Ghosts at Dominican University in River Forest, Part 2

By Sarah Oplawski

footprintsClick here to read Part 1

Finally, I think I had my own ghost my senior year in my dorm room. I was staying in the then ancient Power Hall, which I think (hope?) has been renovated. I cannot remember my exact room number but I had a large corner room on the 4th floor in the west wing. When the school was originally built, Power Hall was the only building and it housed both students and nuns.

The nuns lived on the 4th floor so it’s reasonable to assume my room once belonged to a nun.

I’m a night owl, so especially on the weekends, I wouldn’t go to bed until 2 or 3 AM. This is when I would begin to hear footsteps padding on the carpet in my room. Obviously there was no one there when I looked. The first few times this happened, I would step outside my room to see if people were out there. There was never anyone, nor was there any carpet directly outside my room–if I had heard someone, I would have heard the taps of shoes on a tile floor.

Most residents went home on the weekends and the parties were often on other floors, so the 4th floor was often quiet when I’d hear the footsteps. Finally I just decided to say something one Friday night. I said, “Look, I know you’re here, and I don’t mind that, but I’m trying to get some sleep.” The footsteps stopped. Any time after that when I heard the footsteps I would say something similar and they would immediately cease.

In addition, my desk with my computer faced the east wall. When sitting at the desk, one would have his or her back to the rest of the room. Once I left my friend alone on my computer for about 5 minutes. When I came back in, she looked shaken. She told me that after I had left, she had heard someone in the room but of course there was no one when she turned around. I had never mentioned the footsteps nor told her anything to put such an idea in her mind.

The theatre is also reputedly haunted but I have not experienced anything personally. Those who worked behind the scenes, particularly up in the catwalks high above the auditorium, would have lights inexplicably go out and shadows rush past them.

One of the famous rumored ghosts is that of Sr. Gregory, or Sr. Greg for short, who established theater at Rosary College. She was actually part of the inspiration for the musical “Sound of Music” as she was good friends with star Mary Martin and was consulted for parts and songs pertaining to the sisters in the musical. She also reportedly helped a young Paul Newman with his lines when he was striving towards stardom. At any rate, just before I started attending school there, the students put on “The Crucible,” which was the first play that Sr. Greg was involved in.

People believed they saw her in the audience during dress rehearsal, and one girl in particular told me that a spot light that had been on her during a monologue suddenly went out and she heard someone slide into the empty chair beside her. Once the lights changed and she could see the chair again, it was of course empty.

Sarah Oplawski studied for 4 years at Dominican University (2000-2004) and learned a lot of the ghost stories. She is a chemist and tends to approach things from a scientific standpoint. She always looks for a logical or rational explanation first. However, I she has had some occurrences that she cannot explain.



  1. Ruthanne Trunda says:

    Thank you for this story. I went to Trinity in River Forest back in the early ’60’s. Although I never experienced anything at that time, I am sure there were spirits. I live in a old house that is haunted. Would love a referral to a physic medium. Thanks


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