Students claim to experience paranormal activity in Josephine Louise residence hall

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Sophie Bennett | Associate Photographer
It was 4:00 a.m., and Sylvie Frechette, former Josephine Louise Hall resident and transfer student, got out of bed to use the restroom on the first floor. She said she pushed open the door and found trash cans knocked over onto the floor and each shower running. Yet, she saw no one. She was alone.

With Halloween just around corner, Tulane students do not have to go far to experience the spookiness of the season. In fact, some people do not even have to leave their dorm rooms.

Josephine Louise Hall, the all-girls dorm on campus, is home to its fair share of spooky stories.

Built in 1887 by Josephine Louise Newcomb in honor of her daughter, JL is an original building of Sophie Newcomb College and the only single-sex dorm currently on Tulane’s campus. In 1918, influenza broke out, and Newcomb girls could not escape the pandemic.

The infirmary was overrun, so the third floor of JL served as an extension and housed many sick patients. It is rumored that one or two girls died inside the building during this time.

The third floor area, now known as The Deep, has student rooms, storage facilities, a study lounge and a food prep area.

A former resident of JL, sophomore Fabi Lacau, said she experienced the paranormal activity of JL for herself.

“One time my water bottle legitimately fell off my shelf and went like halfway across the room and hit me in the head while I was over near the door,” Lacau said.

Lacau said she has believed in paranormal activity ever since using a Ouija board in high school.

“I don’t know if it was actually a ghost, but it was definitely just strange,” she added.

Rachel Bogin and Emily Nestel had similar incidents while living in JL last year. And they were roommates.

“We would come home and our twinkly lights would be turned on, even though we didn’t turn them on,” Bogin said. “And things would randomly fall off of shelves all the time.”  

Resident Director Rachel Weber, however, is skeptical of these “ghost” experiences.

“In the summers, I live there by myself, in a 100-year-old building, and I’ve never had an incident or any issues,” Weber said.

Those without the opportunity to connect with the paranormal themselves can interact with the ghost on Twitter @realjlghost.

The account was created by Ishanya Narang and a friend while living in JL last year.

“We would sometimes hear random sounds that we couldn’t trace back to a person or object,” Narang said. “So we decided that there was definitely a ghost and made the twitter handle.”

Weber added that though community governments and resident advisors have wanted to play into students’ fear in the past, JL has never followed through.

“I think it’s fun to be fake scared, like why people go see scary movies, but not to be real scared,” Weber said.