The legend of Eldridge - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Topstory

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The legend of Eldridge

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Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2009 11:00 pm

The story has been passed down from theater student to theater student at Mountain Pointe High School.

Reports of doors closing on people, lights turning off and cold breezes perpetuate the legend.

“The kids have all tried to figure out if they could confirm or deny it,” Assistant Principal Patricia Goolsby said. “The only thing we got was no, no one could confirm it, and no one can say it didn’t happen either.”

They say when the auditorium was being built nearly 20 years ago, a construction worker named Eldridge fell, and died.

But students claim Eldridge has stuck around.

“What’s really kind of kept it alive is that all of the kids have stories of putting their keys down and then coming back and they’re gone, or putting their costume and their makeup out and then coming back in and finding their makeup open,” Goolsby said.

Suzanne Idler, who started working as a drama teacher at Mountain Pointe in 1995, said she has had several spooky experiences.

“Everybody always exaggerates with Eldridge, but he’s just really playful more than anything else,” she said.

Idler said she and her students used to like to tell ghost stories in the theater with all the lights out. One night the students spotted something floating, and when they turned the lights on, there was a green balloon in seat E13.

“I was like, ‘It’s a sign! It’s Eldridge!’” Idler said.

From that point on, none of the kids wanted to sell that seat for performances. Idler said they would take all the E13 tickets and slip them under the door of an air handling room backstage.

“So there’s probably years and years and years of E13 tickets,” Idler said.

Other experiences include lights and sound equipment suddenly going out for as much as five minutes and suddenly coming back on, but Goolsby said there’s a logical explanation for it.

“That would be called overheating. The kids call it Eldridge,” Goolsby said.

Harold Slemmer, the first principal at Mountain Pointe, said he was there in 1990 and maintains that the ghost stories are merely myths.

“You get theater kids through the years – they’re fun kids and they just love stories – I’m sure in the course of the late-night rehearsals and stuff they probably let their imaginations run wild,” Slemmer said.

But that doesn’t stop students’ and faculty’s hair on the backs of their necks from standing on end when they’re in the auditorium.

Senior Jessica Plate said she believes in Eldridge, but thinks of him fondly.

“He’s just like a guardian helping us to get the show done,” Plate said.

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