Villanova University - Traditions - Campus Myths

Campus Myths

A number of legends are spread around campus by students. Some of these include the existence of secret tunnels and catacombs under campus, the haunting of some of the older dormitories (sometimes linked to their use as hospitals during the Civil War), and speculation over the existence of an entire wing of St. Mary's Hall which is completely blocked off.

The three buildings most commonly discussed as being haunted are Alumni Hall (located by St. Thomas of Villanova church on the main campus), St. Mary's Hall and Dundale (both located on the west campus).

Alumni Hall dates back to 1848 and stands as one of the oldest structures on campus. The school was closed in 1861 due to the Civil War and reopened in 1865. In that time this hall is believed to have been used as a military hospital and potential evidence of that use, such as a pulley located at the top of the main stairwell for moving bodies up and down, can still be seen. The building was used as a hospital again for influenza patients after World War I. This history has led to rumors that the building is haunted.

St. Mary's Hall was built in 1962 and served as an Augustinian Seminary until 1972. Laid out with long corridors and over a thousand rooms, there is a large chapel and many partial floors, basements and sub-basements to feed the legends of blocked off wings.

The property on which Dundale Hall is located was originally purchased by an industrialist, Israel Morris II, in 1874, and was built as a mansion for his family. Purchased from his family in 1978, it has been used for a variety of meetings and is home to several offices. On more than a handful of occasions, the school's Public Safety officers have been called out late at night to investigate lights in the building coming on inexplicably.

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