Fordham Frights: The Ghosts that Haunt Our School


Photos by Jon Bjornson


Imagine: it’s a Friday night after an especially long and chaotic week. All you want to do is go to sleep. As you walk into your dorm, you realize all of your roommates went home for the weekend; you can finally have some peace and quiet. Eventually, you close your door and crawl into bed. But just as you begin dozing off, you hear your door repeatedly open and close. Your mind begins to wonder: is your brain messing with you? Could it be a draft? It couldn’t be a ghost, right?

For McMahon Hall resident Sam Tracy, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’19, this situation became a reality just a few weeks ago. “I was exhausted. I had pilates in the morning, so I figured I would go to bed early. While I liked the idea of having the apartment to myself, something just didn’t feel right, but I attributed it to being naturally paranoid and the spooky nature of October,” Sam recounted of the October night. She disregarded her uneasiness and quickly got ready for bed. Just like a typical night, Sam shut her door and laid on her bed with her back facing her door. That’s when she began to hear her door open and close. “My door has never shut all the way. The door just doesn’t fit the frame properly. So, I didn’t think anything of it at first.” Sam turned over to look at her door and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but when she returned to her position facing the wall, she heard her door open and close again. “This happened a few times, and the door only seemed to move when I was facing the wall. Yeah, it was strange, but it was also starting to annoy me.”

Sam got up and opened her door, but didn’t find anything. “I’ve seen my roommate prop her desk chair against the door before, so I did that, and got back in bed. I figured that would stop my door from opening and closing.” Sam paused to recollect herself for a second, then continued, “But the opposite happened. I turned to face the wall and got comfortable, then all of a sudden the door began rapidly banging against the chair as if someone was violently attempting to break in.” Instead of facing whatever was at the door head on, Sam decided to pull the covers over her head and tried to go to sleep. “I reasoned with the ghost. I basically said, ‘Hey, I have pilates in the morning, so I’d appreciate if you don’t do this tonight,’ and it seemed to work. The banging eventually stopped, and I was able to go to sleep. But, it was still the spookiest thing I’ve ever experienced.” Since this incident, Sam hasn’t experienced anything else in her apartment, but she believes someone definitely wanted to make their presence known that night.

Sam is not the only student at Fordham Lincoln Center who has experienced something strange. Another McMahon Hall resident, Jasmine Fontaina, FCLC ’19, recalled seeing a ghostly figure: “It was the night before Halloween. I just remember waking up and feeling a presence. I looked near my bed and it appeared to be a person in rags with a black aura and smoke where their feet should’ve been.” When asked if she was as scared as Sam was, Jasmine replied, “No, I was more intrigued. It was magnificent really. It made me want to learn about the history of this building, and who the figure could’ve been.”

While Sam and Jasmine have first-person encounters of ghosts at Fordham, many students haven’t experienced anything. One of the people I asked about Fordham ghost stories even said, “No…Lincoln Center is too new and nice for ghosts. Try the Rose Hill campus.” So, that’s exactly what I did.

According to John Ancona, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’89, his friend Paul Cutajar had a spooky experience when he lived in St. John’s. “[Paul] was doing homework at his desk. His desk was against the wall, but he could look to the left out his window and see the courtyard. It was around 10:30-11:00 p.m. He looked out the window and saw this guy in a cape walking toward the statue in the center of the court. He had a candle extinguisher. He was walking toward the statue as if to extinguish the light.” This intrigued Cutajar, the light was electric so trying to extinguish it didn’t make sense.

Ancona continued, “He stood up to take a closer look out the window. About 10 minutes later, his roommate walked in and found Paul on his bed – white as a ghost.” When Cutajar’s roommate asked him what was wrong, Cutajar repeatedly stuttered, “no legs, no legs” and pointed out the window. Finally, Cutajar’s roommate calmed him down enough to explain what happened, “When Paul got up to check the guy out, he had no legs. He floated to the middle of the court, then floated out of the courtyard. Bizarre.”

Even though Ancona’s story happened during the late ’80s, it seems like the ghosts that haunt the Rose Hill dorms haven’t moved on. More recently, Tiffany Kato, FCRH ’07 alumni, recalled, “So, my friend used to live in North in a single. One night he called me completely freaked out, saying he heard knocking in the room. I told him he was imaging things, and to go back to sleep.”

But, Kato’s friend couldn’t go back to sleep, “He calls me again later in the night, saying his bed shook and that he was going to sleep next to the guard that night.” The next day, Kato and her friend looked for clarity in one of the priests, “The priest was like ‘Oh, that’s so and so. I guess he moved to your dorm. Come let’s go to your room.’ So, the priest grabs some holy water, the Bible, and candles. We head over to the dorm, and we light the candles, and he opens the door and starts praying.” Unlike the other stories, Kato’s story has a happy ending, “All the freshmen around us must have been so freaked out, but whatever he did worked. Nothing ever happened again after that.”

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, you can’t deny that these stories are strange. Even though Lincoln Center is newer and smaller than Rose Hill, it still has history, which invokes something of the unknown. All I can say is: prepare yourself. You never know when you’re going to be the next to experience something going “bump” in the night at Fordham. Would you face the unknown with curiosity and astonishment like Jasmine, or would you go into a state of terror like Paul?


Featured image courtesy of Jon Bjornson.