By Charity Webster, Contributing Writer.
Halloween is just around the corner with so many fun things to do this holiday season. What peaks your interest? Is it to dress up, go to a party, or just eat a bunch of candy? Maybe you want to have a marathon of scary films or hang out with your friends at a haunted house or hayride? Maybe all of the above!
The holiday brings a whole world of mystery and fun. Did you know that you originally had to dance for your “treat”? Or that Halloween used to be a great day to find your soulmate? Studies have shown that the holiday actually makes kids act more evil, and that a full moon on Halloween is extremely rare. What’s next? Farmington is full of spookiness too. Some people believe the ghost of Lillian Nordica haunts the halls of Merrill. Whatever your fancy, there is so much to do this season in Farmington and right on campus! Check out below:
All year around:
The point of this club is for its members to come together under the enjoyment of the horror genre in all of its forms, including but not limited to: film and television, literature, role playing, and video games. In addition to an appreciation and discussion of all of the above, the club intends to work on its own agendas for events to involve both the UMF student community as well as the community of Farmington and the surrounding towns. Meetings are Wednesdays at 8pm. Contact Paul Gies, the faculty advisor, at email@example.com
October 7th from 7-9pm
“Mission Imagination” Electric Violin Concert and Discussion. Led by Electro-acoustic violist and David Bowie Collaborator Martha Mooke, this event is a concert and discussion of Bowie’s work and creative process. Free at the Emery Community Arts Center
Oktoberfest at Saddleback Maine. Visit their website for more details: https://www.saddlebackmaine.com/event/oktoberfest/
October 20th from 7pm-9pm
Full Moon Hike put on by University of Maine Farmington
“Get out and Horror Soundtracks” by Aaron Wyanski, composer, pianist, and Assistant Professor of Music Composition UMF. According to the New Commons Project page: “critical exploration of soundtrack of horror fills over the last century”
October 29th from 4pm-6pm
Trunk or Treat Put on by the Rotaract club 4pm-6pm. A safe place to bring your kiddos trick or treating! Located in the parking lot behind the Fusion Center.
October 22 & 23, and 29 & 30th
Haunted House at the Farmington Fairgrounds. Fright Nights 7pm-10pm, $20 admission fee. If Halloween is your scare come check us out! According to Mainehauntedhouses.com: “Join us for this mind blowing, never before seen Halloween event! Three separate terrifying haunted houses in one location, one ticket to rule them all!… FREE Parking! Beer and Cider for those over 21. Vendors! Food! Axe throwing!”
This event is also looking for Volunteers, and benefits The United Way of the Tri Valley Area as well as Titcomb Mountain.
Visit the Apple Orchards in the area all through the month of October!
Pick your own pumpkins and apples, enjoy some goodies, hayrides, and corn mazes
Morrison Hill Orchard from 12pm-4pm Daily
Pick your own apples or pumpkins or pick up some fresh pressed cider.
Boothby’s Orchard and Farm from 10am-5pm Daily
A unique experience to the area that includes wine tasting made from their apples and their grapes. Also come pick your own apples and pumpkins.
Ricker Hill Orchards from 9am-6pm Daily
Pick your own apples and pumpkins, play a round of disc golf, and pick up some of their famous apple cider donuts.
by Malcolm Langner, Contributing Writer
Mallett Hall, a residence hall on campus.
(Photo courtesy of Sam Shirley)
Despite the terrors that came with 2020, nothing comes close to some of the spooky UMF stories which resurface during Halloween. Rumors swirl around buildings on campus, most are about Mallett Hall, Merrill Hall and Purington Hall. This Halloween is bound to bring back hidden memories and spirits which reside in them.
UMF was founded in 1864 as the state’s first public institution of higher education. With such a long history comes many stories—some good, some bad. One of the most common stories comes from the Nordica Auditorium in Merrill Hall. Here, there have always been whispers about Madame Nordica—a famous opera singer from Farmington in the late 1800s—haunting the hall.
Bob Samson, a part-time UMF police officer, can advocate for these hauntings. “One night I was conducting a foot patrol at about three in the morning. I had a person who was interested in police work shadowing me on my rounds. We were on the first floor of Merrill Hall when we heard a loud scream or screech. It sounded like a crow cawing, but louder,” Samson said. “I assumed someone had snuck into the building so I had that person stand in the hallway so he could see both exits. I went to the top floor and worked my way to the basement checking every room, every closet, every nook.”
Samson continued by saying, “The person I left in the hallway said no one left via either exit. I checked both exits and both sets of doors were locked and secured.”
Not everyone may believe in the supernatural, yet there is no doubt that something spooky took place that night in Merrill Hall.
Merrill Hall isn’t the only sketchy hall on campus. Mallett Hall is notorious for unexplainable phenomena, spooking students every year. Rumor has it that a woman died in the elevator of Mallett. Others say she killed herself. These rumors have led to many interesting nights in Mallett.
Kaci Bates, a sophomore at UMF, has a story of her own. “According to my roommate, I was sleeping one night and I shot up very suddenly. Apparently, I started singing the Happy Birthday song in a low, eerie whisper,” Bates said. “When I got to the verse ‘Happy Birthday dear *blank*’ I gasped and fell back asleep.” Now, maybe the hauntings of Mallett don’t have anything to do with this, but don’t be surprised if your roommate gets possessed for a few seconds if you live in Mallett.
This last story comes from Stone. Unlike the other halls Stone does not have an historical past, but nonetheless there are some blood curdling stories.
Ileah Arcand, a sophomore at UMF, was a resident in the basement of Stone her freshman year when she and her roommate pulled an all-nighter. “At about 3 a.m., we heard a horrible scream coming from the kitchen/laundry room down the hall,” Arcand said, getting chills about the memory. “Of course, we went to check to see if everything was okay. As we investigated we came to realize that there was nobody around.”
Unfortunately for Arcand, this wasn’t her only disturbance. “Another time, I went to the vending machine in the laundry room (the same room as the scream). As I walked in I noticed a group of people in the kitchen from the corner of my eye. When I turned to see who it was there was nobody there. I ran straight back to my room,” said Arcand. She also mentioned that she would constantly hear doors being slammed in the middle of the night, while there were only four others living on the floor.
These are just a few stories spread throughout the history of UMF. Whether these are ghosts or simple coincidences, they remain intriguing. “I think a lot of people experience things that have no explanation, like that screeching I heard. I have no idea what it was, but I know I heard it,” Samson said.
With Halloween coming up, it wouldn’t be shocking to hear a few more ominous, chilling tales during the spooky season.