This Day in Bonaventure History

By Joe Pinter, News Editor, @JPinter93

October 12, 1978

It has long been assumed that there is a ghost on campus—Willie Cooper. His name is even engraved on the WWII memorial on campus.

Some people say Willie is the ghost of De La Roche Hall. However, Willie was said to have visited another place on campus—the fifth floor of Devereux Hall.

In September 1978, the residents of Dev had to evacuate the building after an “explosion.” There is still no cause to the explosion; however, students believe it fits right in with the tales of black masses, murders and exorcisms.

It was on this day that The Bona Venture wrote a famous story about the history of Dev and its ghost.

Students have been living in Dev since 1928, but it has been more than 50 years since students have lived on the fifth floor.

A fire destroyed parts of the building in 1930, causing the fifth floor to temporarily house students while the building was being redone.

During this time, the freshmen football team lived on the fifth floor. But once the building was finished, students were moved off to another floor. This coincides with legend.  

After this, the west wing of the fifth floor was used for fraternity meetings in 1963 and 1964. The east wing was locked up.

After the east wing became locked, rumors floated around about strange things that happened there.

According to Rev. Alphonse Trabold, O.F.M., an exorcism did not take place. However, he did say that a “kind of desecration” did. The friars have had books on the subject, and in the past, students have stolen them and read about it.

However, no evidence of these events was found on the floor after it was opened for recreation.

Not too long after the floor was opened, it was suddenly closed. The reasons are still, to this day, not clear. The entire floor then became a storage area.

In October of 1978 the Devereux Dorm Council wanted to renovate the floor and make it into a lounge again. All the furniture was still in it. This would never happen.

Many reasons attributed to the floor not being reopened, mainly the fact that there are no sprinklers or fire alarms. The floor has been locked for years.

But Bonaventure students are sure that one person will always be on the floor—Willie Cooper.