February 17

High school students to hunt for ghosts at Skowhegan’s Strand Cinema

Students from Portland Arts and Technology High School plan to visit the 1929 theater in March to ‘elicit a response from the spirits.’

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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Beane said the group at Portland High School contacted what they think was the spirit of a librarian who worked at the school in the 1940s or 1950s.

“As near as we could tell, she was either killed or committed suicide and she was where she wanted to be. She loved being a librarian,” Beane said.

The group that year conducted a flashlight experiment in which questions were posed to ghosts and the apparition’s response makes the flashlights come on.

“We had an amazing response to that — it really had, if you pardon the pun, spooked us,” he said. “At least three different times, both flashlights came on at the same time and went off at exactly the same time. The belief is that spirits carry a certain amount of electromagnetic energy, and they can manipulate the electrical field. They can give enough energy to turn the lights on.”

Matt Dexter, 36, and his wife Misty, 40, of Strong, purchased the three-theater Skowhegan complex in September from the previous owner, John Moore, owner of Narrow Gauge Cinemas in Farmington. In an interview with the couple in November, they said they had never seen a ghost at the theater.

Theater manager Cheyenne Hertlein said she has been in contact with Beane and is excited about the upcoming visit.

“In terms of paranormal activity, I do believe that there is some sort of ghost inhabiting the theater — more of a Casper the friendly ghost type thing though,” Hertlein said. “If you happen to be at the theater by yourself, or only a few people, I’ve definitely heard some weird noises before and had seats unexpectedly move right next to me with no one in sight.”

Hertlein said she remembers closing the movie house one night with a co-worker when they heard a mop bucket roll across the floor in the lobby.

“No one was in the building and the lights were off,” she said. “You can bet we ran out of there pretty quick.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367 dharlow@centralmaine.com Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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