Friday, April 15, 2016

Haunted History of the Gunnison Arts Center

The 134-year-old building housing the current Gunnison Arts Center has long held a reputation for unexplained occurrences. In anticipation of our investigation, we interviewed a dozen first-hand witnesses to the building's haunted history. According to the Arts Center current staff -- even the former skeptics on staff -- this place is haunted.

Following are highlights of what we learned:

 One woman related that, as a child, she and her little sister were playing in the basement in the early 1990s while the parents worked as volunteers building sets upstairs on the theater stage. The children repeatedly heard an unseen woman's voice in the room giggling at their antics. Only the parents were also in the building.

A community play director was in the basement in the 1990s where costumes were then stored and had the three lights (each with independent switches) all go off simultaneously. As she stumbled toward and reached for the light switch, she felt "a weird cold, thick air sensation" just as all the lights turned back on. No one else was downstairs at the time.
The basement "crypt"

In the early 2000s, a theater tech heard noises in the basement and went down to investigate. Although he saw no one, he had the distinct impression he wasn't alone and called out, "Who's here?" He received the clear reply of "Sheila." On another occasion while working in the theater, he heard running water and found the source in the nearby women's restroom. The faucets in all three sinks were flowing. He shut them off and returned to work, but heard the sound of water again. He found all three faucets running again.

An interim GAC director during the 2000s used the second-floor Rock Room as his office. One night around 10 p.m. while he caught up on paperwork, he caught a blur of motion pass the door, heading down the connecting east hall with the sound of running footsteps. The director gave chase, fearing an intruder in the locked-up building. He checked out the building but found no one.

On another occasion, that same director was copying documents in the basement -- once again late at night -- and heard the clopping of footsteps overhead. He went up stairs but found no one. When he returned to finish making copies, once again he heard clopping footsteps overhead.

Where's the "party"?
Oh, in the Gallery!
While closing up in the evening, one staffer stood at the first-floor front door and reported hearing the distinctive sound of footsteps coming from the second floor. That same staffer recently went down into the basement (which current staff have dubbed "the crypt") and immediately saw a "slight, short" shadow with the clear outline of head and shoulders dart out the far end of the room and through the entrance into the crypt.

Multiple staffers and volunteers have reported hearing the noises and voices of a party going on in the first-floor gallery -- when no such activities were occurring.

Rock Room door
The current Director of Operations has her office on the second floor. She recently passed by a second-floor gallery, only to have it fling wide open. And this past February while she worked late, the eye-hook latch closing the door connecting to the adjacent Rock Room snapped open and the door swung open 180 degrees. [Wraiths note: The eye-hook latch is stubborn to open -- we tried it ourselves.] She left immediately but returned an hour later to turn off the radiator heater in her office, and she smelled the distinctive aroma of freshly lit pipe tobacco in the Rock Room. Many staffers have smelled that same aroma intermittently through the years and during varying seasons as well as at varying times of day in both the Rock Room and on the first-floor theater stage.

The security motion detectors in the building go off frequently at night and the service elevator changes floors without hitting the call button. Different inspectors have checked out both the detectors and the elevator but found them in perfect working order. They have no explanation for this anomalous behavior. Nor can anyone explain the regular occurrence of various lights going on and off throughout the building, which has gone through thorough renovations in recent years.

Neither do two staffers have an explanation for the recent appearance on the second floor of a "chalky, crumbly" white powder sprinkled on furniture and tracking along one hallway. The staffers had crossed that area only five minutes before and only found the disturbance on their return.

All the staffers report separately that they feel something or someone wants them to leave the premises after ten o'clock at night. "It's just a feeling that we're no longer welcome that late," the director told us.

The next article will share our own investigative findings, with video clips documenting the Wraiths team experiences. Is the building haunted? Uh, yeah!

[Update, 4-21-2016: We've already started posting clips from the investigation on our YouTube channel. Click here for a preview of some of our startling findings.]

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We're still having as much fun documenting current and ongoing investigations as we did conducting the investigations for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of that book for either armchair musings or else as a guide for your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can buy the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!