Ghostly Encounters at Fairfield University

When students arrive at Fairfield their freshman year, it does not take long for the stories about haunted locations on campus to circulate.

However, the University's administration is hesitant to draw attention to the "haunted" buildings on campus.

Every year, ghost hunters visit Fairfield's campus and talk to students about their experiences with the supernatural. They bring psychic photographs and pieces of evidence and tell stories about their encounters with ghosts and spirits.

According to Lorraine Warren, a ghost hunter who has visited the University for many years, she is permitted to speak with the students about their experiences and share her own personal encounters with ghosts, with only one exception. The ghost hunters cannot broach the subject of haunted buildings on the Fairfield campus.

After being asked to investigate Dolan Hall a few years ago when she and her husband spoke on campus, Warren described her encounter with "the spirit." She immediately became "drawn to" a certain area in Dolan Hall, a dorm that used to be a convent in the early 1900s, which she said is haunted by the spirit of a nun who once resided in the convent.

Because she felt the spirit so strongly, Warren said she could "almost follow her pattern."

Although she refused to give details, Warren did admit that a priest may have been involved as well.

Warren was surprised that students had heard rumors of her encounter because she said she was "sworn to secrecy, especially because of the clergy" who were supposedly involved.

Warren vehemently maintained that "it is haunted." She also confirmed that administration want the story hidden, which she believes actually creates more interest among the students.

James Fitzpatrick, assistant vice president of student affairs, agreed about student interest.

"Especially being the Halloween season, I find many people like to join in the conversation about spirits," he said.

Asked about limitations on what the ghost hunters were allowed to speak about on campus, Fitzpatrick was surprised that there are any at all.

"I find that kind of funny," he said. "We've had many more controversial figures on campus than ghost hunters - such as Republicans."

Besides the rumor concerning the nun, there are other stories about Dolan Hall being haunted, which can be found on Google.

One popular rumor concerns a specific room. As the story goes, one of the dorm rooms is permanently locked because the temperature inexplicably fluctuates. Warren said that a ghost can be the reason: "The spirit is using energy, so the temperature would fluctuate."

Deborah Cady, director of Residence Life, denied the idea of a ghost living in Dolan, maintaining that students live in every room in Dolan, except one or two that are under repair or kept for emergency.

"I am not aware of any ghosts in Dolan, but I'm sure the history of the building, once a convent for the Sisters of Notre Dame, and the older heating system lend itself to great ghost stories," she said.

Father Charles Allen, executive assistant to the president, said he has lived in Dolan for 10 years and has not yet encountered a ghost or spirit of any sort. However, he does acknowledge that the rumor is a very popular one.

"Given the size of the building, the many long corridors and quiet corners, and the fact that nuns lived here for so many years, it is the perfect place to stimulate the telling of ghost stories," Allen said.

Regarding Warren and other ghost hunters, he said that he had not heard about them, and therefore could not comment on any limitations put on what was spoken about here on campus.

Students, on the other hand, have their own theories concerning the ghosts.

Benit John '10, who currently resides in Dolan, said, "I know there is an actual locked dorm room on the fourth floor - it's the haunted dorm."

"They put a fake name on the door so drunk and weird people don't go in there," she continued.

Fitzpatrick said that he has heard stories about the ghost of the nun haunting the old Julie Hall section in Dolan from various Public Safety officers, but mentioned that since he had not personally met the ghosts, he could not officially confirm them.

Much of this comes down to whether or not students believe that spirits or ghosts exist.

"I am sure there is a rational explanation about what happens in that haunted room in Dolan, if it is even haunted," said Davide Devietti '08.

"They probably just leave it closed because it creeps people out, but there probably isn't anything supernatural happening there," he said.

Whatever the case, ghost hunters will continue to broach the subject of Dolan's ghosts, or any other allegedly haunted building on campus, students said. And the stories and rumors will continue to circulate throughout the Fairfield community.

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