For many Loyola University Chicago Students, having a class inside the Mundelein Center at the school’s Lake Shore campus can be a stressful proposition. Whether it’s waiting in the seemingly endless elevator line at 7:30 in the morning, or navigating their way through the crowded staircases of the 14-story building, arriving to class on time is a feat worthy of its own celebration.
However, during this mad dash to get to class on time, most students remain oblivious to the morbid history hidden with in the walls of the building’s art deco facade.
21-year-old Spanish foreign exchange student Jose Garcia Nieto heard about the myth surrounding the haunted history of Mundelein and was curious as to whether or not it was true.
“I want to know if there really is a ghost who roams Mundelein’s halls,” Nieto said. “I have heard a lot of things from my friends, or friends of friends who claims to have seen the ghost.”
Who, or what, is this paranormal presence Jose is talking about?
According to an article published in the Loyola Phoenix in 2012, the legend dates back to when Mundelein Center was still known as Mundelein College, a private Catholic institution exclusively for women. Prior to Loyola’s purchase of the skyscraper in 1991, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary ran day-to-day operations at the college and resided on the top three floors.
It was in the skyscraper’s residence floors that nun Sister Mary Prudence decided to end her life. After an alleged affair with a Jesuit priest left her pregnant, Sister Mary saw no other alternative but to hang herself in her dorm on the 14th floor.
And while Loyola Junior Margaret Sittig also has not seen any ghosts, she knows some people who claim to have “felt” something in the top floors.
“I have never felt or seen anything, but I know of some friends in the running club who have,” said Sittig. “Either way, I am not afraid of ghost even thought I do believe they exist.”
Before heading up to the 14th floor myself, I needed to research exactly how I was going to lure Sister Mary’s ghost from her otherworldly residence. The “How to Find Ghosts in Your House” wiki page proved extremely useful, and I begun my investigation. I brought along my friend Aisosa as my investigative assistant and unknowing security detail.
We took the main elevators to the 9th floor and then made our way to the side elevators that went all the way up to the 14th floor.
We expected to walk into a floor that had been gutted of all the walls and was being used as a storage space of some sorts. Yet, as Aisosa and I made our way out of the elevator, all we encountered was a group of students cramming for their final exams in what seemed to be a recently renovated office space.
Having failed to detect any spirits on the 14th floor, we decided to tempt fate on the 13th floor. After walking out of the stairwell, the atmosphere was definitely more conducive to a paranormal hunt. While the floor had also been recently renovated, most of the lights were off and was absent of any human presence other than our own.
I immediately took out my audio recorder and handed the camera to Aisosa. As the instructions on the wiki page stated, I walked around and asked the ghost questions such as, “Are you here Sister Mary?”, and “Why are you haunting Loyola students?”, but to no avail.
I decided to start taking pictures of the darkest areas of the floor to see if I noticed anything suspicious, as the wiki indicated. However, after countless photos were taken, nothing from the images seemed strange.
Eventually, after waiting for a few uneventful hours of sitting around and asking questions to a possibly non-existent being with no response, Aisosa and I decided to leave.
So, does the ghost of Mundelein actually roam the halls? While my investigation into the supposed presence of a ghost in Mundelein did not result in any concrete evidence proving the existence of a spirit, I found nothing that points to the contrary.
So, one question remains. Do you believe in ghosts?
If you are brave enough to investigate some of the most haunted places in Chicago, check out this list compiled by Michael Kleen on the Mysterious Heartland website.