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October 30, 2008 3:02 am

Powell ghost project

Written by Tribune Staff

Warning: If you're scared of ghosts, don't read this haunting narrative

With Halloween just around the corner, ghosts are running amuck in Powell.

Frank Ebert, speech communications and forensics instructor at Northwest College, has experienced a few chills and thrills over the years.

When Ebert was a student in the late 1970s, Nelson Auditorium was spooky indeed.

“(Haunting) was pretty active at that time,” Ebert said.

In 1978, Ebert was doing a dark play. During the show, the upstairs window of the prop house had a shadow, but there were no actors near the window — nobody, except maybe Adelaide, the ghost who supports the arts and has haunted the auditorium for years, Ebert said.

Adelaide's apparition popped up at least once, and her presence has been felt many times over the years.

According to Debra D. Munn's book, “Ghosts of the Range: Eerie True Tales of Wyoming,” Adelaide once appeared before a student in the green room. She wore shoulder-length blond hair and a colorful costume of an Eastern European dancer, the student said. She smiled at him.

Adelaide always took a seat on the left side in the front row.

Typical theatre seats, like those in Nelson Auditorium, pop up when no one is sitting in them.

Adelaide's seat often was in the down position, though she remained indiscernible.

Working stage lights on the catwalk, high above the stage, was scary for Ebert. But it wasn't the height that got his goose-bumps jumping.

“Someone was there watching you,” Ebert said.

Holly Berryman, communications services assistant at the college, moonlights in another profession.

“I have a paranormal investigation team,” Berryman said.

It is called Paranormal Researchers of Wyoming League, and it endeavors to debunk ghostly visitation claims.

The gang investigated Nelson Auditorium last summer. Berryman said the team found no solid evidence of spooks in the auditorium, but ... late one summer night when there wasn't another soul around, Berryman's crew did hear a woman humming.

Was it Adelaide rehearsing “Scary Movie 6?”

Berryman may be invalidating supernatural claims, but she still believes.

Don't scoff. Throughout history, man has described ghosts in literature and searched for a means to meet them.

Renowned playwright William Shakespeare wrote of ghosts, and the innovative inventor, Thomas Edison, was working on a device to communicate with the dead, Berryman said.

There are at least two types of specters.

Residual hauntings are of the same-time/same-place type phenomenon — perhaps a ghost materializes in a hallway every Friday night at midnight.

Then there is the intelligent haunting. Recipients may be able to communicate with their shimmering guests via paranormal equipment.
If the wraith becomes a pain in the neck, give them the bum's rush.

“‘This is my house now. I don't want you here anymore!'” Berryman suggested saying.

But your uninvited specter may have undone business.

Perhaps that phantom zone is a location where the spirit carries fond memories from when it was in its earlier earthly form. Or maybe the ghost has businesss to attend to and is loathe to leave the world behind.

A ghost stalking halls in the KPOW radio station may be a being of the unfinished-business variety.

Some have seen an old man sitting in the station's lobby. It might be the spirit of Al Meyer, who opened the radio station many years ago.

However, co-owner Scott Mangold remains skeptical of specters. He has worked at the station for more than 20 years and never has seen old Al or any apparition. But he said some jumpy disk jockeys saw the ghost and fled to the studio. Returning later, they found the lobby devoid of humans or spirits.

And, according to Munn's book, former Powell resident Bob Lynn had a noisy spirit raising a ruckus in his kitchen back in the 1970s.
Later, Lynn spotted a large man by his mail box. When the man turned to Lynn, he disappeared like a puff of smoke.

Was it a ghost with a chip on its shoulder or one with unfinished business, patiently awaiting a check from Publishers Clearinghouse?
If you believe you are being haunted, don't despair or assume you're loony. Berryman said help is available.

Don't be a disbeliever, either.

“There is more out there than we see,” Berryman said.