Thursday, April 12, 2012

PLU Ghost Hunters, Part Two: Eastvold Auditorium

The reports

Ghostly presence in Eastvold is an undisputed understanding for the Pacific Lutheran theatre community, accepted by students and faculty. Years of students have reported the presence of a spirit on the mainstage, in the audience and underneath the stage, most frequently seen in the upper-left corner of the balcony, whom the department refers to as “Matilda.” Experiences range from a figure standing or sitting in the balcony, a “pair of eyes” seen in the same location, as reported by custodian Peggy McKenna and unexplained sounds throughout the space.

Recently, several students have reported a new presence in the brand new black box studio theatre. The first student to encounter the new ghost reported him as a male, appearing in shadow forms in the studio and on the mainstage. The source described the entity as “threatening.”

According to popularly accepted paranormal research, entities that appear in shadow forms are usually more malevolent than lighter apparitions. Additionally, spirits that only surface after renovations are often angry or disturbed.


Team 1 findings
By Jack Sorensen, Focus Editor

Amelia Heath and I were able to spend two evening conducting research in Eastvold. Our first-night experience on the mainstage returned nothing, but our experience in the studio was harrowing, to say the least.

We placed two chairs center stage and spend two hours conducting an attempted EVP conversation with any spirits in the space. Results came quickly.

There are two kinds of hauntings, as described by researchers: residual, where a spirit simply goes about its habits in space, unaware of any living people, and intelligent. Intelligent entities can interact and communicate with the living.

What we found in the studio was very intelligent.

Throughout our conversation, we received many responses on cue. When we would ask for a sign of a presence, which we felt was masculine, we would get a knocking or tapping sound somewhere in the space. When we didn’t ask, it was silent.

We couldn’t begin to imagine what proceeded. We soon moved into an active, intelligent question-and-answer session with the entity. Amelia or I would pose a yes-or-no question, and ask for corresponding knocks. On one question we would get a knock after we said “knock if you answer yes.” In another, we would receive the same response after the “no” option.

It seemed the deeper we delved into our conversation, the more active the presence became. We soon began to see a tall, dark shadow moving around locations in the studio theatre: always the stage right wing, the top of the stairs and the stage left wing.

At one point, Amelia and I saw the dark shade pass in between two curtains in the stage right corner of the space. Stunned, I asked the spirit to move again. When conducting an investigation, it is important to constantly ask for signs and signals.

Shockingly, the shadow passed behind the curtain again, in the opposite direction.

At this point in the night, Amelia began to feel as if she was being prodded, and I could have sworn my pant leg was tugged while I was seated.

We later saw the shadow again, this time in a prop doorway. When Amelia asked for another sign, I informed the spirit we were watching the door. I then saw the same shadow duck out from behind a nearby curtain, then hide again, like it was peering at us.

Following analysis, we collected many possible EVP recordings the first night, including breathing sounds in the microphone, rattling and the most hair-raising, audio recordings of a man’s whisper saying “no way.” At one point in the evening, we asked the spirit if he thought we were funny. EVP picked up a “yes” answer. Following extended silence, we later asked the spirit if he was still in the space.

“Yes I am,” the EVP recording told us.

Our experience the first night was pleasant, and we believed we had encountered a mischievous, though safe, spirit.

Our encounter the second night was not so positive.

Amelia and I began our second night in the studio theatre, hoping for the same experience as last time. Within five minutes, however, we both began to feel incredibly uneasy. We asked for signs of the spirit’s presence, and received no response until the fifth time we asked, to which we received a loud knock on the stairs to my right, Amelia’s left.

I began to experience incredibly negative feelings, and finally described a feeling I could only call “threatened.” Amelia said she felt the same way. Respectfully, we asked the spirit to give us a sign if he wanted us to leave.

I immediately heard a tapping on the wall, though Amelia said she didn’t hear anything. So she asked again.

What came next was the single most unnerving moment of my life.

After she asked for a sign, I heard a whisper to my right clearly saying “out.” I told Amelia, and she said she didn’t catch it. So she asked for another sign.

Sure enough, to Amelia’s left she heard the frightening word: “out.” We heard the same thing.

We immediately packed up our things and headed to the mainstage, where we met up with Reno Sorensen and Emily Biggs.

Amelia’s and my experience on the mainstage in Eastvold was much less active, though we still had an interesting time. At one point we saw the reported light in the balcony and heard footsteps stage right. When the two of us went to investigate, we simultaneously witnessed a small red ball of light appear and dance about for approximately two seconds. I figured the light was a ‘floater’ or some other sort of vision problem on my part, but when Amelia said she saw the same thing I imagined it had to be more than that.


Team 2 findings
By Emily Biggs, Photo Editor

Reno and I ventured into Eastvold’s main stage later in the evening and set up our equipment mid-stage. We positioned ourselves so we were sitting facing each other, enabling us to see 360 degrees. The sound of settling and gentle jingling filled the air in the old building as we awaited a sign from the theatre ghost(s).

Reno and I asked questions, challenged it to make itself known with a noise or movement, but we got nothing.

It wasn’t until later in the evening when we returned with the rest of our team that I truly felt a presence in the theatre. As I sat on stage, I looked up to the balcony and saw a flash of red light adjacent to the green exit sign. I was paralyzed for a split second, then gained enough composure to ask Reno if he saw it, to which he replied no. Finally, a tangible sign that I witnessed with my own eyes.

I entered the building having previous encounters with Matilda being a theatre student and actor, and had no hesitation when approaching the stage. Within minutes, Reno exclaimed that he too saw the same sort of luminescence coming from the upper left balcony.

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