XU Library ghosts tell their story

Mary Sue, Chad and Dee Mann all took more than four years to graduate

BY ESSE KARY, ‘Built Different’
Newswire photo by Erik Maahs
The dark rows of haunted books in the MacDonald library have been whispering their stories for as long as the university has been around. The only remaining question is whether or not you are patient enough to listen.

In the Annex, an archive for Xavier’s books, ghosts haunt the building’s basement level. Seeing as I visit the Annex at least once a week, I took it upon myself to interview the unknown. Xavier ghosts have been a phenomenon in the past few years. It’s only fair to finally give the library’s dead their limelight. 

Mary Sue is an unfortunate case. She got lost in the transfer of books into the Annex due to rapid movement sparked by COVID-19. Formerly a young adult novel trope, Mary Sue now haunts the archive’s aisles bored out of her mind. 

“I can’t show off my rainbow hair or overpowered supernatural powers anymore,” Sue sadly explained, while flapping her angel wings and flicking her devil tail. “Now my brother Gary Stu will get all the attention”. I felt sympathy for the ghost and her aura of perfection, no longer an iconic staple in the McDonald Library’s fiction section.

On the way to the archives I passed a workout room that seems abandoned, or rather, not recently used. Here I discovered another ghost with a tragic backstory: Chad. 

Chad was preparing for a basketball game when he drank a deadly protein shake. Evidently, he had poured one too many scoops of pre-workout into his shake. On the bench of his last press, Chad informed me he “died working on the loves of my life” and “never stopped the grind”. 

After flexing the muscles on top of his muscles Chad confessed he wished “that everyone saw the big heart under my rockin’ hard pecs”. 

I agreed that his pecs are large and assured him that I think his heart would certainly be a big size if he were still alive to have one. The latter might’ve triggered some ghost feelings because Chad started “sweating from his eyes”. 

Further into the aisles within the Annex I met a sentient cloud of dust. As a “former” asthmatic, this Xavier-student-turned-ghost haunts the dustiest books in Annex to protect the fellow breathing-disabled. 

From the year 1899, they recall “not bringing an inhaler led to my demise at the ripe age of 18”. Aiming for a future in med school they regret not following rules and plan to steer any asthmatics away by continuing to coat Annex in an abundance of dust. 

And if I must say so myself… They’ve done quite a good job. Wiping away layers from the shelves and returning the next day to even more is evidence enough. I’m hoping my roommate follows the message I’ve passed on because she won’t use her inhaler and really should since she wheezes all night long. 

“Your generation is too spoiled and privileged,” they commented in response to my complaints about my roommate. I walked away as they continued to rant about white supremacy, traditional values, sexism and whatnot. Silly ghosts and their time periods.

Last but not least, I interviewed another ex-Xavier student named Dee Mann. An aspiring English major, Mann’s passion in life was poetry. He now permanently resides within the smaller area of archived poetry books. Mann doesn’t complain but instead admits “I enjoy scaring everyone away from what’s rightfully mine, and never running out of things to read”. 

Through some coaxing Mann gave minute details regarding his death. They involve making a wish upon supernatural forces during a truth-and-dare session on campus. The soulless, black eyes of Mann constantly stare through the window of the room into the periodical archives, but I don’t mind the attention. Seems like a cool guy. 

Fortunately, though, my job is working with periodicals, so I can avoid his nasally knock-off-Shakespeare prose.