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xx Students, staff can't explain weird happenings
« Thread started on: Nov 5th, 2005, 07:02am »

Students, staff can't explain weird happenings
School is rich with a heritage of stories and legends.


Tribune Staff Writer

Over the years, a silhouette of a woman's head seems to have formed on the monument to Zelie Selby, a Saint Mary's student who died in 1870 and was buried on campus. Some say it's from how the stone weathered, while others aren't sure. Legend is Zelie keeps watch over Saint Mary's students.
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Tribune Photo/JIM RIDER

SOUTH BEND -- The students came back to the residence hall and heard toilets flushing.

It was fall semester break, and LeMans Hall at Saint Mary's College was nearly empty except for some athletes staying on campus.

"They were flushing nonstop," junior Anne Cusack, a volleyball player, said of the rushing water she and other women heard coming from the public restrooms and some residents' rooms.

Simply by turning the water off and back on, campus maintenance workers were able to stop the repeated flushings, she said.

Cusack and her friends were not alarmed by the incident.

It's one of the unexplained episodes that comes with living in LeMans Hall, some students say.

Last year, at the same time, it was sinks that kept running.

Over the years, students have reported seeing unexplained apparitions in the halls, hearing strange sounds, finding furniture moved and possessions that disappear.

Could these things have been caused by ghosts that inhabit the hall?

History of haunted stories

Saint Mary's is rich with a heritage of ghost stories and legends passed down from one class to another, said John Kovach, college archivist.Whether the stories are believed or not, they often provide an explanation for events that seem to defy logic.

The Tribune found a couple of Saint Mary's stories mentioned on a list of haunted sites in Indiana.

One involved the LeMans bell tower where some say a girl can be seen hanging from a rope because she committed suicide there.

Kovach has heard the legend. "There's nothing that I can find in college records to support it," he said.

Cusack said she has not observed any figures in the bell tower, nor did any other students asked admit to having seen anything ghostly up there.

Such stories may be one reason the bell tower was closed, Kovach said.

Once in a while the tower is opened, he said, and students get a chance to go up and see what's there.

Interest in the Saint Mary's ghost stories and legends increase this time of year, Kovach said.

Sophomore Megan Myers, a LeMans resident last year, said she heard some of the haunted tales during a "ghost story night" in the hall, part of the college's oral tradition Kovach cited.

Many of the campus stories were compiled a few years ago, Kovach said, by three alumni who wrote a book, "Quiet Hours," about the college's legends, mysteries and ghosts.

A mysterious silhouette

While Kovach found no record of a young woman killing herself in the bell tower, he tells the story of a young student who died of an illness in 1870. She is buried on campus in the cemetery usually reserved for nuns behind Regina Hall.

Zelie Selby was the daughter of a traveling judge from Tennessee. In the spring of her junior year, school ledgers show increasing doctors' visits and the purchase of medicine and even braces that summer.

Three weeks into the fall semester in September 1870, the 20-year-old senior died of the unknown illness. The final ledger entry is for the purchase of black crepe paper and saint slippers, presumably for her wake, Kovach said.
There are numerous ghost stories and tales of unexplained happenings about LeMans Hall, on the campus of Saint Mary's College. One story says a girl can be seen hanging by a rope in the bell tower.

Tribune Photo JIM RIDER

Selby's father requested she be buried on campus. Her grave is marked by a tall marble monument.

If you look at the base of the monument, particularly in the moonlight, Kovach said, there appears to be a silhouette of the head and shoulders of a woman. Is it just the wear pattern on the stone or something else?

"Some say it's Zelie watching over the students in Regina Hall," Kovach said.

The archivist said some visitors also have experienced an apparition of a woman close to her grave.

LeMans ghost stories

At LeMans Hall, there are many stories of strange sightings and experiences.

During two years of living there, Cusack has had several unexplained episodes.

One day last year, she and her roommate were in their room when the blender suddenly came on.

Cusack said she had to get up and go over to it to turn it off and found it unplugged.

She said she and her roommate just figured it was one of the hall's ghosts.

Residents of the hallway known as Queen's Court believe they have their own ghost, named "Mary."

The story is that "Mary" killed herself in a room at the end of the hall, located on the second floor under the chapel.

"She takes things, and you have to ask for them back," Myers explained. "They do come back."

Last year, one girl she knew found her toothbrush missing.

As the tradition goes, she asked, "Mary, may I please have it back," Myers said.

"It came back in her desk drawer. It was just sitting there," said Myers. Other residents denied doing anything with it.

Students tell similar stories about disappearing lipsticks, jewelry and knickknacks.

Body by the lake

Another campus mystery Kovach recounts involves the body of a young woman that turned up in a shallow grave in 1906 or 1907 as workmen were building Lake Marian, an artificial lake near LeMans.

A search of local records and newspapers turned up no information about who the woman in the grave was or what happened to her, Kovach said,

"The story is the body is still buried at the end of the lake," said Kovach. "Some people say you can sometimes make out the features of a face looking up at you from the bottom of the lake and, possibly, it's that young lady."

A plausible explanation Kovach gives is that an early family lived in the area and may have lost a child. "It's hard to tell from the census records," he said.

Archivist hears footsteps

A few years ago, Kovach himself had an experience that could have been the basis for a ghost story.

He was in a lounge at LeMans about 10 p.m., preparing an exhibit for the following day's reunion activities. Students were gone and no one was around.

"I heard a door open and close at the far end of the hallway and heard footsteps, like from hard-soled shoes."

Kovach walked down the hall and found nothing. This happened to him two or three times.

Finally, he saw one of the housekeeping employees.

"She had come through the tunnels and I didn't know it. We kept missing each other. She was walking to the next room and got there before I got down the hall," he said.

His story is similar to some told by students and employees who have heard such sounds, never saw a real person and blame a ghost.
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xx Re: Students, staff can't explain weird happenings
« Reply #1 on: Nov 5th, 2005, 07:25am »

Wow very interesting Nocomis i live in indiana it seems we get alot of that type of stuff but no one ever posts it Thanks for that post.
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