The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


OPINION: How to make the best of ghost visits

Joey DeLucia
The Laughlin House on the Chatham Shadyside campus.

I believe in ghosts. I was born and raised with a magical mindset. I was told that fairies and gnomes visited our vegetable garden, I was a fairy for Halloween three years in a row and I had a plethora of supernatural or fantasy books. Oh, and I come from a family of witches. 

My mom, her sister and a few great aunts and grandmothers practice Wicca, a broad belief system that many witches practice in different ways. Typically, Wicca is a modern form of paganism that is centered more around nature. The Wicca I was raised with taught me that everything in our world is alive in its own way and should be respected. Our actions, good and bad, affect the world around us through Karma. Spirits are often held in high regard because it is believed that our spirits stick around on Earth after we die. This belief led me to always hold a deep respect for nature and the world around me, both the physical and spirit world. 

In pagan belief, Samhain, or Halloween as we know it now, is seen as the time of year when the spiritual barriers between the two worlds thin, so more ghosts come out to play. While my mom’s side of the family was more open to the idea of spirits roaming around, my dad’s side, who do not practice Wicca, took a more practical approach, only believing and telling ghost stories in order to scare the children. Thus I grew up, much like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, with a kind of practical paganism. I typically exhaust all possibilities before I jump to ghosts, like blaming issues on the old bones of the building or other students playing pranks, but I always considered ghosts as an option. So, in the spirit of the season, I would like to tell you a ghost story.  

But first I must ask, do you believe in ghosts? If you do, you may want to grab a friend for comfort before reading this story. If you scoffed to yourself when you first read the word ghost, you might change your mind after this.

I live in the beautiful and deeply haunted Laughlin House, where I am a member of the Women and Femme Aligned LLC. I love this house and the community residing inside of it, but friendly housemates are not the only beings residing in Laughlin House. It is relatively well-known the reputation that the LLC houses have with its haunted inhabitants: supposedly when James Laughlin and Julia Rea were having an affair they would meet in the tunnels connecting the two buildings to keep the affair secret. James Rea discovered the affair and confronted Laughlin. Heartbroken, Laughlin would later commit suicide in his home. It is said that his ghost roams the halls of my dormitory. My roommates and I joked about this ghost story quite often. It was just talk used to simply pass the time and open up to friendly conversation. There weren’t really any ghosts in the house, right? 

About a month ago, my roommates, two night owls opposite my 9 p.m. bedtime, started to complain about paranormal experiences. The locked closet door would open on its own late into the night, laundry bags were being thrown off hangers and they would hear knocks on walls and doors when no one was there. You know, normal ghost stuff. 

As the activity started to pick up, I decided to just ignore it. Sometimes the ghost doesn’t want to be noticed. Maybe he was just checking in and seeing if we moved in alright. Above all else, there is one massive do-not-break-this rule ghost rule: do not mess with the ghost. So, I decided that if I don’t try to gain the ghost’s attention, they won’t make my head spin around like the girl from “The Exorcist.” This is the route most teens from horror movies refuse to take.

A few weeks passed with minimal supernatural activity. Then, right as fall started to peak its head around the corner, something very strange happened. 

My roommate, her friend and I were hanging out in the room when the LED lights around the window started going haywire, blinking in random intervals and changing color even when we tried to change them back to their original color. As a joke, my roommate asked, “Is this James Laughlin? Blink once for ‘yes,’ twice for ‘no.’” We started laughing.

Blink. The lights flashed.

Oh God. 

After a second that felt like an eternity of the three of us sharing wide-eyed eye contact, we asked another question: “Is Julia Rea with you? Blink once for ‘yes,’ twice for ‘no.’” 

Blink blink. More flickering lights.


After a few more questions, many of which are too vulgar for this newspaper, I unplugged the LEDs from the outlet and swiftly sprinkled salt around the room. Sprinkling salt around an area is supposed to cleanse it of malevolent spirits. Since then, not much happened that I would deem to be supernatural. Maybe Laughlin used up all his energy on possessing some Target LEDs. But there are nights when I feel the unmistakable feeling of being watched, where shadows dart across the room and I have the good sense to know that I am not alone. Those are the nights I sleep with the nightlight on and some holy water by my bed. 

In my time in Laughlin, I have started to think of James Laughlin as our fourth roommate. Though the constant feeling of being watched and the communication through the lights is, in fact, terrifying. Being able to laugh about it, to really be in tune with the season, is the best way to experience the supernatural. Take it from me: many ghosts are just bored. You would be too if your spirit was trapped in a 100-year-old dormitory. So, when in an encounter with a ghost make sure to be respectful, have fun and have a happy Halloween.

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About the Contributor
Joey DeLucia
Joey DeLucia, Contributing Writer
Joelle “Joey” DeLucia 27’ is a Psychology major with a Creative Writing minor and is a contributing writer for the Communique. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and is proud of it! She chose Chatham for its beautiful campus, empowering atmosphere, and its proximity to coffee shops and bookstores. Joey is a part of many organizations on campus such as the Martial Arts Club, the Tabletop Gaming Club, and is a resident at the Women and Femme Aligned LLC.

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