ATCHISON, KSHISTORY Benedictine College is a small, private university whose beginnings go back to 1858 when two Benedictine monks, upon request by the Most Rev. John B. Miege, S.J., Vicar Apostolic of Leavenworth, came to Atchison, Kansas to run a boarding school called St. Benedict's with an initial student population of six. The following year saw the student body more than double in size to sixteen. By 1868, the college was incorporated under Kansas laws and empowered to award degrees. The college at first prepared students for both the priesthood as well as commercial interests in the public and private sectors. St. Benedicts eventually evolved into a liberal arts school by 1927. In 1863 seven Benedictine sisters arrived in Atchison to also begin a school for the townspeople. St. Scholastica’s Academy for young women opened on December 1, 1863 with forty-four students. In 1877 the sisters purchased Price Villa, now called St. Cecilia’s, and moved from their location near St. Benedict’s to the present site of the Mount St. Scholastica Monastery. There, the sisters continued their academy, and in 1924 Mount St. Scholastica’s Junior College was opened. The junior college soon became a senior college and in 1932 it conferred its first bachelor’s degrees. In 1934 Mount St. Scholastica College was fully accredited by the North Central Association. (from the Benedictine College website). The college that exists today actually evolved by combining two schools - the all-male St. Benedict's College and the aforementioned Mount St. Scholastica, which was still an all-woman's college. This was the result of an announcement in 1970 that St. Benedict's was going co-ed prompting St. Scholastica's to approach with an idea of a merger of the two institutions. The agreement was reached and on July 1, 1971 The Co-Educational College of Mount St. Scholastica and St. Benedict's Colleges was formed. This rather long and arduous title was eventually shortened to Benedictine College by 1989. Voted one of "America's Best Colleges" in 2016 (the sixth year in a row) by U.S. News, the liberal arts school embraces Roman Catholic and Benedictine doctrine and is located on a picturesque bluff overlooking the Missouri River. It is sponsored by St. Benedict's Abbey and Mount St. Scholastica and accepts all backgrounds and faiths.THE HAUNTINGS OF ST. BENEDICTINE COLLEGE It has been widely accepted by the students and faculty of Benedictine College that the spirits which haunt the campus are mainly those who established the school and remain there to "oversee" its progress. One such spirit is known to wander the corridors of Ferrell Hall (below), a student dormitory that once served as a monastery for Benedictine monks until it became a residence hall in 1929. It was built in 1895 and at one point was boarded up for more than thirty years before it was renovated and re-opened in 2001 to serve the student housing needs. Students living in the dorm have reported an incessant, loud pounding at night that can't be identified despite their best efforts to do so. Closet doors have to known to open and lights will go on by themselves. One student related a story where during Orientation Week he was alone by himself in his dorm room and heard footsteps coming down the hallway. The footsteps grew louder until they appeared to stop right outside his door. Frightened, he tentatively made his way to the door only to hear a raspy breathing outside. When he switched the lights on, the breathing stopped. It was soon after that he invited two friends to his room in the hopes that the incident would repeat itself. Just when it seemed that nothing would occur, the footsteps began and like the first time, paced up the hallway and once more stopped outside the door. It was then the breathing began again to the shock of the three occupants inside and again stopped abruptly when the lights were switched on. Eventually the frightened student had his room blessed by a priest. Memorial Hall (r.), home to 90 freshman women, has been the site of even more strange events. As it is named after St. Martin of Tours - patron saint of soldiers - each room is named after an alumnus who died in WWII. There is a long-standing legend that long ago a female student gave birth to a baby in the closet of her room. Sadly, a short time later the baby died. (As are most legends that surround colleges and universities, this does not appear in any form of actual documentation.) It is not unusual for the two large walk-in closets in each room in Memorial Hall to be used as part of the living space, so it was fairly common for one coed to be getting dressed inside of hers one day. What made this event take a turn to the bizarre was when she heard her dresser move and come to a stop outside the closet door. As she attempted to open the door, she felt the dresser up against it, blocking her exit. Thinking she was the victim of a joke, she yelled at whomever was outside (probably her roommate, she thought) to move the dresser. When no one answered it became apparent to the now terrified girl that no one other than herself was ever in the room as she had locked the door behind her. Now panicking, she began screaming at the top of her lungs for help, which to her relief eventually came to set her free. Another student was sitting in her room in front of her mirror when she was startled to see her desk chair begin to rock by itself and then come to a dead stop without so much as a wobble. Fleeing the room, she did not return for several days after the incident.