Legend has it that Lynn’s Callahan School is haunted

This article was published 15 year(s) and 8 month(s) ago.

LYNN – The supernatural.Since the beginning of time man has pondered what takes place when our mortal clock expires, and from cave etchings to television specials evidence of life after death would appear to exist – at least in the world of imagination.It is an idea so far fetched, yet so plausible that an entire culture of psychics and ghost hunters have spiked the world’s curiosity with claims of communication with the after life.After all, who hasn’t felt the hair stand up on the back of their neck in a dark basement? Was that a draft that slammed the attic door, or someone who wants us out of here? Even photographs have been known to show orbs and streaks of light commonly associated with the energy of a ghost.One such legend has been growing at the Julia F. Callahan Elementary School for decades, where staff and students swear the ghost of the education pioneer is haunting the hallways of the building that bears her name.Born in Salem in 1861, Callahan moved to Lynn as a small child, where she remained a resident and served in the Lynn Public Schools as a teacher and principal for more than 50 years.As head of the Myrtle Street School, now the Lincoln-Thompson Elementary, Callahan founded the Parent Teacher Association after becoming concerned with hooligans who were apparently wasting time on the corner near her Holyoke Street home.In 1895 she organized four teachers and 30 parents in her living room and held the first PTA meeting, an idea that grew across the country and eventually evolved in to the parent teacher organizations many schools have today.The Julia F. Callahan Elementary School opened on O’Callaghan Way in 1952, the same year Callahan died. As the building grew older and more and more students passed through, rumors surfaced that Callahan was roaming the hallways, keeping an eye on the children learning in her classrooms.”I have been here since 1982,” says teacher Bernadette Stamm. “And this legend has been here longer than me.”The evidence is there. Doors slam in the library, windows whistle in the wind. A group of third graders once snuck on to the roof during a school vacation, claiming they had seen the ghost walk through an open access door.But inconsistencies surface when talking about her cause of death. The popular idea is that a bookcase in the school library crushed her. Others believe she fell off the roof, or died of a heart attack in her office.For his part, Principal Ed Turmenne will neither confirm nor deny the existence of Julia’s ghost, he will only tell the story as he heard it when he took over 15 years ago. He says having the legend in the school is a good thing, because it keeps the students talking and it keeps them interested.”In the spirit of being a positive influence we will not confirm nor deny the story. Kids need that type of imagination, as long as it is positive,” he said. “Our take is that Julia is a positive spirit. Keeping an eye on the students and watching over their safety.”Among the students the legend has really taken on a life of its own. Everyone in the school knows about the ghost, and students are not shy about telling stories of their close encounters.Here are the first-hand accounts of fourth and fifth graders at the Callahan School, telling their version of the Julia Callahan legend.”I believe that Julia died in the attic upstairs, I think she was crushed by a bookcase,” wrote fifth-grader Rachael Felice. “I believe in Julia because one day me and my friend Nicole were in the basement bathroom getting changed for cheering, and we heard high heels like this ‘click, click, click’ but we knew we were the only two in the basement. When we looked out the door, right when we popped our heads out, the noise stopped. Now, I will not go into the bathrooms in the basement alone.”Maramell Baldwin has a similar account from the haunted bathroom.”One day I was going into the boy’s bathroom and I heard this creep, creep noise like hhhhh. As soon as I heard that, I washed my h

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