Fundraiser combines campus effort

This October, ghost stories and history combine at Ghosts Afloat, a fundrasier that is going to be held on Erie’s Brig Niagara.

The Brig Niagara is one of the last surviving ships from the War of 1812 that was used by Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie.

Erie Maritime Museum has teamed up with Mercyhurst College to create this fundraiser that will benefit both the Museum and the Brig Niagara.

It will be a haunted ship that is open to the public the last three weekends of October: Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15 and 16, 22 and 23 and 29 and 30, respectively.

This event has been revived from the 1990s and it is the first time Mercyhurst has been invited to be a lead sponsor.

It is a collaborative effort led by Director of Service Learning Colin Hurley.

Hurley said he could not pass up this “unique opportunity,” but he could not do it alone. He credits Stephanie Heher, an interior design instructor, for all her help and hard work.

As well as a fundraiser and community event, Ghosts Afloat is a creative display of many Mercyhurst programs. Some of the programs involved include interior design, history, music, dance, communication, sustainability and hospitality.

The music department is creating original compositions to be played during the haunted ship, the history department is looking up folklore and checking historical accuracy, HRIM will be selling fall themed foods and beverages, the communication department is writing press releases and briefs and the dance department is creating original choreography for the dancers to perform.

“The dance department is so excited about the exposure this event gives through service and performances by students and faculty; not to mention how much fun we will have creating projects around this theme,” Dance Department Chair Tauna Hunter said.

“Ghosts Afloat highlights experiential learning in a unique and memorable way,” Hurley said. “We’re hoping for a great collaborative event.”

There will also be surprises such as a deranged cook, a mad surgeon, ghostly women singing, a demented captain and many others popping up. For example, they are planning to have people crawl up onto the ship from the water through the ports where the cannons usually go. There will also be smoke created by the wood burning stove, which will set the sights and smells for the event.

The cost of the event is to be announced soon. Any students wishing to get involved can email Colin Hurley at

For more information go here.