Ghost in the Theater

High Point University has a very good Theatre Arts program. One could argue that one of the reasons it's good is due to the 'improve' training they get from the ghost that lives in Memorial Auditorium. His name is Hersel.

In the 1950's Hersel was a drama student at the University who aspired to be a playwright. Hersel also took himself and his work waaaay to seriously. When he announced he was going to produce one of his own plays, the other students agreed to help. However, when he began calling his production "The greatest tragedy of all time", the other students laughed at him. Unable to take the criticism, Hersel hung himself on opening night in the costume room.

It wasn't long before strange occurrences began to take place in the auditorium. Lights would turn on or off, window blinds would be moved up or down and a breeze would begin to blow where it was impossible for wind to reach. Most of the pranks are harmless.

There was an incident in 1996 that made people wonder if Hersel was as harmless as they thought. During a performance of 'Oliver' a man in the audience switched seats, moments later a lamp from the stage lighting crashed into the seat where he had been sitting. Some people wondered if Hersel had intentionally tried to hurt the man. Maybe he was a former classmate of Hersels who laughed at his play.

Still others think it was Hersel who saved the man by telling his subconscious to move before the light fell. Whatever the reason that has been the only harmful incident that has been linked to Hersel. Every year the Theatre Department gives out the Hersel Award for Outstanding Service to the Theatre Department award. Maybe Hersel is happy with the respect he now gets. After all, he's a part of the team.

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