Column: Engler Center haunted by friendly ghost


Alex Bowe

The Engler Center for the Performing Arts has been a central part of our community for over 20 years. Almost everyone within the City of Chilton has visited it for performances, speeches or awards ceremonies.

Many see this theater in CHS as a place for entertainment. Whereas, some people behind the scenes have a different view. Actors, stage crew and tech crew have witnessed things they cannot explain. Lights flashing and moving doors are examples of the phenomena that make them believe the Engler Center is haunted.

Most people involved in the theater believe in this ghosteven though most of them don’t believe in the supernatural in other cases. There are too many “close calls” and “mysterious happenings” to deny the fact that either these people are lucky or being watched over by someone or something.

The Engler Center ghost is named “Don” after a community member who loved the theater and was involved in many productions. Before shows, for luck the stage crew leaves his favorite beverage, Mountain Dew, for him backstage.

Senior Claudia Brown has had many encounters with the Engler Center ghost. She explained that while she was putting away costume hats that she was looking through, she found a hat that had the name “Don” on the inside. She then heard a noise from the catwalk even though she was alone in the theater.

Freshman Lilli Braun recounts her experience with the ghost. “I only have one personal story regarding Don. On the week of the ECPA’s production of ‘CLUE High School Edition’ — after the potluck dinner that Monday or Tuesday — we were scheduled to run through the whole show again until the cast and crew were released at nine o’clock that evening.

“Throughout the first three or so scenes, however, I noticed the Engler Center’s disco ball turning on. I didn’t really think anything of it, though, with the tech crew being made up of mischievous individuals. It wasn’t until our director, (senior) Jenna Christenson, had stopped the run altogether to mention that very thing. As it turns out, the disco ball was moving on its own.

“Even after the crew came down to the stage, it continued to start and stop at its own will. Over the course of the following hour, spotlights would turn on and off or start spinning on stage. I don’t quite remember if some of these events occurred before or after the crew had completely shut down the system, but either way, it was still eerie to watch the Center move without anyone controlling it — allegedly, at least. Hopefully, Don enjoyed the show!”

Overall, the Engler Center for the Performing Arts is getting older every year, along with the electronics within it. We as a community need to figure out a way to allow the Engler Center to stay in operation by updating hardware or appeasing ghosts. We still cannot fully understand strange happenings in the theater. Either way, these superstitions have brought casts and crew together for years.