The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Campus Haunts

    Have you ever…?

    Swam in the Rec Plex at David A. Straz Jr. Tower? Walked the corridors of Johnston Hall’s 5th floor at night? Lived and ventured in Humphrey Hall?

    If so, you might have had some ghostly company.

    This Halloween season once again unleashes the legends and haunted stories hidden throughout Marquette University. And whether you are one for ghost tales or a doubter of the paranormal, these stories will certainly make you think twice.

    Known for its air-conditioned and spacious rooms, Straz Tower, previously a YMCA, is known to house the ghost of a young boy. Supposedly, this boy drowned in the pool years back and has continued to swim alongside swimmers ever since. Nicknamed Whispering Willie, rumor has it he is responsible for several other creepy incidents such as unexplained lights being turned on and off as well as pulling the covers off of students’ beds. Rooms have been reported becoming “unnaturally cold,” and some residents even report their beds being jumped on when they were alone, according to a current resident assistant.

    The pool, situated in an excluded corner of the building’s lower level, gives off a rather spooky feeling, according to some residents and visitors of Straz.

    Lauren Fishbune, a freshman in the College of Business Administration, said she recently took a swim in the Rec Plex pool.

    After hearing the story of Whispering Willie, she said, “Looking back at when I was there, it was an eerie vibe how it’s so dark and secluded.”

    While several employees at the Rec Plex don’t claim to have any knowledge of this ghost, I’ll leave it up to you to decide if the Rec Plex pool is the next place you want to take a quick lap.

    Johnston Hall is the home of a different type of legend. In the early 1960s, two Jesuits allegedly commit suicide by jumping from the fifth floor balcony. The balcony, which is positioned facing the side of Gesu Church, seems innocent enough, but when some Marquette Tribune reporters spent the night in the late 1990s, they had a different story. Reports were that the reporters experienced a dramatic change of temperature, heard strange noises, saw blue lights and caught an unexplainable figure on video.

    Joe Poeschl, a recent Marquette graduate, recalled a story he heard from a friend. One night several years ago, two students had just finished their Marquette Radio talk show and were headed back to their dorms for the night. As they were about to leave, one of the students forgot something in the studio and went back upstairs to get it. Once he picked up his forgotten item, he walked down the stairs toward the exit. While doing so, he heard footsteps behind him that continued to become faster and louder. Before he knew it, whoever or whatever was following him pushed him in the back.

    Cobeen Hall is also said to be a haunted hot spot. As legends say, an art critic haunts the rooms, pulling down posters he doesn’t like. Cindy Park said she experienced some hauntings last year when they lived on Cobeen’s third floor.

    “Things would just disappear,” Hill said. Posters would keep falling down, things would tip over randomly and once, the room’s closed door creaked open, she said.

    Right across the street from Cobeen is Carpenter Tower Hall, previously a hotel. Legend has it that a boy who was killed in a fire years ago haunts the building. According to stories, the ghost of the boy can sometimes be seen looking out a top floor window of the building.

    A more famous haunted place at Marquette is Humphrey Hall. Now a university apartment building, Humphrey Hall was the Milwaukee Children’s Hospital until 1988. The main lobby hasn’t been as retouched as most of the upper floors have, and many of the signs from the hospital still remain intact. In fact, if you ever find yourself in the Humphrey Hall parking lot one day, peer through one of the windows into the old daycare and you can see the faded rainbows and childlike art on the walls.

    According to Poeschl, a former RA who used to provide “haunted tours” of campus, video cameras set up by the Department of Public Safety were once present in the parking lot and have recorded children playing. But when people went to check out the area, no children would be present. The cameras did not cease to display children playing in the parking lot, so the cameras were soon taken down. All that’s left behind are the wires. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself.

    Some students have reported seeing kids playing in the halls of the dormitory and after telling them to leave, saw the kids run right through a wall.

    Another haunted building on campus is the Varsity Theater. As the story goes, a projector operator stepped outside for a smoke years ago, and the large ventilation fan picked him up and chopped him to pieces. To this day, other janitors report that they continue to receive help from the ghost of the young man. If a light was maybe not turned off, or a door not locked when the building closed for the night, the dead janitor’s ghost is rumored to have completed those tasks before the building opened in the morning.

    Marquette’s campus is truly full of legend and mystery. The ghosts who supposedly haunt many of the academic buildings and dorms all have a story of their own. Resident assistants, upperclassmen and recent graduates have all helped to provide the stories mentioned in this article. It is now up to you to continue the tradition and to share the legends of Marquette University.

    So here’s to hoping your Halloween season if full of fun and treats. But just remember, the next time you’re in Johnston Hall for a class, seeing a movie in Varsity Theatre or maybe taking a lap in the Rec Plex pool, you might not be alone.

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