Volunteering in Philly August 1st – August 5th

After a long and wonderful 10 days getting to know all of the other fabulous LVs and LV Program staff (They really are awesome!), the New York LVs (aside from Kenny) went to Philadelphia. “Why?” you might be ask. Well, we could hardy go to our new communities while the brothers were at their annual retreat in Philadelphia. Thus, Br. Ed was on it, and offered our services as totally awesome volunteers to a new school that was opening up in North Philly.

The school is on the grounds of St. James the Less, and episcopalian church that no longer has a congregation. The grounds are split in half by a lovely little one way street. On one side is the graveyard with a cute little chapel that has a very intense front door lock-system (It’s like something from the middle ages, bars and pins and all sorts of interesting things!). On the other side is the school with another little chapel and the rectory.

We all stayed in the rectory in one room with a lovely little air conditioner. Which ended up being a more helpful than we expected, by the way. Not the air conditioner, though. The all staying in one room bit. There were quite a few eerie happenings while we were there. But I’ll get to that later.

While we were there, we did what we could to help them get ready for their opening. We watered their gardens, mowed their lawns, cleaned away brush, painted bathrooms, cleared out some rooms in the rectory, organized the art room, and helped with an important mailing for their opening. Which doesn’t really sound like a whole lot. But we got most of it done, and were even able to see a few sights while we were in Philly, which was totally awesome!

We wandered down South Street, and we got to try real Philly Cheese Steaks, wiz wit and all, from Pat’s King of Steaks.

We took some time to check out the older parts of Philadelphia and got to see the Liberty Bell too, which was really amazing! One night we went to the art museum, aka the Rocky Steps (as in the steps he runs up in the movie):

At the top there’s this cool little thing commemorating the movie:

I have more pictures to show, but I don’t have my camera cord yet to get them off my camera, so these are all from my phone (in other words, sorry about the quality!)

So, back to those eerie happenings I first mentioned at the start of this post…

Our first day there, Jenni went upstairs to the room, and everyone else was in one room downstairs, and the doorknobs were jiggling in the room upstairs with her. Needless to say, she never went upstairs alone after that.

Another time, Chris went to the door of our room to open it while we were all in the room, and we heard thumping and knocking downstairs.

One time when I was upstairs alone, there was a creaking behind me, like someone was following me, but there was no one  behind me. I even tried backing up to see if the creaks were just delayed or something, but the creaking still came from behind me, even though I hadn’t stood there in a few minutes.

On Wednesday, Krystal and Andres were in a storage closet trying to find a light. They spotted the switch and Krystal reached towards it, but before she could touch it, it flipped up and the light turned on…and Andres hadn’t touched it either.

Meanwhile, there was this little grave in the corner of the yard with the rectory and the school (as in, not in the graveyard across the street). Story has it that the body buried there belonged to a priest who used to commit mass murders of entire families. When he found out that the police knew who he was, he committed suicide in the rectory, making it so that he was couldn’t be buried in on the holy grounds of the graveyard. So they dug him a grave in the corner of the yard and gave him a headstone with nothing other than the initials S. A. N. on it…no date, nada.

Thursday, during lunch Al Cassidy came to visit the school (he’s associated with the LV program, and St. James), and we told him about what had happened. He wanted to see the grave, and in checking it out, he cleared some of the brush off the grave, which actually made it look a little nicer (it was pretty bad still). That was the last day anything weird happened while we were there.

The principle of the school told us about her experience when we told her about our stories. One night she was closing the door to the classroom, and she heard a whispered shushing sound. Freaked out, she ran out of the building without locking anything up or setting the alarm. The next day, she discovered that it was probably just the air pressure leaving the room.

A few days later, she was in her office telling three other people about what had happened and proclaiming that she doesn’t believe in ghosts and basically bad-mouthing the idea of ghosts. All of a sudden her top two shelves of books flew across the room, the shelves and pins from the wall following.

Creepy, huh?

So the questions “Do ghosts exist? Is there a possibility that paranormal activity could be real?” remain, and stories like these fuel the fire of the believers. Do I believe? I kind of doubt it all, but just in case, I’m going to keep quite and pray a little harder.

Leave me with your ingenious insight:

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