.”

However, Kovach takes a different approach. 

“There are things in this world that cannot be explained,” Kovach said.