Saturday, August 15, 2009

Spooky Seton Hill

Sisters' Cemetery from Historic Campus Architecture

Founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1918, Greensburg's Seton Hill University started out as a small liberal arts college for women. It has since grown into a 2000-student coeducational university. Some of its buildings date back a century or more, and like any Catholic college worth its salt, it has its campus ghosts.

Administration Building: In the early 1900's, an elderly sister fell asleep in the basement of the Motherhouse, now used as the administration building. A custodian saw her laying there and assumed she was dead, and she was buried alive (the good sister must have been quite a heavy sleeper!) When she woke up in a pine box, she beat on the lid of the casket until she finally passed away for real. It's said that you can hear the spirit of the nun pounding away in the Administration building late at night.

Brownlee Hall: It's alleged that footsteps can be heard running up and down the hall of the first floor of the freshman woman's dorm at night. However, whenever a student opens their door to investigate, no one can be seen, even as the noise goes on.

More lore is that you can see the shadow of a girl that hung herself in her dorm room, cast on the wall. There's also the story of a mysterious purple light that comes out of the corner of a first floor room.

Maura Hall:
Built in 1908, this is where the Media Center is located and the upper-class women are dormed at SHU. The spirits of the old teaching nuns have been reported roaming its corridors.

Main Parking Lot: The ghost of a priest has been seen crossing the main lot during the evening.

St. Joseph's Chapel: It's located on the third floor of the Administration building, and was built in 1896 as part of the original Motherhouse. It features the apparition of a nun in the right hand room next to the organ. The organ door will open and close on its own, and a chorus of ghostly voices singing and music coming from the otherwise empty room is often heard.

Also, there's the legend of a student who became so depressed that she went to the bell tower (the entrance is in the chapel), and threw herself off, committing suicide. Her ghost is also said to be seen around campus.

Sisters' Cemetery: The graveyard was planned and laid out in 1889 when the Seton Hill Motherhouse was completed. It's the final resting place of the Seton Hill Sisters of Charity, the founders of the university, all the past presidents, and several other notable priests, laymen, and laywomen.

A little boy is one spook, playing with a ball and occasionally running like someone is chasing him, screaming all the while.

Another tale is of a woman who stops traffic on the road so she can cross (or hitch a ride), but when the driver brakes and looks for her, she has already disappeared into the fog.

Also reportedly spotted in the college boneyard are the spirits of sisters gone and buried who once lived at Seton Hill. One story regarding demonic grave circles can be discounted, though. The original layout of the sisters' burial plots was circular, but that configuration proved to be too space consuming, and was replaced by the traditional rows of graves.

Wooo, busy campus - no wonder it's the one of the sites where the horror film On Sabbath Hill was shot!


Anonymous said...

So I'm a student at SHU, and.... Pretty much everything you just said is BS.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I also go to SHU and do a lot of research. You have MOST of the facts wrong, not to mention the lore.

Ron Ieraci said...

SHU Anons - Most of the stuff I post is from other published sources, either web-based or print. So I admit there's always the possibility of error, even though I try to double check what I can involving factual matters; obviously the ghost tales themselves are subjective.

Paranormal stories, mine included, are passed on from source to source and are pretty much copy-cat lore. Local knowledge is always the best; please let me know what's mistaken by comment or e-mail and I'll correct it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

i go to Seton i lived in brownlee my first year and i would stay up really late because i couldnt sleep ...and i would hear the bathrooms doors open and close but no room doors opening and closing so one night i heard the bathroom door open so i ran out my room and went in the bathroom ....and nothing was there i also looked to see if someone had left the bathroom and gone to there rooms....nothing also me and my friend was sitting in the basement of brownlee and we saw a orb...not a bug a orb it was crazy not a lame telling u this either this is no BS ..nothing seems to go on in the graveyard ..i've past it plenty of times at night and nothing suspicious

Anonymous said...

yeah so the running noise in brownlee first floor are just the drunk kids not being able to handle their shit.. they are a bunch of light weight pusses. the reason u don't see them is cause they ran away.. DUHHH!

Anonymous said...

I work at SHU 3rd shift and some of your info is misconstrued, i work all over the campus and the only thing i and my coworkers agree is haunted is the freight elevator in the admin building

Anonymous said...

Well folks! Let me tell you that though the details of your stories are a, "The Hill" is definitely haunted! I went to school their quite a few years ago, and myself, friends, roommates, dorm-mates, and fellow students all have multiple stories we personally experienced (many of which occurred together as a group). The Admin. Building is most the haunted by far & if you are very perceptive and sensitive to such things, you can actually feel a shift in pressure when walking through the threshold between Maura Hall and the Admin. Building. St. Joe's Chapel has strange things occur in their too (i.e., phantom organ sounds, as if a breathing organ isn’t freaky enough), & if you walk late at night in the hallway behind the Chapel you will "hear" and feel that you are not alone. My freshman year in Brownlee Hall was strange to say the least. There were quite a few of us girls who shared strange experiences. If you want to know about the facts of these things: Ask about or look up the "Well", the Indian burial grounds or ask anyone if they have experienced the flies in the windows in Brownlee. Look up, what was found during the construction of Brownlee Hall in the 1960s in the Greensburg local library, not the campus'. Research the tunnels under Seton Hill & St. Vincent's & the Grotto. Find out about the previous owner of the land, Major Stokes, & his wife before the nuns hiked up the Hill (then known as the Jennings Farm). The former St. Mary's Hall at the middle plateau of the drive up the Hill was very haunted too. My friends and I have multiple undoctored photographs as proof of it, but security guards on their rounds, among others, saw "the ghost of St. Mary's" in the 2nd floor window at night on many occasion. There are many stories from the Hill passed to nervous and naive freshman every year just to scare them. However, on the other side of that, I guarantee that a large percentage of the student alumni who have lived on Seton Hill's campus have experienced 1 if not more paranormal events. The freaky events that my friends and I experienced during our time at the Hill still entertain the young members of our families at sleepovers and camping trips, but the reality of our chilling adventures have made this alumnus a believer in the afterlife forever. The details of our stories can be shared if interested, just post an email address and your questions, and we will be in contact.

Anonymous said...

I went to Seton Hill and saw the shadowy figure of a person who'd hanged themselves and it swung back and forth across my dorm neighbors window on the inside of the room in Brownlee Hall. This happened late at night during a weekend when most students went home. Only a few of us were on campus when we saw this. My friends were so scared they refused to sleep in their room after we saw this. We even called campus security because we didn't know if someone really had hanged themselves from a second floor window. Campus security looked inside and out and saw what we were seeing and no one could explain this until I had asked a nun who was one of my professors at the time. She told me that many people had seen what we did in years past. There were many other strange occurances while I attended Seton Hill. Needless to say, that place really creeped me out and I'm not one to believe in ghosts or the paranormal but definitely changed my mind after all the strange experiences I had while there.

Anonymous said...

I am a SHU Alum that lived on the 5th floor of Maura hall for 3 years, and I can attest that all of the above statements I have heard to be true, and have experienced some myself. My freshman year I lived in Brownlee and we heard the boy and the ball and he used to apparently shout from the tree, he freaked out so many girls that the priest had to come and bless the dorm. This was only a few years ago. When I lived in Maura, every time we were watching something bad on tv, sometimes the channel would change, one time the phone mysteriously fell off the hook on the wall. Even some of the sisters would attend the ghost hunting events that we had a few times a year because they believed it.

Anonymous said...

Well admin room 308 the door has a deadbolt on it I checked the door it was locked. I sat down on the old church pue in the hallway and hear a shudder to look back up and the door opens slowly. I am not a great believer in ghost but.......Yea that caught my attention.

Anonymous said...

The campus has a technology learning center (TLC for short), and the path there is through the admin building or through Maura I believe, I apologize because I have not been here long. This past week I noticed something odd. The path there is behind the theater, so it is no surprise that instruments are kept in their separate rooms, including a couple pianos. Almost every day, there is someone there playing the pianos, typically Mozart and other classical pieces.

I'll pass by the rooms and wave. One day I went through and heard the piano player again and I went past to say hello. As I passed the room, the piano stopped and nobody was inside. Then, in a room behind me (across from the piano room), a flute started playing very loudly in a haunting tune. I went in and nobody was there either.

JV said...

I'd love to hear more about the stories Anonymous wrote about on October 9, 2012 (coincidentally the exact day my son was born). I graduated Seton Hill several years ago and never saw anything specifically that I can recall, but the campus always had an eerie feel to it.

I checked to get email updates for this post, so looking forward to seeing more ghost stories in my inbox soon!