BY LAUREN APETZ
Have you ever heard unexplained noises while you sleep?
Do you feel as though you are being watched?
If you have ever had any of these experiences at McKendree University, you may have witnessed one of the many spirits already residing on campus. In case you didn’t know, McKendree is ranked in the top ten haunted universities of Illinois.
Sophomore Taylor Rossi had a run in with a spirit last year in Residence Hall East. “I was in my dorm, the new dorms I might add, and I swear, I heard a child laughing in my ear.”Rossi’s experience is not the only instance of hearing a child’s voice or feeling one’s presence in the new halls. Some students believe this spirit belongs to a little girl.
Past Residence Director of Residence Halls East, Jen Stueck, shares her experience she had while living in the new halls.
“I am hesitant to reflect, in such a public manner, about the experiences I have had with our quiet family members of McKendree University. This is due to my ambivalence regarding the societal set-up of how the paranormal are viewed – and those that believe in the paranormal,” said Stueck. “My personal mantra seems to sum it all up: it takes all kinds to make the world go around. The time I have spent on my physical journey has exposed me to experiences that confirm… it does in fact take all kinds, regardless if you are part of the living world or on a different journey.
“During my time at McKendree University, I noticed a great deal of interest concerning the history of our home and the individuals before us. The following is just a piece of my experience. This experience belongs to me, therefore, it contains my perceptions and beliefs.”
Here is Stueck’s piece: The Little Lady
The Little Lady
It was not long after I unpacked my belongings and settled in campus that I noticed I was rarely alone. Living on campus which is where you work, working where you live and earning your MA all in the same place – yes, you are rarely alone. This is different though, I was never ‘alone’ when I was alone. I spent late evenings at my kitchen table reading from my text books and attempting to make sense of the information my peripheral vision was sending to my brain. For the first few weeks I disregarded the odd sensation that someone was watching me read from my texts.
Over the course of a few months I found it helpful to embrace the odd sensation of having quiet company by speaking to who I felt was a younger person, most likely eight years old and female. I made it a habit to greet the company I felt had made a home within my home. Hearing your own voice without a reply yet, at the same time, sensing there is energy that is capable of silently acknowledging you is an interesting position to be in. I began to refer to this energy as the ‘Little Lady’.
The Little Lady and I made rules, similar to constructing a roommate agreement document. I asked that lights would not be turned off – but, could be turned on. She listened. I asked that she support and care for the residents of the building. She listened, but her playful demeanor could be perceived as ‘scary’ by some of our living McKendree family members. She was welcomed into the suites of residents – they set up toys, sheeted an extra bed for her or simply verbally acknowledged her energy.
To this day I continue to sense the Little Lady around our McKendree home. She is happy, playful, looking to be nurtured and enjoys time with the students. I believe that the Little Lady has found her home on the McKendree University campus, similar to how many of us link ourselves to this warm, welcoming community. This is our home – this is our home that we share with our quiet, yet present family members.
I did some research on the people buried at College Hill Cemetery, and found information about an eight-year-old girl named Alice A. Bailey who had died in 1846.
One night in my room this year, my roommate, Lauren Krywy, and I felt as though there was another presence in our room besides us. I decided to ask if there was a spirit in the room, and if there was, I wanted them to make their presence known. The next morning, when we woke up, my roommate had a very small child-sized hand print on her window that was not there the previous night. We have a new roommate.
Even though the new halls are not the oldest buildings on campus, they are the closest to the cemetery. Spirits have the ability of moving short distances so travelling across the street and haunting the new halls are not far-fetched ideas.
If you have had any experience with the paranormal, share it. Stories and experiences like these make McKendree University more unique.