Haunting in Hennessey is great for students looking to get a spook before Halloween. The already eerie building is dark and filled with screams … you never know what lies around the corner. You might scream and find yourself laughing afterwards with your friends, but what if you were alone on any other night in Hennessey?
Loras is riddled with ghost stories, which only seems logical since it is the oldest college west of the Mississippi River, and Dubuque is Iowa’s oldest city. It seems there is a ghost story connected with almost every building on campus and many students could tell at least one ghost story. Here are a few to get you ready for Halloween.
Keane Hall is 104 years old and full of ghost stories; the building is now used for classes and administrative offices, but it used to be a residence hall. One famous tale is about a group of residents that led a cow up to the fifth floor – however, the cow couldn’t come back down the stairs. The young men tried to think of any solution besides the worst – take the cow back down the stairs in parts. Other versions say they cooked the cow on the fifth floor and ate it. Many students disregard this story, but it’s been said that you might hear a moo or hooves on the stairs. Second floor is believed to be haunted by a student; the door to his old room, which has been replaced at least one time, shows a face and bloody tears if a visitor holds a black light up to it. Students who have roamed Keane at night have also reported hearing noises that they cannot explain – like the voice of a girl in the hallways. Lights have been rumored to shine from the fifth floor, especially from windows that are no longer accessible. Late night reading anyone?
Some say that Christ the King Chapel, directly next door to Keane, also has ghostly residents. It has been said that a priest in CTK says midnight Masses, but supposedly he isn’t alone. Harry and Flora Wahlert, where Wahlert Hall and Flora Park get their origins, are both buried in the crypt below CTK. A few students say that if you go to CTK late at night you can hear Flora Wahlert playing the organ as her husband, in his wheelchair, listens to her play.
Hennessey Hall, before it was purchased by the college in 1916, was known as the Good Shepherd Home of Dubuque, a place for wayward girls and young women. For Halloween it may be adorned with spooky decorations, but some insist there is more to Hennessey. Besides the creaky floorboards, students have claimed they’ve heard doors close on their own, voices of young women laughing and echoing in the halls, and even a crying baby. If you hate hiking up Hennessey’s stairs for your 8 a.m., you might just be thankful there’s daylight and you’re not by yourself.
If Loras students talk about ghosts on campus, many will think of Hoffman Hall first. Hoffman is the oldest building on Loras’ campus, part of the building (what used to be St. Joseph’s Hall), dating from 1876. People claim to have seen dark shapes or orbs in St. Joseph’s Chapel on the third floor once the sun goes down. One ghost is said to roam St. Joseph’s Auditorium, as sometimes footsteps can be heard and lights turn on by themselves. This ghost, wearing what seems to be an old military uniform, always comes to watch the productions in the theatre, choosing the same seat to sit in. He’ll be sure to hurry off before you can take a long look at him though.
Venturing off of Loras’ main campus, we find the Vis. The Visitation Convent was bought by Loras in 1994 and is now home to music classes and a few residents. One ghost enjoys playing Beethoven’s Für Elise on the piano but seems to stop in the same place; the performer never completes their piece, leaving the unfinished song echoing in the hall and ears of any listeners. Many students at class in the Vis agree that the building is creepy and many refuse to go down to the sub-basement level. Just a few years ago, a few Duhawks ventured there and felt eerily cold and ran out, having a feeling of being chased by something – or someone. One past Visitation resident remembered how she would bring a basket of folded laundry back to her room and leave for a few minutes, only to return to clothing items strewn about the room and the basket in a different place. She didn’t have a roommate.
Because of Loras’ long history, it’s only natural that there would be ghost stories. Do you believe in any?