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BLITHE SPIRIT The Annie Russell Theatre is said to be one of the most haunted places in Central Florida. According to believers in the paranormal, the actress for whom the ���������������� ������ ������������ �������� �������������������� ������ ���������� ���� ���������� �������� when she died in 1936, and remains a spectral backstage LIVING IN WINTER PARK 77 presence. Is there any evidence? Not at all, beyond vague reports of unexplained noises and unexpected electrical surges. Intriguing but ultimately unprovable sightings of an elderly woman wearing a Victorian-era purple dress have also made their way into local theater lore. Still, would-be ghostbusters continue to try and quantify the alleged haunting. In 2012, WOFL-Chan- �������� �������� �������� ������������ �������� �������������������� ���������� ���� �������� ���������� �������� a team from an Orlando-based organization called American Ghost Adventures to make contact with the theater’s other-worldly residents, if any. The Ghost Adventures’ contingent brought along an array of gadgets, including devices that are meant to measure electromagnetic activity, thought by some to be an indicator of paranormal activity. While a breathless WOFL reporter attempted to bring drama to the proceedings, nothing particularly ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������- come brighter and dimmer in response to shouted questions, but it was hardly a jaw-dropping display. Still, that didn’t deter the intrepid investigators �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� “I, along with the team from Fox 35 and American Ghost Adventures, came away from the experience convinced,” wrote Justin Braun, a Rollins community relations staffer who led the production crew. “Though the ghost of Annie Russell didn’t reveal herself, I want to believe that her passion for her theatre lives on. I’m no longer a skeptic. I’m a humbled and �������������������������������������� Results had been similarly dubious in 2005 and 2006, when U.K.-based White Light Investigations and Gainesville-based Peace River Ghost Tracker visited the Rollins campus. Each team declared the theater haunted nonetheless. “There is obvious paranormal activity within the walls of the Annie Russell Theatre,” reported White Light. Peace River agreed, and claimed to have ������������ ���������������� ������������������ ������������������ ���������������� ���������� ����- folding as though it were being occupied by an invisible spectator. Now that���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Can we have a look? Well, no. “The Annie Russell was a wonderful investigation and we experienced some great stuff,” according to the group’s website. “Unfortunately we had a very long weekend doing two investigations and by accident the theater video/audio evidence was deleted.” — Randy Noles


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