It’s no surprise that our historic township has had its fair share of hauntings – next year will mark 200 years since John Deyell built Millbrook’s first mill, the first structure of Millbrook – and 4th Line Theatre wants them on record. Hosting a Halloween themed reminiscence at the Pastry Peddler last Tuesday, 4th Line’s Managing Artistic Director Kim Blackwell invited locals to come and share their spooky experiences from around Cavan Monaghan for inspiration for their 2016 Halloween Show – the first of its kind.
“So many of our plays happen just this way, by sharing stories,” says Blackwell, welcoming the small, yet full assembly of fear thrilled community members. Among them; Peterborough Paranormal founder and paranormal investigator Mandy Rose, 4th Line Theatre founder Robert Winslow, future Halloween show co-creator Monica Dottor, most recently seen in 4th Line’s The Bad Luck Bank Robbers, and Millbrook Times’ Church House columnist, Anita Huntley.
According to 4th Line staff, a Halloween themed show is a long time coming. Paul Braunstein, also a future co-creator, is credited with suggesting a walk-of-terror type show to Blackwell a decade ago, and according to Winslow, paranormal activity is no stranger to the Winslow farm – one story includes an elderly man, assumed to be the ghost of Winslow’s father or ancestor, telling actor Tim Walker he couldn’t smoke near the barn and disappearing afterward. Dottor is excited by the shows potential from getting off the traditional 4th Line stage for an interactive experience, to circus-themed stunts like aerialists.
Rose explains experiences can range from picking up on feelings in different rooms, to catching shadows, light figures and orbs, to mood swings so dramatic she compares them to possessions. With supernatural sightings on the rise – attributed to the bettering of recording equipment like digital cameras that can pick up sneaking shadows according to Rose – almost everyone in attendance reported having ‘heard a little [and] seen a little” when it came to local hauntings.
When it came to the old historic houses in the area, one current resident reported always feeling warm and welcomed upon returning home, while a second reported seeing dancing lights on the front lawn of another of the oldest houses. Another man played with a Ouija board and witnessed a series of confusing experiences, like glasses of water moving, until his mother, who he had never told of the Ouija board, called and told him that if he did have one, he had to burn it right away. Huntley reminded visitors of the odd experiences that happen at her church house; the helpful haunter who retrieves cheese-graters she misplaces while cooking dinner and closes the refrigerator door behind her. Other experiences included a brother burning in blue fire telling his sibling it was time to pass into the afterlife in a village outside of Cornwall, and hauntings at Lang Pioneer Village.
For full disclosure, I am a believer. My house in Bethany backs onto ‘Mo Hill’, which is littered with old ruins. While I don’t know the exact history of the area, my family members and I have had many strange visitors over the years, usually in the middle of the night – a woman walking down the stairs and out the door according to a cousin, who at the time assumed it was me, until the woman never came back; a boy standing at the edge of my bed which I woke my mother about, but didn’t remember until she reminded me the next day; a shadow in front of my bedroom mirror.
Perhaps you have ‘heard a little, seen a little’? Watch for more on 4th Line’s Halloween show, and you might just get the chance to have your story heard and featured.