Bryn Mawr College - Merion Hall

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Bryn Mawr College’s Merion Hall is rumored to be haunted by Lillian Vickers, who died in 1901. Lillian, according to campus legend, was happy and popular before she died, distraught over the fact that she had leprosy. In some versions, she jumped out a window of the third floor to her death, after accidentally setting herself on fire while trying to treat herself with kerosene. In others, she committed suicide. Now, Lillian’s ghost is said to hang out in the chimney. She opens and closes doors and tinkers with computers, and some students have left offerings of candy for her.

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Geographic Information

802 New Gulph Road
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
United States

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40.02817198978668, -75.3132559061487
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Nearest Towns:
Bryn Mawr, PA (0.7 mi.)
Ardmore, PA (2.1 mi.)
Radnor, PA (2.8 mi.)
West Conshohocken, PA (2.9 mi.)
Narberth, PA (3.1 mi.)
Penn Wynne, PA (3.5 mi.)
Conshohocken, PA (3.6 mi.)
Broomall, PA (4.0 mi.)
Wayne, PA (4.1 mi.)
Bala Cynwyd, PA (4.4 mi.)


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  1. Lillian is kind of an interesting spirit, though definitely not malevolent and not too shy about letting Mawrtyrs know she’s still watching. Lillian’s death itself was a pretty tragic affair and the exact nature of how she died remains a bit of a mystery. Some claim she had been taking an oil bath to combat leprosy (she had likely self-diagnosed herself with the condition) and when the bath accidentally caught on fire she ran down the hall and jumped out the window. Her obituary in the New York Times states she dropped a match her bathmat and the fire spread to her robe and engulfed her. Letter’s written by then-president M. Carey Thomas maintain that Lillian suffered from some kind of mental illness–probably depression–and lit herself on fire after soaking her nightgown in alcohol and kerosene and locking herself in the bathroom.

    The nature of ghostly encounters with Lillian vary. Many students who live on the third floor report doors and windows opening and shutting of their own accord, objects falling or being moved, students living in the room across the hall from what was Lillian’s often report birds and bats somehow finding their way up three flights of stairs and down a hall into their locked room. However, I still think my favorite of Lillian’s antics is when she puts students to bed.

    Whether it’s out of concern for the student’s health because they should be getting some shuteye before their 8am Chinese intensive (at least that’s what we tell tour groups) that morning or simply annoyance that the student is still up, Lillian has been known to suddenly and without warning shut off all the lights and leave the dorm in total darkness. Anyone familiar with Lillian knows to heed her advice and respond accordingly: simply say, “thank you. Lillian,” crawl into bed, and stay there for the rest of the night. I don’t know what happens if you challenge or ignore her but I’m guessing it’s not a good idea

    Of course, anyone interested in learning more about Lillian Vickers can find a good amount of information in the Bi-College News and the College News archives.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.