The Mansion at Cabrini College from CIC's Historic Campus Architecture
Let the campus tour continue. Cabrini, a small Main Line Catholic college located in Radnor, Delaware County, was founded in 1957, and its' campus sits on 112 acres with 25 buildings and a handful of spooks.
-- Grace Hall: This is Cabrini's urban legend. It's said that there was a tunnel connecting Grace Hall with the Mansion that was used as a hideout for people during the Revolutionary War days. The tunnel collapsed while there were several people in it, trapping and killing them. Ever since then, the basement of Grace Hall has been sealed off from the rest of the building with strange sounds heard coming from the underground. Are their ghosts there? No one knows until they open up the cellar again. And they're still not sure that they really want to know.
-- Mansion at Cabrini: The Mansion currently serves as offices for Cabrini College, but it was once the country retreat of the well-to-do Dorrance (Campbell Soup president, mmmm good) and Paul families. The star spook of this tale is Mary (or Lucy, depending on the version), although we're not sure which family she's from. We've heard versions placing her as a Dorrance, others as a Paul, and it's immaterial to the story.
As a young girl, she used to play with the son of the carriage master, Xavier. But as they became older and the social strata took hold, her father forbid her to meet him anymore. But it was too late. She had fallen in love with him, and was shortly carrying his baby. When her father found out on one wintry evening, he put on his top hat and cape and went out to the stables after the lad. Fearing the consequences, Xavier ran to the bell tower and hung himself.
In fact, it's said the tower has been sealed since that fateful night, and that the rope he used still dangles from the rafters. After hearing of the suicide, Mary threw herself off a balcony, killing herself and delivering a stillborn baby. (Some versions say the baby was stillborn before her leap, some say after, and some say the dead baby was taken from her.)
They were buried in the peach orchard nearby where Woodcrest Hall now stands. It's alleged that Mary, with long blonde hair and a dress described as either white or blue, still roams the area in front of Woodcrest in search of her lost baby.
One of our readers wrote and said "A fried of mine claims to have been awakened by Mary in one of the houses, I think it was House 2, (and) being asked, "Have you seen my baby?"
As for the father, the lore claims that during the first snowfall of the year, his footprints can be seen on a driveway between Grace Hall (built over the old stables) and the Mansion that suddenly end. He's also been seen as a tall man wearing a top hat and a black cape walking along the driveway.
He's been described as wandering around and looking lost (although other versions have him storming along the path, head down), and reportedly been hit by a car or three on the driveway. The drivers can hear the thud, but when they get out to check on the man, he's gone.
Once, during a dance, the students rolled up a rug to uncover the hardwood floor. There was blood seeping between the boards. They've never held another dance in the Mansion.
One of our readers, Michael, said his mom, a Cabrini alumnae of 1966, was part of a group that invented and spread the Mansion lore back in 1964. It sure has taken off since then and hey, it's still too good a story to let pass, especially as there are readers who have told us of seeing Mary, the stableboy and/or the father.
-- Woodcrest Hall: Besides Mary's visits, Woodcrest is also the home of the "Old Hag" syndrome (also known as night paralysis). Many girls have felt a weight on top of them as they were in bed, and can't move or speak. They report hearing voices whispering around them, though no one else was in the room with them. One writer who was a victim reports an old lady dressed in gray or black standing beside her bed.
Electronics have been said to turn on by themselves, even when unplugged. The laundry room has been the site of poltergeist-type activity, as well as some bathrooms.
One alum wrote us and added another tale: "In Wood Crest Hall, there is a corner room that faces the Mansion where the cross on the wall would always turn upside down even after several tries of fixing it. So the College made the room into a storage room and would not allow students to sleep there."
-- Xavier Hall: A lady in white has been seen reflecting from the door mirrors there, apparently taking residence in response to a ouija board session that went wrong.