Haunted 307: Nelson Performing Arts Center in Powell
Not only is Northwest College in Powell my own alma mater, it was also one of the places that first sparked my interest in the paranormal. Though there are ghostly reports of entities being seen in the shadowy halls of Colter Hall, in my time on campus it was widely known that the building that houses the auditorium and music classes, the Nelson Performing Arts Center, was haunted.
Northwest College was found in the 1940s with an original intention of being a University of Wyoming annex. The current name and separation from the University happened in the mid-eighties. It currently has approximately 1880 students enrolled full or part-time. The Nelson Performing Arts Center sits on the campus across from the administration building and hosts theater performances, guest performers, dance recitals, and music classes year-round.
The rumors of the building say that if you stay too late in the building, strange occurrences will begin to happen. Doors of the practice studios will open and close on their own, strange sounds will be heard in the upper levels, figures may be seen sitting in the theater seats, and lights may turn on and off. The activity seems to increase after a performance has taken place in the auditorium. One seat in particular is said to be a haunted seat, often setting down by itself as if someone is sitting in it when no one else is in the auditorium.
When I was a student at Northwest College, myself and two other reporters for the now closed Northwest Trail newspaper were given permission to stay the night alone in the auditorium. We were locked in by campus security, set up sleeping bags on the stage, and borrowed ghost hunting equipment from the local paranormal research group, PROWL, or the Paranormal Researchers of Wyoming League.
We were told that there were two spirts that were sensed or seen in the auditorium. One, a young female presence who seemed to enjoy being around others, but was very shy. She was known as Adelaide by local student rumors. The other was a mysterious, menacing male presence that it was said Adelaide was afraid of. In our overnight stay, we had a few scares that we were later able to explain, experienced loud violin music ringing in the auditorium as we lay on the stage, and had one strange photograph show up on one of our cameras, taken in the dance studio. It seemed to show light coming out of the mirror and dancing around the room.
We ended up going back another day to take a photo for the story, where we used long-exposure times and various lights to create a ghostly figure sitting in the infamous "haunted seat" in the auditorium. As my classmate and I worked in the pitch-black auditorium, at one point we both expressed our desire to get out of the room as quickly as possible. We'd heard noises coming from the empty and locked backstage, and both simultaneously experienced a sense of dread that told us we weren't welcome in the building any longer.
Stories from the students attending the college always change the story a little bit more. One group of students while I was attending swore that their Ouija session in the auditorium was successful of contacting Adelaide. Another said they swore they'd seen the male presence sitting in the balcony while they worked on lighting for an upcoming show. A final story we were told included a student in the empty auditorium tuning a piano, looking up at the seats, and seeing an entire crowd dressed in mid-century attire for one second, before all of the entities faded away.