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Wyoming Ghost Stories for Halloween

October 31, 2008

Cheyenne, WY – Some say a ghost haunts Seat 107 in the auditorium; others are sure she can be found backstage. It's a story that has been passed down through generations at Natrona County High School, a rumor about a young girl who supposedly died falling off the stage in the 1940s.

The mysterious tale is often retold around Halloween, with all its adaptations. Casper City Councilman Guy Padgett recalls the night that he and his friends decided to investigate when they were teens. They snuck into the darkened auditorium and watched from the balcony.

"We're sitting in there, in the dark, and nothing was happening. Then, all of the sudden, I just saw this bright green flash of light coming from stage left. We decided it was time to get out of there!"

Today, Padgett sees the building's Gothic architecture as part of the identity of Casper. And Lynne Cheney wrote in her recent book that NCHS is "the most beautiful building in Casper." There's been talk of building a new high school, however, and possibly tearing the old one down in lieu of making major repairs. Padgett says study is needed to see if the school can be renovated, for students or some other use.

"I am very hopeful and supportive of the idea that they find some way to re-purpose it, even as a office building, rather than tear it down. It's a lovely old building."

The Alliance for a Historic Wyoming agrees. It is trying to make sure the building stays, citing research that, when historic high schools are renovated, the result is an environment that boosts student achievement and strengthens connections with the community.

Deborah Smith/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - WY