When it comes places to avoid on Cabrini’s campus the list runs pretty thin. In all of my time here I have only received maybe a handful of emergency alerts from Public Safety about crimes committed on campus. I’m so comfortable, in fact, that walking campus at night doesn’t leave me with that dreaded run-to-your-car-with-keys-in-hand sort of feeling. That’s true unless I’m walking past the Mansion.
Depending on how into the supernatural aspect of life you are, the Mansion is the place to avoid, especially at night.
The Mansion, while arguably the most picturesque part of Cabrini, takes on quite a different meaning if you know the alleged history of it. As legend has it, Cabrini’s Mansion once served as a retreat for a prominent family. The daughter of the family had fallen in love with the stable boy. Rumors say that when the father found out about their love affair, and his daughter’s pregnancy, the stable boy hanged himself from the rafters of the bell tower settled in the stables, now Grace Hall. When the daughter heard the news, she flung herself from a balcony killing herself and her unborn child. She and her unborn child were buried in a peach orchard, estimated now to be near Woodcrest Hall.
Since then the bell tower has been sealed. It is believed that the rope still hangs in the tower today.
Ghostly apparitions have been reported in many of the dorms around campus. Supposedly, on the first snowfall of the year, footsteps can be seen along the driveway between the Mansion and Grace Hall. Could it be the father marching his way to confront Xavier, or could it be one of the many men who were reportedly trapped in an underground tunnel during the Revolutionary War? Legends say that the tunnel collapsed, trapping a number of men inside. Nobody knows if this is true or not, as the basement of Grace Hall has since been sealed.
As for me, sadly, I have no terrifying experience to share. Being a believer in the supernatural realm, I have secretly always hoped to come out of Cabrini with a ghostly story to add to those who came before me. Sure, there have been some abnormal sounds while studying alone in a classroom in Founder’s Hall, but those I usually brush off.
The only experience I can confidently say I had occurred the fall of my freshmen year. I was spending time on The Commons one afternoon during a break between classes. I figured I’d get some extra homework done outside since it was such a nice day. While sitting on one of the Adirondack chairs alone, I heard my name shouted from right behind me. I turned and looked everywhere, but there was nobody there.
I somewhat blame being a commuter for having a lackluster story to tell, should anyone ever ask. I didn’t have the experience of living in the dorms, as they often are the location for many of these hauntings. I also have yet to explore the Mansion as many of the students have. As a matter of fact, CAP Board has even sponsored Haunted Mansion tours during Freak Week.
In the past, students have reported objects moving around and a woman in white visiting them in their sleep asking if they have seen her baby. I’ve even heard, that while I can’t quite remember the year or purpose for this drive, a few students hit a man dressed in black with their car late one night. When the students got out to check on the man who appeared out of nowhere, he was gone.
Maybe it’s the intimidating icon of the Mansion housing a large portion of campus that has my bones shivering. Maybe it’s because I have heard these tales since stepping foot on campus. Or maybe it’s because Cabrini really is haunted.
Regardless if you believe in ghosts or not, Cabrini overall is a very safe campus. For anyone who may be concerned for their safety on campus, bring a friend with you when traveling. If no one is available to go somewhere with you, just call Public Safety. They’re always happy to help students get from Point A to Point B securely.
In addition to the Annual Security Report accessible to anyone, Public Safety also has a daily incident report visible to anyone during regular business hours.
With a few minor exceptions, because nothing can ever be guaranteed, the only thing you truly have to keep an eye out for while at Cabrini are the dead who walk among the living— that is, if you believe.