Clarion University History Club will host its annual Ghost Event from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 29-31 in the auditorium of Clarion's most haunted building, Hart Chapel. Admission is free, and it is open to the public.
This year, the 10th anniversary of the Ghost Event, will be one of the few times it has taken place Halloween night. History Club advisor Dr. Todd Pfannestiel said he hopes that will translate into more activity from the spirits.
Pfannestiel shares tales about Clarion's past and the ghosts that remain in the present. Everything presented is 100 percent authentic, according to Pfannestiel. The stories presented are based on historical events that have happened on campus, with the audience left to determine whether the subsequent unexplained activity is paranormal in nature. He has even worked with speech pathology professors on campus to further analyze the unknown voices recorded on tape during various investigations.
Through visual evidence, night cameras, and audio footage, the History Club has encountered unusual occurrences. For the first five years of the Ghost Event, they took people on tours of campus and told ghost stories, but they realized their audiences wanted proof that what they saw and heard was real. They research to find the evidence and allow the audience to decide to believe it, or not. New evidence of the Hart Chapel ghost, as well as other stories, will be presented this year.
Pfannestiel hasn't always believed that Clarion buildings might be haunted, but his mind began to change in the third year of the Ghost Event. He was standing on the steps in front of Hart Chapel, talking to a group of students about the event when he felt a force push him from behind - he was forcefully shoved. He removed himself quickly from the ledge before he fell, but what he felt was undeniable. Following a subsequent event inside the chapel years later, he also found inexplicable bruising on himself the next morning.
Last year, Pfannestiel used a flashlight to communicate with the spirits. He set a flashlight on the stage, and invited the spirits to turn off the flashlight. Each of the three nights of the Ghost Event, the flashlight extinguished and illuminated repeatedly before the 400 audience members. Since then, several students have invited him with his flashlight to give presentations in their residence halls as well as other buildings.
"It's all about entertainment and adding a bit of fright during the Halloween season," Pfannestiel said. "From the time the History Club began this event in 2003, it has grown in popularity and become a regular tradition at the university. It's up to the audience whether they choose to believe what the see and hear, or to explain it in some other fashion.
What is to be expected this year? "You never can tell," Pfannestiel admitted. "But whether this is your first or tenth CU Ghost Experience, I can promise something new, as well as fun for all."
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