The start of a new semester means a lot of things: excessive reading, multiple papers to write, never-ending studying, and ghosts? If you’ve taken a tour of your campus, chances are your tour guide broke the ice with jokes, useless facts, or ghost stories including stories of haunted dorm rooms or unexplained levitating objects. At Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), it is difficult to come across a student without a ghost story of their own.
OLLU, located on the West side of town, was founded in 1895 by a religious institute from Lorraine, France, named the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence. It originally began as a two-year program for women only, but it wasn’t until 1969 when the university became completely coeducational. It is unsure when stories of ghost hauntings began at this school, but it is certain that they exist now.
Angela G., a summer 2012 graduate of the university, remembers when she was on the third floor of the Fine Arts Building, playing the piano in a recital room and heard someone playing in the next room over. “I got up to check who was there and no one was in there,” says Angela, “I never went back there alone again! Turns out there was nobody in that building. Scariest moment of my OLLU schooling career!”
Lisa V., currently a senior this fall, knows more about the ghostly figures that wander the campus. She says, “I heard there’s the spirit of one of the nuns in the Fine Arts Building and she’ll lock the door. You have to call her name and ask her to unlock it for you.” Could this be the same nun who played piano with Angela?
Lisa continues, “There’s also a little boy in one of the dorms. You roll a marble down the hallway. He’ll roll it back to you.” This little boy is a popular ghost among students since he has been mentioned the most in interviews. Some students have referred to him as “Jack-Jack”.
Melissa D., a 2011 graduate, believes St. Martin Hall is definitely haunted. “One time one of the girls did an interview in one of the classrooms and when the audio was played back, we heard a voice that sounded like a little kid in the background whisper, ‘Wow.'” she explained. Is Jack-Jack a prankster like his nun friend in the music department?
There is no record of a child dying on campus, or anyone else for that matter. However, the school is connected to the Sisters of Divine Providence Convent, in which a nun or two is said to pass away occasionally. And if the ghost of a nun is able to wander a few yards away, who’s to say that the ghost of a drowning victim cannot. According to the San Antonio Express-News, in 2011 two men died on different occasions at Elmendorf Lake, which flows under Commerce Street and 24th Street. On July 11, 2011, the body of a man was found floating in the lake, and in September 25 that same year, another body was pulled from the water.
If ghosts are real, then this school is full of them. If the tuition doesn’t scare you, you’re sure to find a good scare down the long hallway of Main Building or the large and empty Thiry Auditorium.
(All names were changed due to privacy.)