When I was in school, we considered making bottle rockets and mouse-trap cars reasonable achievements.
But students in the Portland Arts and Technology High School — or PATHS — new media program? They’re seeking a confab with the dead.
According to a release from the Portland Public Schools, the high school class is traveling all the way up to Skowhegan’s Strand Cinema for an overnight ghost hunt next Tuesday.
The project will include interviews with local historians, area residents and the cinema’s manager, then a campout in the reportedly haunted building from 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.
The students will use all the gadgets you’ve seen on popular cable television shows like SyFy’s “Ghost Hunters” and the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures”: Infrared and night vision cameras, EVP recorders and the like.
Why the Strand Cinema when other places closer by, like Portland High School, are allegedly haunted? Well, the Strand is considered, if not the most haunted place in Maine, then one of the top very few on the state’s list of spooky spots.
The Strand website states that it was originally opened in 1829, and that it has been listed among the 50 most haunted places in America. And this is a country with a lot of old asylums and prisons.
Here’s some of what’s been written about the Strand on the Internet, starting with an excerpt from the website HauntedPlaces.org:
The phenomena surrounding the place are said to have begun in 1978 when an apartment was added to the building. Workers took the brunt of the ghosts anger then: They were shocked even when electric tools were not plugged in, tools were thrown about, and stains were splattered all over newly painted walls. A shadowed apparition is reported to have thrown a piece of balcony ceiling into the sets.
There is a violent, malevolent spirit that inhabits the Skowhegan cinema. There have been several reports of objects being thrown directly at customers with the intent to cause severe pain.
And finally, from HauntedHovel.com:
It’s said that a man hung himself from the second story balcony. On quiet nights you can still see him through the windows walking around on the second floor.
I hope for the students’ sake, this spirit is in more of a “walking around on the second floor” mood than a “throwing power tools” mood.
Update (10:20 a.m., 2/13/14): The class trip to Skowhegan was rescheduled from Feb. 18 until a later date to be determined due to expected weather and transportation problems.