Friday, October 31, 2014

A Haunted Ride Through Campus

Get ready for the Fordham Mash, it's a Rose Hill Smash!

Keating Hall on an eerie night

“This. Is. Halloween.” The song that’s heard throughout college campuses all around the country today means only one thing: It’s time to celebrate the #1 spook holiday, Halloween!  And in order to properly celebrate this holiday, scary stories are a must.  Well, lucky for you, Fordham’s Rose Hill campus does not lack its fair share of unnerving legends. These tales haunt students until the day they walk across the stage with a diploma in hand, leaving these chilling stories in their rear-view mirror for good.  So, to help get your spook on, here are two of the many paranormal accounts on campus:

--Que The Twilight Zone theme song--

The Dead Exorcist
Setting: Queen's Court
Time: August 2003

Before freshmen move in, the RAs for the year have to be on campus early and make sure everything is in shape for the big move-in day.  This includes making rounds throughout their halls and checking the rooms.  Sounds straightforward enough, right? Well, no.  During an RA’s rounds, one of the of the room’s mattresses was turned vertical.  As any rational, non-spirit believing RA would think, it was a simple harmless joke by amateur prankster. 
The Haunted Queen's Court
But it happened repeatedly every night, and no one ever owned up to it.  After a while, the spirit world and extraterrestrials began to cross his and the other RA’s minds.  I know, I know you’re still probably not scared. Well, this is where the story takes a direct flight to destination chills.  The fiend was still working its magic and flipping the mattress, and the RAs were still concerned.  One night around 2:30 AM, the RA awoke to a knock at his door.  Confused and tired, he opened the door to an elderly Jesuit who told him: "Someone must have been praying pretty loudly if they got me up at this hour. Sorry about that, it normally stays at the other end of the hall, but it must have gotten out. Don't worry, I took care of it." The mattress never moved again. Chills? If not, good because we’re just getting started. Realizing what the priest did, the RA went to the nun who made the call to the priest. After thanking her for bringing the mystery to an end, the nun simply said she made no such call and neither had anyone else.  Curious, she asked what the priest looked like.  There was only one Jesuit with his description. The only problem, he died ten years earlier. He was also a known to perform his fair share of exorcisms. And this was a successful one.

This next one’s a real Graveyard Smash! It takes a team even better than the Mystery Machine to figure it out. 

The Hall of Haunts
Setting: Duane Library, the Admission Building

The entrance of Duane... spooky, right?
Duane Library is currently the home to the Office of Admissions and the Theology Department.  Before this, it was the student library and even housed students at one point. One part of Duane that’s lasted the ages are the ghosts.  However, these ghosts and spirits may seem more fit for the Haunted Mansion than a Paranormal Activity movie.  Why the Haunted Mansion? Because of the way they interact with us mortal beings.  In one of the hallways, there are portraits on the wall of every Fordham president dating back to Dagger John himself.  Some claim these photographs house the spirits, and the only way to find out is to stare intensely at the pictures.  As anyone trying to find some fright during this All Hollow’s Eve season, I tried this for myself.  I walked into Duane alone at 9PM, looked up the stairwell, saw a tarp hanging across the ceiling, and then saw a man with a mask behind the tarp.  He was only working on construction, but this was still enough to tap into my inner Scooby Doo and Shaggy and get out faster than you can say “Meddling kids!” Although I was not able to find the truth behind this legend, I felt the spirits keeping me from the portraits (or just a man doing his job). 

Don’t believe me or these tales? Just ask the great poet, Edgar Allen Poe who famously wrote about campus in “The Bells.” He wrote: “What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!/ In the startled ear of night/How they scream out their affright!/ Too much horrified to speak,/ They can only shriek, shriek.” You can say he’s pretty good with words. 

You can take Poe’s word for the validity of these ghost-tales or not.  But as every past and present Fordham student knows, the only way to truly find out is to become a Ram yourself! So it’s up to you to find out, if you dare! 

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