CNU Myths

Despite being relatively young, CNU has accumulated quite a few myths and legends. From what orientation leaders tell their students during Welcome Week, to darker rumors about ghosts, secret societies, hidden tunnels, and even Paul Trible’s sleeping habits, here are some of the myths you may hear throughout your time at CNU.


  1. If you step into the dreaded Santoro seal, you won’t graduate.

Outside of the Santoro residence hall and Commons, there is a circular pattern in the brick walkway with a circle in the center. Beginning during freshman orientation, CNU students are informed that stepping inside of this inner circle prior to graduation is dangerous. The rumor is that those who step inside are unable to graduate in four years. Some students carelessly walk through the circle, while other daredevils attempt to jump over it whenever they pass.


  1. Santoro has a pool on the fifth floor.

Rumor has it that the fifth floor of Santoro houses a hidden pool––and that is why the elevators require a keycard to access the top floor. Like many academic buildings and residence halls, Santoro has a mysterious floor that likely no students have been to.


  1. The Ferguson Center is haunted.

Previously Ferguson High School, the current Ferguson Center is made up of additions to the old buildings. There are hallways which even have the old lockers and classrooms of high school students. At night, the Ferg becomes a tad eerie. A closed down gym, the halls of the old building where CNU students once ventured to leave disturbing messages on the decaying walls, and hidden gardens give the building a mysterious feel. However, the darkest rumor of all is that a student once fell down the main staircase of the Ferg, and died at Ferguson High School. Now, their ghost apparently haunts the performing arts classrooms and black box theatre. Occasionally, CNU students claim that they have a paranormal experience while wandering the Ferg’s hallways late at night.


  1. Human bodies are kept in Forbes.

Students claim that the Vivarium and locked up laboratories housed in Forbes Hall contain not only animal samples but actual human bodies. Are they used for experiments? Are they simply cadavers used for various classes? Or are they a part of something even more sinister? Only students working in the labs and their professors potentially have direct key card access to the facilities–but even then, the Vivarium is large, with winding hallways and locked rooms. Who knows what could be behind those doors?


  1. There are secret societies on campus.

Perhaps not as famous as Yale’s Skull and Bones, CNU has its own set of secret societies. Who the members include, how many people are involved, and what exactly they do is relatively unknown––but occasionally, odd events on campus point to their mysterious existence. There are three that appear to be currently active on campus; Pay it Forward (PIF), the Society of the Severed Hand, and Stare Decisis.

PIF is a group of anonymous do-gooders; they leave candy around campus, rubber duckies on the first day of school, and seem to be all about brightening the day of others. They paint a rock near the JR Courts and the Whisper Wall with inspirational quotes and their triangle logo.

The Society of the Severed Hand, in contrast, seems far more mysterious and claims to combat apathy. They have a rock of their own, covered in red hand prints––located between McMurran and Ratcliffe Hall. Previous reports claim that they have existed since 1976, have a high focus on intellectualism, and publish an occasional pamphlet titled “The Falling Apple.”

Finally, Stare Decisis publishes short essays attempting to mimic the Federalist Papers. The essays are often waxed and sealed and signed using various founding fathers as pseudo names.  They also paint a rock on the JR Courts––often with a gold star.

The Falling Apple and the Stare Decisis publications are often scattered throughout academic buildings. Little is known about how these organizations recruit their members or whether they truly exist, but occasionally students claim to have been contacted by any one of them via a cryptic email.


  1. Secret tunnels and hidden hallways exist around campus.

Some claim that they have found secret tunnels underneath the campus. You might be able to spot various drainage pipes behind the Ferguson center––and rumor has it that inside is a pathway all the way across campus, covered with mysterious graffiti messages. It might be a fun place to adventure if it truly exists––except for the fact that it is likely just the opening to a sewer and potentially contains snakes.

Similarly, there is a world of hidden hallways in all academic buildings. The most popular one to look for is on the fourth floor of Luter––it can only be accessed by one elevator, and after walking around the top of the atrium, rumor has it that a door often remains unlocked, providing access to a long, thin, and eerie hallway with no unlocked doors and no windows.


  1. President Trible sleeps in his office.

Every captain knows that Paul Trible eats, sleeps and breathes CNU. He is frequently spotted around campus and students react as though it were a celebrity sighting. Currently, his office is on the fourth floor of Christopher Newport Hall, and some believe he might temporarily live in a hidden suite within the building. Despite having a beautiful home within walking distance of CNU, which all CNU students have the opportunity to visit Freshman year, perhaps President Trible just truly cannot get enough of CNU and takes to sleeping in his office. Who knows?