Archive for the ‘Paranormal’ Category

‘Paranormal Idyllwild’ Film Set

June 20, 2010

Idyllwild Arts student filmmakers are looking for ghosts. They are working on a short documentary called “Paranormal Idyllwild,” about ghosts and spirits that haunt our town.

On May 29, the second night of the student Film Screenings at Idyllwild Arts, they gave a preview of this unfinished documentary. In it, they interviewed two employees from Idyllwild Arts, and one local inn owner.

Raye DeRoss, the school’s operator/receptionist, who is also a dorm parent, said that she has heard noises and voices in the dorm that she lives in. However, whenever she would go to investigate, no one would be there. This has happened more than once.

The inn owner described pretty much the same thing. Everyone seems to have heard a lot of random noises, but no one has actually seen a ghost.

Well, maybe someone has. A former student said that he saw a young female ghost with long brown hair and a white robe hovering over a well on the Idyllwild Arts campus. This happened at night, long before he was expelled. His friend, who still attends the school, believes him.

“We need more ghost stories,” said Becca, a junior theater major, who was helping her friend, Bree, the documentary’s writer, find more content.

“We tried Googling ghosts in Idyllwild, but nothing comes up,” Becca added. “But we know there’s more ghosts stories in Idyllwild.”

In the “Haunting Idyllwild Homes,” a post on this blog site from January 2010, an unidentified woman describes her ongoing battle with a ghost that haunts her Idyllwild home. It is driving her crazy enough to move out.

Becca said that she didn’t want to interview that woman because she’s a renter.

“We need to be able to show the inside and outside of the house,” Becca said. “If we were to show it on film, we might make the person who owns the house mad at us.”

If anyone (who is not a renter) is interested in telling their ghost story, call the Moving Pictures Department at Idyllwild Arts, at (951) 659-2171 or visit But wait until the film students return in September.

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Shaker Play Next Weekend

April 14, 2010

"As it is in Heaven" play poster at Idyllwild Arts

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“It’s a cross between ‘The Crucible’ and  ‘Agnes of God,’” quipped Howard Shangraw, head of the Theater Department at Idyllwild Arts, talking about the school’s play next weekend. “It’s not too religious.”

“As it is in Heaven,” a play written by Arlene Hutton, explores generational conflict through the eyes of nine women in a Shaker village in Kentucky. Set in 1838, the play celebrates the music and dance traditions of Shakers, the “Society of Believers.” They meet in plain meetinghouses where they march, dance, sing, twitch and shout. When newcomers start to see “visions,” however, others don’t and start to question their own devotion.

The all-female cast of characters includes: Brooke Herbert as Peggy; Ari Howell as Hannah; Becca Goldberg as Phebe; Jessie Scales as Betsy; Coral Cohen as Rachel; Christine Wood as Izzy; Cathy Velarde as Fanny; Jamie Cahill as Polly and Ana Brett as Jane.

According to information sent by the play’s director, Rendon Ramsey, “Shakers were led by Mother Ann Lee, their founding prophet, who was believed to be the second coming of God. The Shakers followed Mother Lee with total devotion, one that demanded celibacy and constant labor to glorify God.”

Following Mother Ann’s death in 1783, there was an intense period in the Shaker communities in which believers experienced “visions” and “trances.”

Cathy Velarde said that her character, Fanny, is a young character who sees “visions” of angels.

“My character develops into a full arc,” Velarde explained. “At first, she’s really shy and unsure of herself. But once she starts seeing these visions of angels, she gains confidence, and even power in the community.”

Shangraw said that they’re not going to use video to show visions onstage.

“We’re going to use flashing lights,” he said. The type and intensity of light will be left up to Todd Carpenter, the show’s lighting designer.

Ari Howell and Jamie Cahill, who play characters that don’t see visions, said that working on the play has been interesting.

“I’m not really a religious person,” Ari said. “People are entitled to their own beliefs, and I can respect that. But the Shakers were much more spiritual, like me.”

Cahill agreed. She said that the Shakers believed in working all the time, to be closer to God. “All of us are onstage all the time,” she explained. “So if we’re not talking, we’re working in the background. It took some getting used to.”

Both said they were exhausted after rehearsals. “All that working is for the birds,” Ari joked.

Becca Goldberg, who plays Phebe, gets to sing a few songs.“There’s no music accompaniment at all,” Goldberg said.

However, Goldberg has assistance from the play’s choral ensemble, which includes: Sasha Mercuri, Emily Brittain, Kaylee Spates, Madi Cox (who is also Choral Director), Gabby DiMarco, Ali Timmons and Andie Huebsch.

The challenge for those setting the stage, costumes and music for “As it is in Heaven,” is that everything must be created in a simple, humble, and unassuming way like the Shakers themselves.

Costume shop members worked closely with Minnie Christine Waters, the show’s designer, to ensure that the costumes that they selected matched the period. Members included: Riley Lynch, Madeline Otto, Jacob Gershel, Cooper Smith and Ruby Day.

Goldberg scoffed at the costumes, which include long, longsleeved dresses and bonnets with huge brims. “We can’t show any skin,” she said. “And even our hair is covered up!”

Scenic designer Cody Oyama was up to the challenge. His set that he created for “As it is in Heaven” is simple, yet slanted.

“The slant was intentional,” Velarde explained. “The show itself is a little off kilter, so having a slanted set was perfect. There’s also windows hanging from the ceiling.”

Since Oyama plans on majoring in set design in college next year, they gave him ‘carte blanche’ to do what he wanted, Velarde added.

“As it is in Heaven” will play three free shows next weekend, starting Friday, April 23 and Saturday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 25, at the Boman Theater, located on the Idyllwild Arts campus, at 52500 Temecula Blvd. (at the end of Tollgate) in Idyllwild. For more information, call Idyllwild Arts at (951) 659-2171, ext.2206.

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Haunting Idyllwild Homes

January 22, 2010
By Marcia E. Gawecki
My neighbor confided in me the other day. “There’s a ghost living in my house,” she said, then paused for a long minute. “Aren’t you going to say that I’m crazy?”

As it turns out, the ghost has occupied her Idyllwild home for about six months now. She’s never seen this ghost, but has smelled him on occasion. She knows it must’ve been a man before because the noises are accompanied by a strong men’s cologne and cigarette smoke.

“He’s really an angry spirit,” she said, obviously distraught. “It’s like he pours hate down on me every day. Sometimes, I just have to leave the house.”

But she hasn’t moved out–yet. She’s not trying to get out of any lease, either. She pays her rent month to month, and is current. However, she has never mentioned the ghost to her landlord, in fear of being labeled “crazy.”

“That woman should just confront the ghost, and demand that it leave the premises,” suggested one source familiar with Idyllwild homes. (The source didn’t want to be identified either.) Years ago, the source had heard of a shaman that was brought to Idyllwild by a homeowner to inspect a house that he wanted to purchase.

“There were cracks along the foundation of the house, and he wanted to make sure there were no evil spirits living there,” the source said. “Apparently, the former owners had run lines there, and had forgotten to seal up the cracks.”

“Anyway, the shaman inspected the place, and found no spirits,” the source said. “And the homeowner has been living there ever since.”

My neighbor considered contacting a shaman to get rid of her ghost too, but wasn’t sure where to begin. “They’re not listed in the Yellow Pages, you know,” she said in exasperation. “And how do I know they’re legitimate or just want to take my money? I have to get a good referral, but it’s a ‘Catch 22’ because I don’t want to tell anyone about the ghost.”

The realtor source didn’t know how to contact a shaman either.

My neighbor said that her ghost flicks the lights on and off and moves objects around on tabletops. “He just wants my attention, but I try my best to ignore him,” she said.

Ghosts don’t necessarily have to die in the house they’re haunting, our source added. “They just have to have an attachment to it. Sometimes they’re stuck in the wrong dimension, and need to get free, and go towards the light. Your neighbor should tell it to go away, and leave her in peace.”

My neighbor said that she’s broken down in tears and confronted her ghost several times before, but to no avail.

“It just goes away for a couple of days, then returns,” she said. “The depression and loneliness that I feel is tied to this house. If I get out and go to L.A., San Diego or Hemet, I’m fine. It’s not me; it’s the house.”

So our ghost story continues … If anyone knows of a reputable shaman, or surefire way of getting rid of ghosts in Idyllwild houses, please post a message below. Also, if you want to tell us about your own Idyllwild ghost story, please post a message or contact me at

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