Evelyn & the Good Ghost George George was the benevolent ghost who haunted the Old Wardman Gym at Whittier College. As the Performing Arts Building was under construction at the time, it was here that the sets for all the plays were built and rehearsed upon until one week prior to the productions opening when everything was transported to a rented space. George, it was rumored, had been an aspiring actor but his father forced him into a more practical major. In despair George killed himself a la Dead Poet's Society, though I heard nothing about George being as handsome as Robert Sean Leonard. Being drama geeks, we ate this kind of thing up, but didn't really buy it. However, Wardman Gym was a condemned old building with a dark loft space and a tendency to creak at odd times, thus fortifying the myth.

One dark and stormy night (really!) in January, we were in rehearsal for The Real Inspector Hound. That was the night before we were to move into the theatre, and crucial because it was the last "actor" rehearsal. After moving to the stage everything is about technical aspects. The director was stressed because we were behind schedule due to a cast member's illness, and the Gym had a tendency to lose power in any kind of wind. The wind was howling.

We were absolutely certain we would lose power and be screwed. We ran all the weak spots first. The lights stayed on, so we proceeded with a full run-thru. It was well after midnight when we finished and sat down for notes and the director was visibly relieved. Just as he said, "Great job everybody. See you tomorrow night for tech," there was a flash of lightning and a huge gust of wind outside, and the lights went out.

We all laughed and groped our way across set-pieces and props to the doors. Not surprisingly, the whole campus was engulfed in darkness and I stumbled across the quad to my dorm. When I opened the door into the lobby of Johnson Hall, I encountered a group of about eight girls, all from my wing.

"Oh my God!" they said. "We were just about to go looking for you. Where have you been?!"

I explained about the rehearsal, and laughed about how the power had gone out in most dramatic fashion. None of them laughed with me. In fact, they looked at me with various expressions of shock and confusion.

"What?" I asked. "What's wrong?"

Marcie, the resident senior, answered: "The power went off at quarter past ten everywhere else. The whole city of Whittier was knocked out and has been for over two hours!"


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