Thursday, October 25, 2012

Electric Boogie by Dale Garman

I have always had an interest in the paranormal. While a student in high school during my 10th grade, I was enrolled in the gifted program. One of our assignments over the course of the school year was to produce a research paper on a topic of our vocational or avocational interest. When my gifted teacher reviewed the topic I had chosen, she kind of had a brow-bending look on her face – my topic was parapsychological phenomena. So, part of my research would involve learning about reports of apparitional experiences.

At that time, I had not experienced any personal encounters with ghosts – it was all purely hypothetical. It wasn’t until I was in my late 30s/early 40s (I can’t remember exactly what year this occurred) that I actually had an encounter.

While living in Sanford, FL, I decided to join a local community theatre – one of my other avocations. I joined the Shoestring Theatre in Lake Helen, FL. I was involved in a couple of plays working on the technical crew – Little Shop of Horrors and Little Women. It wasn’t until I had enlisted for my third production (Harvey – the one about the invisible rabbit LOL), I believe in the spring of 2002, that I heard that the theatre was supposedly haunted.

Rumor had it that some of the former cast and crew members in previous productions had seen a little girl and heard her singing at times. It was even mentioned in an article of the theatre’s newsletter once (see below).

Well, I witnessed two of three incidents that occurred over the course of the final weekend of the play, Harvey.

1st incident: On Saturday, as a few casts members were gathering backstage to prepare for the performance, the atmosphere was ELECTRIC. Everyone was excited – Saturday performances most always were, because many of the cast and crew had family and friends attending to see the performance on Saturdays – there was a lot of energy in the air, a vibrancy of the living. The handyman who built our sets came in to the room with his little, 4-or-5-year-old daughter trailing him. She was laughing and giggling and telling her Daddy – “look at the girl up there Daddy, she’s funny” – maybe not in those words, but you get the gist. What she was pointing at was the corner of the room where wall meets ceiling. There was nothing there. But, the little girl was seeing something which amused her.

2nd incident: That same night, I was backstage in the men’s dressing room with another actor preparing for our final scene. As we were getting dressed, we were standing face-to-face talking to each other. At the same instant during our conversation – his eyes veered to the right and my eyes veered to the left – while the hair on both of our necks stood up. A noise had interrupted our conversation. To our side was the bathroom for the men’s dressing room where a paper towel roll was rapidly and frantically unrolling itself to the floor. It was a full roll – and it all ended up on the floor.

3rd incident: As I was on the technical crew also for Harvey, part of my job was to make sure the actors and actresses were ready for their cue. During our Sunday performance, I went to find one of the actresses due on stage. When I went to the women’s dressing room, she was pounding on the door and yelling “Let me out.” I simply turned the knob to the door – no problem. Asking her why she couldn’t open the door, she said it had slammed and she heard a female voice scream “No!!!” as it slammed. All her efforts to open the door yielded nothing but a jammed door.

So, there’s my story. I never actually saw a little girl or heard any vocal utterings from the supposed apparition that haunts the theatre. But, I am convinced to this day that there were no “tricks” being played – no fishing lines or pulleys or anything like that. Believe me - that paper towel roll was moving at an astounding speed and any wires or pulleys being used to guide the feat would have become tangled – it’s Murphy’s Law. And, if the handyman’s little daughter was just putting on a performance, then, I hope to see her one day on Broadway – because she was very convincing. As for the jammed door – your guess is as good as mine.

I was never in fear for my or others’ safety while witnessing these incidents. It’s almost as if the unseen presence was playful. Just an unseen presence, wanting to dance with mere mortals - like electricity wanting us to dance the…

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