By: The Staff of the Summer Scribe
It was almost one in the afternoon and the members of Hilbert College’s Media Camp had returned from a field trip to the Edward M. Cotter Fireboat. The camp is a one-week day camp for aspiring print, video, and photojournalists. They had spent the day writing, taking videos and photos, and interviewing. Now that they were back, they decided to participate in a camp tradition–ghost hunting in Hilbert’s the Swann Auditorium.
“Last year, Lucy and Rebecca were alone in the ‘aud’ and I was talking to Hannah,” says Drew Dees, one of the campers. “They were like, ‘guys, we heard a weird noise!’ It was really strange and creepy.” Since then, it’s been a pastime for both Hilbert Film and Media campers to try and catch the mysterious “Swan Auditorium Ghost.”
The nine campers sat on the stage in a circle with their phones facing up. “I heard that ghosts can use their energy to turn phones on and off in order to answer questions,” said camper Hannah Johnston. She began by asking the ghosts simple questions ‘yes’ and ‘no’, and everyone waited patiently for the phones to light up.
The phones remained quiet as the impending feeling of doom crept over the campers. And then, the power went out.
The auditorium was thrown into complete darkness. A roar of thunder pierced the air.
“I screamed bloody murder,” said camper Lucy Piscitelli.
The campers grabbed their phones and ran out the backstage door, finding themselves in a dark hallway. They groped around for a light switch, but instead found themselves in a tiny classroom.
Addison Barth and Hope Artis returned to the computer lab while the rest of the campers collected what bravery they had left and decided to return to the auditorium. They walked quietly to the back of the auditorium and listened for any sign of a supernatural being.
And then, footsteps.
Tiny and quiet, the campers recall, but they were there. The campers started making their way towards the stage when the sounds of tiny popping filled the air.
One by one, the stage lights started going out.
The campers rushed to the stage and sat on the edge, when they heard the footsteps again. Once again, the lights went out.
Sure that it was Addison and Hope teasing them, the campers went to chase them down. When they went into the hallway, no one was there. More nervous than before, they returned to their place on the stage just to hear the footsteps continue. Lucy and Alex left, leaving just Hannah, Harrison, and Drew alone.
They watched in amazement as the lights flickered and listened as the rain hammered on the roof. Faint footsteps and whispers could be heard, according to the campers.
That’s when Drew Dees heard someone whisper, “Get out!”
All at once, Drew, Hannah, and Harrison’s phones went off. “Tornado Warning in this area til 1:00 PM EDT,” the text message said. “Take shelter now. Check local media. -NWS”.
The three jumped to their feet and ran out into the hallway. Rain was pouring down outside, making it almost impossible to see. Daniel Higgins, the journalism professor at Hilbert College and head camp counselor, met the kids in the hallway and lead them into the computer lab.
Quickly, they retold the story of the “Swann Auditorium Ghost” as a tornado caused havoc across the Hamburg area. But for a moment, imagination overtook reality, and the “Swan Auditorium Ghost” was real.