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Pitt's Historic Impact

BOO! Haunted Pitt


Pitt’s Bruce Hall, Croghan-Schenley Room, Early American Nationality Room, and William Pitt Union are all haunted by ghosts, they say. Who are “they,” you ask? Don’t ask!

A ghost is believed to haunt Bruce Hall’s 1201 suite, where the owner of the Schenley Apartments lived with his family during the 1920s. Rumor has it that the owner’s mistress or wife either hanged herself in suite 1201 or threw herself out the window. Since then, students and catering staff have reported hearing unexplained footsteps in the stairwells, as well as a disembodied woman’s voice. And then there were the times the fireplace inexplicably reignited itself, and napkins on a banquet table suddenly unfolded themselves.

Behind the wooden door of 156 Cathedral of Learning is a Greek Revival ballroom lit by a magnificent crystal chandelier. The ballroom and its adjoining parlor were originally part of a mansion built in the 1830s by William Croghan Jr. for his daughter Mary. But she never danced in it, scandalously eloping at age 15 with 43-year-old Captain Edward Schenley of the British Army. In the 1940s, the ballroom and parlor were moved and restored inside the Cathedral and christened the Croghan-Schenley Room. There, a false fireplace can be manipulated to reveal a hidden chamber where the ghost of Mary Schenley is said to reside. Cathedral quirks and crannies (scroll down to "The Secret of the Cornerstone")

E. Maxine Bruhns, director of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms Program, believes she knows who’s haunting the Early American Nationality Room (328 Cathedral of Learning): Her grandmother Martha Jane Poe McDaniel, whose handmade wedding quilt adorns the four-poster bed in a loft accessible by a secret door. Bruhns’ grandmother, who was related to Edgar Allan Poe, has reportedly been responsible for suddenly turning down the bed’s covers and mussing its pillow, and rocking the cradle that sits in a corner of the room. Pitt’s Eerie American Nationality Room

The prima ballerina of a Russian ballet company that was lodging at the old Schenley Hotel (today Pitt’s William Pitt Union) reportedly napped through a performance. Her furious director demoted the ballerina, who in despair returned to the hotel and committed suicide. It’s said that if students fall asleep in the Union’s Red Room before a test, the ballerina’s ghost will wake them in time to get to class because she doesn’t want anyone else to sleep through an important event. A Pitt campus ghost walk (PDF)