The Urban Legends and oddities of Saint John’s University.


Christopher Herron

The Saint John’s Abbey on the Saint John’s University campus in Collegeville, MN.


I’ve always been fascinated by the odd and supernatural things in life, so I decided to list a few of my favorite and in my opinion the most interesting oddities and urban myths around the Saint John’s University, I must warn you that some of  these legends are based on events that have happened years ago and are not backed by any historical documents.

Sharon Mollerus
The statute of Baby Jesus sitting on his mother Mary’s lap, also known as “Mary, Throne of Wisdom”

Saint John’s Abbey mummy: If you attend a Catholic church in the St. Cloud area, you’ve probably taken a field trip to the Saint John’s Abbey to visit the monks, but that’s not all that is held at this beautiful church. At the Saint John’s Abbey, visitors may be invited to follow one of the monks to the basement, not to do confession nor see some rare artifacts but instead to see and possibly be blessed by Saint Peregrine the Martyr, Saint John’s 15-year-old (age when he died) mummy.  Peregrine is the church’s first and only Saint since 1927.  He was brought from Saint Anselm Church in the Bronx but the Saint is originally from Rome 1345 making him 674 years old. He was whipped to death along with three others for speaking out against the current Emperor of the time, Emperor Commodus.

The Saint John’s University bear haunting: This urban legend says that a young bear named Murro, who for a while, was the campus’s unofficial mascot, was sadly killed after going savage and killing a student who physically attacked the bear with an oar.  It is said that Murro still haunts the local lakeshore on the university campus.

Photo via Flickr under the creative commons license
A picture of of Lake Sagatagan the location for most on campus hauntings.

Chiming bells & the drowned monk: This story tells the tale of two monks and the first bell that was supposed to go into the small chapel that sits across Lake Sagatagan.  It is said that when the monks were first finishing the chapel, they decided that two monks would row the roughly 500 pound cast iron bell across the lake instead of carting it around lake. Sadly, the bell broke through the boat.  One of the monk’s belt rope ties hooked onto the bell, and he was plunged into the lake and drowned to death.  Now it’s said the bell that sits at the bottom of the lake chimes at odd hours of the night.

The suicide room: Aurora Hall is your typical girl dorm hall on the College of St. Benedict’s campus (CSB is the sister school to SJU) except for one room.  Nobody is allowed to room in it, and students are pressed to choose a dorm out of its vicinity due to its horrifying past.  According to the on-campus rumor, a female student killed herself in the dorm.  As a precaution, a nun started living there in order to calm the spirit. Soon after, the nun took her own life as well.  Years later, another incident with the same room and a female student occurred.  After the event, the room was sealed and taken off the dorm listing forever.  It is not known what caused these women to commit suicide, but it is reported by other dormers nearby that they’ve heard strange sounds and seen things move by themselves.

Mysterious blue light: This urban legend tells about a horrifying event that took place inside a campus tower.  The story says that two monks performed an exorcism (the spiritual act performed by priests or monks to get rid of an evil spirit) but the exorcism failed, and the glowing light that shows through the tower window is the physical representation of the evil spirit that still lives there.

All entries come from these links or personal witness accounts by students:

The Haunting: CSB/SJU Tales from Beyond the Grave

Ghosts of the Prairie