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The University's Haunted Past

At this time of year, everyone loves a spooky story. Daniel Hurtubise is no exception.

As an assistant archivist at the Jean-Léon Allie Library, Daniel is well versed in Saint Paul University’s past – including the stories it has produced. He was generous enough to share some of them below.

You may be surprised to find that these familiar halls and spaces have a life of their own!

Jean-Léon Allie Library

Many of you have probably been to the Library – but you may not know the story of the man for whom it was named.

Father Jean-Léon Allie, o.m.i. founded the Library in 1937 and served as Chief Librarian for more than 40 years. Starting with just four books, Father Allie made it his life’s work to grow the Library into the nationally renowned collection it is today.

Father Allie continued to devote himself to the Library and served as University Librarian Emeritus until his death on November 26, 1996.

In addition to his dedication to the Library, Father Allie was known to have a jovial personality and to be a bit of a trickster. It seems this hasn’t changed.

Following his death, strange things started happening around the Library. Staff and students have reported dark shadows, cold spots and moving objects. On some occasions, notebooks and pens will vanish without explanation. These may simply be cases of absentmindedness, or perhaps it is Father Allie playing some of his tricks.

The Halls of LaFramboise

Built in 1937, LaFramboise Hall originally served as the Seminary and residence for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate until 2010.

For nearly half a century, a staple of these halls was Brother Ernest Gauthier. After taking his vows in March 1937, Brother Ernest was appointed as porter of the Saint Paul Seminary.

Because he contracted polio as an infant, Brother Ernest had a limp; he wore special wooden-soled shoes to help him walk. This was a familiar sound for the seminarians whose dormitories were in LaFramboise.

Among his many duties was the daily wake-up call for the seminarians and resident priests. Every morning, shortly before 5 o’clock, Brother Ernest would walk up and down the dormitory hallway singing Benedicamus Domino to rouse them from their sleep.

Brother Ernest continued his duties for 46 years, until his death in 1983. Some believe he remains dedicated to his post.

To this day, maintenance staff can hear his distinctive gait early in the morning – the sound of wooden-soled shoes echoing up and down the halls of LaFramboise.

De Mazenod Chapel

While you may be quick to shrug off the previous two stories as hearsay, Daniel has a more personal story to tell.

In 2011, the Library acquired the Saint Paul University archives. While they were being organized, the archives – and Daniel’s office – were temporarily located on the second floor of LaFramboise. It was here that Daniel had his own experience with the unexplained.

Every Friday, around 1:30 in the afternoon, Daniel could hear organ music coming from the De Mazenod Chapel, just down the hall. After a few weeks, curious to see who might be practising, he ventured down to the chapel. But when he opened the door, the music stopped abruptly. After some searching, Daniel could not find the person responsible for the music.

This was not a one-time occurrence. Nearly every week, at the same time, the sound of the organ drifted from the chapel. But not once did Daniel ever see who – or what – was producing the music.

Want to learn more? Be sure to join Daniel on one of his haunted walks.

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