Haunted Marywood – real or just pretend?

The lone door in the Liberal Arts Center looms at the top of a staircase. Photo credit Lauren Reinhardt.

Jeremy Barket

Staff Writer

Dorm rooms oddly opening for no specific reason. Books and posters randomly flying off desks. Ghosts of former nuns who have died appearing in strange places and hallways. Third floor of Regina…
This isn’t where my investigation of the haunted places of Marywood University started.
Actually, I was close to giving up if it wasn’t for the perseverance of James Sullivan.

I, myself, have always been interested in things that could be haunted, dabbled with the Ouija board a few times, and have a certain distinct interest in horror movies. The psychological thrillers full of suspense, not so much the ‘hack-and-slash,’ gore-filled horror movies.

James Sullivan is Marywood University’s Director of Record Management and Archives. His office is on the third floor of the library, and although he’s only been a part of the Marywood family for one and a half years, he does a fine job of keeping the history of Marywood in check. I also appreciate his fellow affinity for the haunted and the unknown.

“I never heard of anything.”

This was Mr. Sullivan’s response to my inquiries of any scary stories or strange happenings around Marywood. We both agreed that because the buildings are so old and that being so close to several cemeteries, it would make sense for some kind of paranormal activity.

Needless to say, we pressed on.

Mr. Sullivan opened the door to the Marywood Archives, which houses various student publications throughout all of Marywood’s near-hundred-year history, including the student literary publication, The Bayleaf.

Although The Bayleaf now features original artwork, poetry, and short stories – the issues from 1919 took on a slightly different tone. Mostly, it was a print update of what events occured during the year on various dates.

We figured there may be some stories of ghost sightings around the dates in October. You know, Halloween, less hours of sunlight, scary stuff, right? Well, the only scary thing that happened during the olden days was a Halloween dance that included plenty of ‘square and round dancing.’ (Insert laugh track.)

Basically, having no luck while searching through these ancient tomes, we basically decided it was nearly a bust.
In the eternal words of wisdom of Mr. Sullivan, “If you keep scratching below the surface, you’ll find something.”
And find we did. Eventually. After searching through the older Bayleaf editions, we decided maybe older newspaper articles would provide any luck.

Again, no dice.

Finally, we asked various people around the library. This is where we got some interesting stories!
According to Lee Jamison, “they used to take the dead nuns and embalm them there.” And where is that? “The basement of Loughran. Underneath the chapel,” Jamison adds.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Apparently, the third floor of Regina is haunted, too. And it’s been like that for years.
According to Melissa Notarnicola, Marywood University librarian, “there was a nun who hung herself in the stairway of Regina, and sometimes you can hear her crying.”

Some of Marywood University’s housekeepers claim that sometimes the ghosts of nuns who have passed on throughout the years can be seen in the LAC. I found all of these stories highly interesting. It makes sense to me because of the close-by cemeteries and the near-hundred-years old buildings.

Throughout that history, one of the former Marywood buildings caught fire and burned down in 1971. Personally, I was slightly surprised not hearing about any spirits or strange
appearances on campus relating to this fire. But then again, nobody died in the fire.

I am going to leave the rest of the investigation up to you – the readers! Keep your eyes and ears on the lookout for any strange sights or noises. Perhaps if you’re feeling especially brave, you might want to walk through the nearby cemeteries without a flashlight during the night time hours to spot any apparitions.

There is more information on haunted locations in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It seems that Northeast Pennsylvania even has its own ‘ghost hunters’ team. Their website is www.nepaparanormal.com. The team was founded December 2007 by Katie, Bob, Mike, and Chantel. They do free ghost investigations!

Or maybe if you want to explore more areas in NEPA, as the Suscon Screamer has been around for a great deal of years. Maybe you should check up on her.

If you believe the hauntings are real or just students getting really freaked out – it’s up to you. Just be careful walking across the commons in front of the LAC, as I hear there are dead nuns buried underneath the cement.

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Beware of walking across this cemetery during the night hours! Photo credit Robert Hannon.