Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cabrini College

the mansion cabrini college
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.


Anonymous said...

I work at Cabrini. None of the stories are true, Grace hall has 3 basement, all of which are accessible by stairways. There may have been a tunnel but it was to transport coal to and from Grace hall to woodcrest mansion. Dont get me wrong, there are strange noises and figures i have seen and felt that i cannot explain but the majority of the stories you hear, like the girl jumping of the mansion roof and the stable boy hanging himself in the bell tower of grace are BS.

Anonymous said...

the posibality of a tunnel is iffy, because Grace Hall to the mansion is about 100+ yards, if they say in collasped there would be a dip somewhere on the ground, I'm a paranormal investigator and have looked around the campus and, have found a lot of cold spots, heard noises at night, one cold spot dropped 16 degrees in the basement of grace hall so there very well could be a haunting of Cabrini College

Ron Ieraci said...

Thanks for the input, guys. If you ever do a full-blown investigation of Grace Hall, let us know the results.

Carol said...

I'm a current student there...we had an investigator from Caiprs visit Woodcrest for one of the Halloween events in Oct. 2010.

Ron Ieraci said...

Carol - thanks, let us know if the investigator came up with anything.

Anonymous said...

I attended Cabrini from 1998-2001. A fried of mine claims to have been awakened by Mary in one of the houses, I think it was House 2, being asked, "Have you seen my baby?" This is not proof, but she believed it to be true.

As far as the "old hag" in Woodcrest Hall, I personally experienced it. I was in a friend's room taking a nap and I woke up unable to move, open my eyes, or speak and there was a heavy weight on my chest. After minutes of struggling I shot up and banged my head on the bed.

Ron Ieraci said...

Anon - thanks for the input. The debate continues... And if any of my Cabrini friends has a link to the paranormal investigator's findings, please let me know.

Michael, The RocketRat said...

My mother is Cabrini Alum and we were talking about her up-coming reunion and she mentioned the Mansion story as we talked over Skype. She said that she and her friends made the whole up in '63 or '64 when bored and dateless one night.

Funny, though. I immediately searched this topic and this site was the first that showed, and I read her the Mansion story and she was surprised as to how elaborate it's become. She laughed.

She mentioned that she and her friends admitted as such in Cabrini's newspaper Loquitor, Here, though the newspaper says they made it up in '66, but she says that's wrong. She says that they were the Class of '66.

Ron Ieraci said...

Thanks for the info, Michael; I added it on the post. I suspect boredom has been the genesis of more than one tale.

Anonymous said...

I was a student who graduated in 1989 and there are 2 stories my class experienced. First the stable boy was spotted outside mansion bedroom 2nd floor at 2am as my friend was leaving his girlfriends room. He was dressed in blue overalls and vanished as my friend asked him what he was doing there. The next morning 6 am the stable boy appeared in the cafetria and startled my friend as he sat at one of the tables. My friend was so frightened that he did not mention this to anyone until 2 years after our graduation. His girlfriends college room was Marys old room and he thought the stable boy was stalking him because of that connection. Strange but true ! Secondly, 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 times of fixing it. So the College made the room into a storage room and would not allow students to sleep in there.When we did the weji board in there one night it spelled out the name of one of the girls grandmothers and went to death and the next day she died in real life. Folks these stories are so true that the people that experienced them feel very scared even mentioning them again. Also go into the bell tower on the warmest day and the temperature in that room will be 30 degrees cooler than the outside. This place is haunted !!!

qu1ckshott said...

I am a current student at cabrini college. It was family day a week or two ago at the college. I was giving my family a tour of the mansion but I had never been in the whole building so I was somewhat exploring. A few days before this my RA told me a story about a man that people see in the mansion who will be looking out the window and you wave to him and he doesnt wave back and than vanishes. I didnt believe his story and didnt tell anyone. So we were in this very long hallway in the mansion and we were just looking around there was no one in the offices. So my family and I start walking back down the hallway. My father was in the back of the line walking back down the hallway. He hears one of the doors at the end of the hallway open so he stops and turns around as my family and i keep walking down the hallway and down the stairs. My dad said he saw a man standing all the way at the end of the hallway peeking through the door that was halfway opened and he was just starring at my dad. My dad said he couldnt really see what the man looked like because he was so far away but it just looked like a man wearing like a black suit or something. My dad waved to the man and said hello but the man kept starring at my dad so my dad turned around and walked down the stairs. When he got down there i asked him what took him so long becuase we were waiting for him and he told me what happend. I got goose bumps because i had not told him the story. I went back to my dorm immediately to ask my RA if anyone was working in the mansion that day and he said no one was working on the mansion today. Idk if no one was really working or not in the mansion but we were there and we couldnt find anyone in the whole mansion and that just seemed strange to me.

Anonymous said...

I was at a banquet for my son and my younger child said mom I want to leave I don't like it here. I have photos and there are ppl in them that don't belong. I'm sure a Ghost hunter would try n debunk theses photos I have but I know what I see.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Woodcrest last year on the second floor. My roommate hardly slept there the first semester, I saw her more after she moved out after christmas break. One night when she was staying at her friends in another hall, I had finally fell asleep and suddenly it felt like somebody was shoving their finger into the side of my neck. I couldnt breath when I woke up, and once i finally caught my breath, it looked like a woman standing next to my bed in a long black/grey dress. I do believe Cabrini is haunted but maybe not to the extent that some people make it out to be. Also when I was in the basement doing my laundry, nobody was around but me...I was using the dryer closest to the door, so i had my laundry basket holding the door open and all of a sudden the door shut on its own and my laundry basket when across the room. I never did my laundry down there alone again!

Peter said...

A few nights ago, my roommate, myself, and two friends of ours took a little walk around inside Woodcrest Hall. We reported washing machines & dryers turning on & filling up by themselves. We also reported hearing a strange bang on the stairwell between the 1st floor & the basement. In the bathroom, the showers turned on as well as a couple of the faucets (as well as the soap dispenser), & the lights flickered on & off. It was very strange but also exciting.

copprsysp said...

This story is not true cabrini is not haunted stop saying that because I'm here and there don't seem to be anything wrong with the campus right now.