Death of a St. Mary's University ghost story

Heffron Hall

I’ve been set to post a Huffington Post list of haunted campuses, which included St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and its Heffron Hall. (Still on that Halloween groove.)

The Post makes it sound juicy:

In 1915, Bishop Patrick Heffron was shot to death in a chapel on St. Mary’s campus by a bitter Father Lesches, who was later institutionalized at the Minnesota State Hospital for the Dangerously Insane. St. Mary’s students believe that Heffron hall has been haunted by its slain namesake since it was built in 1921 — they say the ghost of Bishop Heffron has been spotted on the third and fourth floors of the residence hall and that he is responsible for unexplained drafts.

But spokeswoman Deb Nahrgang set me straight:

Officially, there isn’t a ghost. It was made up as hype for the college paper back in the ‘60s. That doesn’t, unfortunately, stop the story from spreading. Everybody loves a good ghost story.

Darn.

For one thing, Heffron didn’t die from his gunshot wounds. But Nahrgang continued:

Truthfully, the story “behind” the ghost is very interesting. Patrick Marek, an alum who works at a the Winona Post, has investigated the story of the ghost at length.

Check out the paper’s archives, and among others, you should find this piece. It provides background and a description of the attempted assassination.

An odd element:

The tale officially came of age, and transformed into: “The Ghost of Heffron Hall” when Father Edward W. Lynch’s charred body was found in his bed on the third floor of St. Mary’s Hall Friday morning, May 15th, 1931.

So much for spooking the freshmen.