History of Cabrini continues to haunt campus community

By Melanie Greenberg
October 20, 2010

Come first snowfall, many Cabrini students will begin to retell the legend of the girl in the blue dress searching for her lost baby. The stories may vary depending on who tells it but they all have a similar point, to scare freshmen and carry on a tradition.

Cabrini College has been included on many of Pennsylvania’s most haunted and historical lists. Among the haunted buildings on campus are the Woodcrest Mansion, Woodcrest Residence Hall and Grace Hall.

Grace Hall and the Mansion supposedly have a tunnel connecting the two underground that was used in the Revolutionary War to hide people but collapsed, burying several people alive. The basement of Grace Hall has been sealed off but strange sounds have been heard coming from underground.

Freshmen are told the tale of the hopeless romance between a carriage boy, Xavier, and the daughter of a rich family. Xavier and Mary (or Lucy in different variations of the legend,) were friends as young children but the separation of class tore them apart as they grew older. They had already fallen in love when Mary was sworn not to see Xavier anymore but was already carrying his child. When learning of Mary’s pregnancy, her father stormed out of the mansion to confront Xavier at the stables which is now Grace Hall. Afraid of the consequences, Xavier hung himself in the bell tower.

Since the suicide, the bell tower has been sealed off but stories say the rope from which Xavier hung himself still hangs from the rafters. 

Mary, so distraught over Xavier’s suicide, threw herself from the Mansion balcony, killing herself and her unborn child. Whether or not one chooses to believe the tale, Mary’s ghost remain speculation on campus. Those who do choose to believe the tale often only experience strange happenings when walking alone on campus or alone in their rooms. On Monday Oct. 25, students who participated in the Ghost Hunters CAP Board event were able to explore the mansion themselves, looking for spirits. “It’s gotten to the point where you want to believe it’s not real but there are so many stories, something has to have happened on this campus,” Dani Degnan, junior special education major and secretary of CAP Board, said.

“This is one of the most exciting CAP Board events planned. Those of us on CAP Board love Halloween so this is definitely exciting,” Degnan said. Degnan experienced strange things while living in Woodcrest Hall her freshman year. Woodcrest Hall now stands where the peach orchards used to be and where Mary and her baby were buried. A blonde woman in a blue dress is said to wander around the perimeter of Woodcrest searching for her baby after the first snowfall. “When my roommate was gone, my bed would shake uncontrollably. The room was always cold and there was just this creepy, freaky feeling,” Degnan said. When Degnan moved into the room as a freshman, the former residents of the room came and wished her good luck because they had experienced the same types of hauntings. The room was blessed by Cabrini’s priest but not only would the bed shake, the door would open and close by itself. 

Degnan said the rumor was that someone had died in Woodcrest in the 50s but after researching, she found the rumor to be false. “It would have been so cool and sick but, it wasn’t true,” Degnan said. “I looked up into the rafters where the boy supposedly hung himself, and there was definitely something up there but whether it was a rope or not, I couldn’t be sure.” Although Degnan is torn between believing and skepticism, she is excited to find out whether or not something is really haunting Cabrini. “If you tell the story enough, does it become true? It has manifested into something huge,” Degnan said.

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Melanie Greenberg

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