January 24, 2020 – Clearwater
I was invited to do a talk and demonstration for Countryside HS. The campus has a theater that is supposed to be haunted.
Information on location:
The high school has a student body of 19,000 students.
It is well known for an award winning theater program.
It was created/incorporated into the education system in 1980.
There are a few things that pop up when searching for deaths associated with the HS. No one is documented as dying on the campus, but several students or former students have passed away. A Google search found the following:
2000: (Via word of mouth) — twin brothers died in a car accident. They were still students at Countryside.
2012: Former student, “Ju”, was killed in a shoot out with police officers. He had played baseball and graduated from the high school before becoming a wanted felon.
2014: Nathaniel Schultz, a graduate of Countryside, was a marine who died while in the service. He was honored in a ceremony after his death.
The story of the haunting revolves around a young woman named Lisa Lynn Millisor. She was born in 1965, went to Countryside HS, where her father was also a math teacher/coach, and was killed in an accident in 1985. Her father was informed of her death during the school day. At least one eyewitness, who knew her via limited contact in school activities, was in the father’s class at the time of the revelation. The teacher was called out of class, cried out, and collapsed in the hallway at the news of her death.
There is a plaque with her name in the prop cage area. Several people believe that it is she who currently haunts the theater.
In 2013, one of the teachers, who is regularly in the area, and his brother did a paranormal investigation of the area. I did see some footage of the case, which included the flashlight test (though speaking with the educator today, he did say that he did not think that was legitimate findings of a ghost), a light turning off on stage, and a door slamming upon request. This door was held open by a heavy block (“for years”) and had not slammed closed before the request was made at the investigation, nor again since.
Multiple students have witnessed phenomena, as have other faculty and employees. Reports include:
Seeing shadow figures move across the balcony, to the light booth, and back.
Seeing “heat waves” in the form of a human moving near one of the exits (twice).
Having items fall.
Unexplained cold spots/hot spots.
Feelings of heaviness in the chest.
Taps on the shoulder.
Footsteps on the stage.
Interviews on campus indicated more activity happens in small groups, often at night (7 – 19).
Information on Lisa includes: She spent time as a stage manager for the theater, and rarely acted. (Phenomena happens in the area of the prop room and the balcony, where technical equipment is housed including the spot lights). The last play that she was involved with was Pillow Talk.
Investigation: As it was daytime and there was a small student group with me, it was certainly an impromptu investigation. I took mostly handheld equipment to go through the area (EMF Trifield meter, EMF meter, temperature guague, IR camera, camera, Thermal camera.
The area of most activity was the prop cage. Not only did the meter respond to “Lisa” and confirm the presence, but there was a physical temperature drop. The teacher with us was most impacted, particularly feeling deeply chilled on his back. As the area was crowded with equipment and people, it is possible that the entity, who would be familiar with the educator (he knew her when she was alive, did the investigation, and regularly acknowledged her when he was in the theater) utilized him for protection. (She may have gravitated to an area of more space and/or seen him as a form of protection against the crowd).
My Nikon camera had a very hard time focusing (not normal behavior). It continually went in and out of focus as if something was moving in front of the lens. My night shot video camera, which was fully charged the night before in preparation for this case, lost energy quickly and died. Another student reported that his camera had done something similar. Another with a video camera reported that the recordings were very dark in color despite the use of lights.
The areas of the balcony produced less activity. One student did feel as if his hand was tingling as he held the camera; this sensation also moved to his leg. After this point, I do think that there was some suggestion starting to move into the group. The light booth, left balcony, and lobby area were likely the same (suggestion). Activity was certainly less at that point.
One thing that did surprise me is that the plaque dedicated to Lisa indicated that she died not as a student but as a young adult (20 years old). This does make the tie to the high school possible, but seems more of a stretch with a two year span of time after her potential graduation age. The connection to her father and perhaps fond memories of her time directing, however, plus the concept of watching future plays, does create a stronger tie to the student/story. Presumably, however, her father no longer works at the school, so the family connection should be broken.
The story of the student is true. I was shown an article describing her and her death, plus the eye-witness account of her classmate/future educator and the plaque aided in verifying her existence (rather than a real name attached to an urban legend).
There is a second ghost who allegedly haunts the area — a male that has been dubbed Michelangelo by one student. I did attempt to use all of the names found from the research and got no response. The same educator who did the investigation did say that he had seen a male presence in the area. Students also noted that there were some male students who died around the same time as Lisa did (one in an accident, one during a surgery, and I believe that there was a third male who was discussed as well).
SPECIAL CONGRATULATIONS TO COUNTRYSIDE HIGH SCHOOL! Via email: Hi Dr. Stark-I thought you would be excited to learn that the “Haunting of Countyside” took 1st Place and the county-wide video contest. Thanks so much for your contribution, it certainly made a big difference.