David Dilgard is rich with knowledge of Everett and its past. With Halloween just around the corner, I wanted to learn a bit about any past ghostly experiences within the city limits and figured that a chat with the Everett Library historian was a good place to start.While Dilgard doesn't delve into the paranormal very often, he was able to send me off to look into a couple of eerie stories from yesteryear.
The first one takes us to the Everett High School Auditorium. In her 1995 book "Ghost Stories from the Pacific Northwest", Margaret Read MacDonald writes about The Blue Ghost of Everett High School. The story is that during renovation of the auditorium a workman fell from a height onto the seats below, dying from a broken neck. Years later, in the late 1960s, students and even teachers reported bizarre sightings and glowing lights despite the lighting in question being turned off.
In another case a teacher was walking alone on the stage when a spotlight from the back of the room came on and followed him across the stage. He was the only one in the building at the time.
There are more tales of supernatural events which are set a few blocks south on Colby Avenue at The Historic Everett Theater. The theater opened in 1901, so there are well over a hundred years for such stories to percolate. But it wasn't until a 1993 renovation of the then boarded-up building that interesting things began to be noticed. So interesting in fact that it attracted the attention of KING-TV and Evening Magazine a couple of years ago.
According to their report, during the 1993 work, doors mysteriously would not shut and more than one witness was convinced that they were not alone in the building. The projection room seemed to be a favorite retreat for one particular ghost. A theater employee was working on a film projector and had a feeling he was being watched when he spotted a human male form from the waist up, only to see him disappear moments later. In yet another projection room incident, an employee watched as his sweater levitated and dropped to the floor.
The most detailed description of whatever was happening in the theater, however, came from a worker who said, “Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something that looked like it was coming right up out from the floor. He had dark clothes, and a light shirt on and a real bushy mustache.” The ghost had an additional notable characteristic: a big grin. For that reason this particular phantom is known around the theater as "Smiling Al". Could he be an old vaudeville actor prowling about the theater wanting to get back on the stage?
Curt Shriner, the current owner of the theater told me that he is a believer. He periodically offers an evening in which participants roam the theater looking for ghosts with an infrared camera and audio equipment.
Finally, there is Rucker Mansion on Laurel Drive. This 7,800 square foot brick home (now a private residence) was built in 1905 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It's said that Mrs. Jane Rucker leapt to her death from a bedroom window of the home in 1907 and continues to haunt Rucker Mansion, playing the piano occasionally.
So if you are out trick-or-treating on Halloween in the Rucker Hill neighborhood in Everett next Monday night and hear piano music seeming to come from nowhere, remember...you heard it here first.