By Ben Macintosh
Dalton Hall may not be the busiest of buildings on campus, but it might be the most active place for UPEI’s otherworldly activity.
Edward MacDonald today is a professor at UPEI, but around 30 years ago he was doing research on St. Dunstan’s University, which became UPEI in 1969. Macdonald sent surveys out to former students and staff of the school about their experience at St. Dunstan’s. Many talked about ghost activity in Dalton Hall.
“Students had claimed that someone had seen the ghost, or that there was an unexplained coldness, puddles of water on the floor where there shouldn’t be a leak,” MacDonald said.
He decided to do more research on the haunting of Dalton Hall.
“The basic outlines of the story were about a student who was living in Dalton Hall, which was a residence,” he said.
“They were out after curfew, because in those days the school had a curfew, and limited access to the world outside campus and they had frozen to death.”
After researching the origins of the ghost story, MacDonald found a historical event similar to the haunting story involving a student at St. Dunstan’s named Ivan Molloy.
He said, according to the newspaper reports on Valentine’s Day 1931, Molloy and a friend went into Charlottetown.
His friend arrived back on campus after curfew and discovered Molloy was no longer with him.
The next morning a search party found his body lying behind a snowbank in what’s now the Brown’s Court area.
Molloy’s death is tied very closely to the ghost stories, MacDonald said.
“It was a tragedy and in a sense a scandal for the university and the haunting is connected to that death,” he said.
As with most stories, the haunting of Dalton Hall changed throughout the years.
“It’s not surprising to me that Ivan Molloy’s name got forgotten pretty quickly. The interesting thing is layers of details have gotten added over the years,” MacDonald said.
He said one of the most popular occurrences surrounding the haunting has to do with water.
“Students who stayed in residence there would inexplicably see a puddle of water at the end of the hall, supposedly outside his room, where the snow had melted off the ghost,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald says he has not heard of anyone seeing the ghost in quite some time, not since Dalton was used as a residence.
Time will tell if last year’s renovations scared off the ghost or if it will return someday.