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Phantom Of The COS Theatre

William Huffaker, Staff Reporter

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The notorious Peter the Ghost is a mystery whose truth has alluded College of the Sequoias theater students and staff for almost four decades now.  Theater technician Steve Lamar now carries on the story of Peter and was willing to open up on his encounters with the supernatural while working at COS. 

According to Lamar, a custodian named Mannie began to tell stories about a ghost nicknamed “Peter” in the early 1980’s.  He believed the ghost to haunt the halls of COS’ theater department and as his stories spread, so did the name of the mysterious Peter. 

For almost two decades, the stories remained just myths told by theater students to scare their friends.  Theater Professor Chris Mangles said, “I had friends swear they saw stuff back when I was a student in the early 1990’s.  One friend swore he saw cables drop off lighting instruments in the AP’s (light bays above the audience).” 

The myth was confirmed one-night in 1997 when Steve Lamar witnessed Peter the Ghost’s antics first hand.  A show had just opened, and he was checking that all house doors were locked when he heard the rocking of an old office chair coming from the office that now belongs to Mangles. 

Upon opening the door, he found that the automatic light did not turn on, but the room was rather glowing a green color.  The office chair that usually sat behind the desk was in front and facing Lamar while rocking up and down.  No one was in the room to cause the chair to make such movements.  As Lamar stared at the chair it suddenly stopped. 

Lamar quickly closed the door and left the room.  He turned the corner to one of his colleagues who coincidentally cracked a joke about him looking as if he’d seen a ghost.  Lamar confirmed that he actually had and the two of them went back to the empty office.  When they opened the door, though, the automatic lights popped on and the chair was in its usual spot behind the desk. 

Much time passed before Lamar would encounter Peter again.  It was late one summer night and he was closing the theater after rehearsal for a summer musical.  He had just shut down the light booth.  The stage choreographer was down on the stage and as Lamar was leaving the booth, a light popped on right on her. 

He immediately rechecked the light board only to find everything was still off.  The light went out and he again left the booth.  As he did so, the choreographer walked to the side of the stage, where another light turned on shining right on her.  He checked again and, as before, the board was completely turned off.  This light soon shut off as well and she walked to the opposite side of the stage.  Yet a third light turned on right above her and both immediately grew suspicious of whether Peter had played a part in these shenanigans. 

When asked how he feels on the paranormal, Lamar said “I’m definitely a skeptic, but I’m not a full-blown believer.”  After his many encounters with Peter, Steve Lamar still questions his existence. 

It has been many years since any evidence of Peter has shown up, aside from frequent odd creaks and noises that echo through the theater walls.  “As far as I know, he’s gone.  I have not seen high nor hair of him in a long time.”  So, for now the theater waits.  Perhaps Peter has gone for good.  Perhaps he’s just waiting for another victim to spook. 

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