Monday, February 15, 2016

Mary Hawkins’ Dorm

Pemberton Hall
Pemberton Hall located on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston is the original women’s

The female residents in this dorm for the past ninety years have experienced two distinct hauntings that are tragically connected.

Most of this strange activity surrounds the dorm’s 4th floor, which for years was closed off to the residents.

In 1917, on a cold winter night, a female student playing the piano on the 4th-floor music room was brutally attacked by a crazed janitor. This woman managed to make her way downstairs to the resident director's doorstep before she died.

Since many residents of Pemberton have stated they heard the horrible events of that night, replay. They report hearing something being dragged near the stairs that leads to the fourth floor, as well of shuffling footsteps.

Scratching sounds are heard on the walls as if someone is desperately clinging to them. Bloody footprints appear and disappear near where the director's room once was located.

The young dorm director at the time, Mary Hawkins had the shock of her life when she discovered the body of this murdered girl at her doorstep.

It is said that Mary’s positive personality changed after this experience. Several of the residents became concerned when they saw her pace back and forth through the hallways at night for months after the murder. She professed she could not sleep.

She confessed to more than one student that she was guilt-ridden over the death of this young woman—who was under her charge.

Hawkins left her position at the college in 1917, shortly after the murder. It is said she then was in an institution briefly. Later she committed suicide. Since it appears, her spirit does not rest easy.

Shortly after Mary Hawkins’ death, residents at Pemberton began to experience strange incidents they felt were connected to her spirit.

For decades after, female students who lived in this dorm stated that it appeared Mary still “made her rounds” checking on the residents.

Dorm room today.

They believed, she was “watching over them” and “keeping them safe from harm.”

Her ghost was seen gliding from room to room and down hallways. She would unlock and lock doors and turn radios and televisions off. Students heard a faint voice in the background—especially coming from the 4th floor.

In the late 1970s, one student remembers that in the lounge areas the resident directors would often find the furniture mysteriously moved or overturned.

Several students saw their doors open late at night, just to see Mary’s face peering in at their beds.

One student saw a strange light emanating from a 4th-floor window. 

An assistant director encountered Mary’s ghost directly. She reported she wore a white gown and demanded safety pins before she just vanished in front of her.

In more recent years, most of the reported activity is connected to the 4th floor. This floor had been closed off for years—left to collect dust--that is until the late 1970s.

Residents now report hearing footsteps pacing above them. Many others have reported hearing the off-key notes of a piano playing.

Some believe this story is just an enduring folktale that the students have claimed over the years, others state regardless of the back story the dorm appears to be haunted.

Old music room.
The more sensationalized part of this story--the murder--seems to have been tacked on after the story of Mary's ghost was told.

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