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Are ghosts and ghouls afoot at the University of Portland?

Transcript of Haunted UP

  • The Beacon 7October 29, 2009 Living

    6 The BeaconLiving

    October 29, 2009

    The horror! The horror!

    Tragic deaths. Disembodied voices. Pots and pans fl ying off the walls. A mysterious little girl watching from afar. A piano play-ing from a dark, empty room. These are all the recipes for a great Hollywood horror fi lm and they also happen to be based on real life experiences of UP stu-dents, faculty and staff.


    You old black crows! Frank Houston has shouted

    these words at many UP priests since the early 1900s. The only problem is that Frank Houston died in the 1920s.

    Frank Houston was a crusty old Protestant who didnt like the priests, James Covert said. Co-vert was once a professor of his-tory and political science at UP and during his time on the cam-pus he also became UPs resident ghost expert.

    Covert earned this designa-

    tion while he was researching the schools history for his book A Point of Pride: The University of Portland.

    During this research, Covert unearthed many chilling tales of Houstons campus appearances.

    Houston owned the property the Commons was built on ac-cording to Covert, and he didnt want to sell it to the university unless he was paid his incredibly high asking price of $30,000.

    When Houston died, his wife sold the property to the university for $9,000. When the Commons was built in the 1950s, people immediately began experiencing odd things.

    One food service director left because he heard footprints, and others would see dish carts start to move and run down the hall, Covert said.

    Over the years, other Com-mons workers have also com-plained of pots and pans fl ying off the walls, food and utensils being thrown to the ground and unmanned carts roll around the kitchen area.

    Some people have even heard a voice yelling in their ear while ascending the stairs from the Ter-race Room.

    According to Marc Covert, assistant director of periodicals and James Coverts son, Hous-tons angry spirit has scared many Commons workers over the years.

    The ghost frightened an as-sistant manager who worked for Saga Foodservice, a precursor to Bon Appetit. In 1977 he was working late one night, all by himself, catching up on paper-work when he decided to go get a drink. As he was going to the main dining room, he saw a big stainless steel foodservice carts rolling around the corner all by itself.

    Mike was a no-nonsense kind of guy who didnt believe in ghosts, Marc Covert said. But he couldnt explain how that could have happened.

    According to James Covert, other frightening things have hap-pened in the Commons. The Ter-race Room of the Commons has seen the death of a beloved UP priest the Rev. Charles C. Milt-ner, C.S.C.

    Miltner was in the Terrace Room, celebrating his retirement with several friends and guests. As Miltner was giving his fare-well speech something horrible happened.

    When God calls me, thats when Ill go, Miltner announced to the room at large. Just moments later, he slumped over and died.


    James Covert has heard the stories of many UP staffers who have led him to believe that Waldschmidt Hall is potentially

    haunted by Paul Hillgens. When Hillgens attended the university in 1923, he was a high-school stu-dent attending boarding school, and it was a tradition in those days to go below the Bluff to Wil-lamette River and swim. After dropping his bags off on the fi fth fl oor, he ran to the river and ac-cidentally drowned.

    His bags were sent back to his parents unopened.

    Since then, many people have claimed to see Hillgens ghost, a young boy dressed in an old-fashioned bathing suit with a baseball hat and sometimes san-dals, walking the fl oors of his would-be home, Waldschmidt. The people who have experi-

    RosemaryPetersDesign Editor


    Courtesy of the University ArchivesThe portion of the photo inside the circle is believed to be photo-graphic evidence of the existence of the Commons ghost, Frank Houston.This photo was taken in 1975 by Keith Kendall.

    See Haunted, page 9

    Brotherhood, truth, justice and authentic masculinity. These are the four pillars for which the League of Extraordinary Gentle-men, or LXG, stands.

    When he was hired in 2005, Josh Noem of Campus Ministry was given the task of trying to get the male population on cam-pus more interested in partak-ing in school activities. He was asked to do so because of a na-tional trend in American colleges showing that men are lagging behind women academically and in extracurricular involvement in schools.

    For two years, Noem strug-gled to come up with an idea which would involve the men on campus in one unifying activity. But in 2007, he decided to try something that St. Johns Univer-sity in Minnesota enacted, and he called it the League of Extraordi-nary Gentlemen.

    In broad terms from a Cam-pus Ministry perspective were meeting spiritual needs on cam-pus, he said. Were giving them space to be self-refl ective, engage in brotherhood and communicate on a deeper level to look at sto-ries of their lives to fi nd a grand coherence.

    Noem asked the Offi ce of Residence Life to recommend any guys on campus who might

    be interested in the League, and he was given 11 names.

    Junior Kyle Ke-arney is one of the original men to join LXG and he is now the offi cial Web-master for the club. The LXG Web site, https://pilots.up.edu/web/LXG, is run completely by Ke-arney.

    I wanted to fi nd a group that I could have deeper discus-sions with, Kearney said. Its brought men together who wouldnt initially in-teract.

    The pilot group of LXG is still to-gether today, work-ing toward the same goals the club was founded upon, and a few new ones as well.

    We encourage discussion among men while at the same time were not being entirely se-rious, he said.

    The mission of the League is to give the members an environ-ment in which they feel comfort-able talking about things a little deeper than what might happen in a hallway, according to Noem. The idea is to talk about subjects other than sports, cars and girls.

    Its creating a place for guys to be real, to be authentic with one another, Noem said.

    Meetings are supposed to give LXG members the opportunity to talk about how they really feel without fear of harassment.

    Members of the League meet in small groups of eight to 10 with one or two adult mentors ev-

    ery few weeks. In the beginning of each school year, the League holds a mass recruiting drive, nicknamed the Manquisition.

    After the initial recruiting ses-sion, which has already occurred this year, joining the League isnt encouraged; however, Noem is willing to work with men who still wish to join LXG.

    The Consul for Brotherhood, junior Creede Caldwell, hopes to boost awareness of LXG on cam-pus in the future. The League is already hosting events on cam-pus, and hopes to add to that num-ber in addition to working more off campus.

    It provides a really good op-portunity for bonding and meet-ing other men, he said. We defi nitely hope to increase our member base and our presence.

    The groups of men are all from

    the same year and stay together throughout their time at UP, to encourage a stronger friendship amongst them. Each year also follows a certain theme during discussions.

    Freshmen focus on identifying who they are, sophomores talk about their relationships (namely family and friends), juniors talk about the challenges they have encountered and how they have overcome them and seniors (of which there are currently none) mentor freshmen groups and talk about what they have learned from their time in LXG.

    Each meetings discussion is led by a different member of the group, allowing for each person in the unit to demonstrate leader-ship skills and infl uence the topic with his own experiences and feelings.

    Service has also been intro-duced into the Leagues curricu-lum, and several organized com-munity service projects have been completed. One of the more re-cent projects LXG participated in was removing leaves and wash-ing windows at the Childrens Relief Nursery.

    The leaders of LXG make up what is called the Consulate, rep-resenting the main pillars of the group. The Legatus (president) is junior Andrew Berigan, the Con-sul for Brotherhood is Caldwell, the Consul for Justice is junior Brian Walsh and the Consul for Masculinity is junior Matthew Vanderlaan.

    These men are all interested in fi nding out what it means to be a man.

    That component about ex-amining masculinity has been a really important piece for us, Noem said. Its been an impor-tant value to keep us grounded in our identity as human beings and to talk about and overcome the conventional stereotypes.

    Over the past three years, LXG has grown from 11 men to over 60. It seems to double in size each year, to the great happiness of Noem and the student mem-bers.

    Weve spread virally, with the initial group telling everyone to join, joked Kearney.

    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is meant to help men on campus get involved. With group discussion, community service and a uniting sense of brotherhood, LXG is working to reverse the negative male trend at UP and get guys involved in an extracurricular activity.

    LXG explores timeless side of masculinity

    LaurenSeynhaeveStaff Writer


    Campus club fosters the pursuit ofauthentic male values and concerns

    Courtesy of Creede CaldwellJuniors Kyle Kearney, Stephen Kam and Nick Etzel, members of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, take a breather while on a recent hiking trip.

    One day during lunch, Uni-versity President Rev. E. Wil-liam Beauchamp expressed to Dr. Thomas Greene, dean of the graduate school, his desire to see a