Hellgate Lance

Is Hellgate Haunted

Sarah Kronner, A&E Editor

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Hellgate High School was established in 1908 under the name of Missoula County High School making it one of the oldest high school buildings in Montana. Since 1908 there have been many accounts of staff, students, and construction workers experiencing paranormal activities in the school, leading to the question of whether the historical site is haunted. I went on to talk to some of these people and the findings were disturbing.
Librarian, Julie Burckhard discovered this photograph of the school in 1908 when it was first established while cleaning out the library. It reveals the contractors standing in front of the newly built school, and on the third-floor ledge there sits a man holding a dog. Who is this man? How did he get here? Why is his hat so tall? Where did the dog come from?

Photo courtesy of Julie Burckhard

Hellgate has undergone years of construction since then and even the contractors from Jackson Construction have felt the presence of ghosts in the school. The Superintendent, Grayson Lukasik found a chilling discovery in the tunnels beneath Hellgate. While snapping some pictures in the tunnel for his wife, his eyes were immediately drawn to two eye-like figures in the background. He turned around to discover the mysterious eyes had disappeared, and there was nothing behind him that could’ve created the light. What is this creature lurking in the tunnels? How long has it been there? Are there more?
Clearly, the tunnels of Hellgate are haunted, but there’s another infamous room in the school that is arguably the most haunted: The auditorium. Senior, Marly Scolatti, a president of the Thespians club speaks on the hauntedness of this room. “You always get those feelings that something's behind you,or you’re being watched,” presumes Scolatti as she tells of the rumors she’s heard from years ago, when the school put on the cursed play, Macbeth. The rumor goes that when it came to the stabbing scene, the actor actually stabbed and killed the actor. Scolatti experienced the haunted auditorium first hand when she was working on makeup for the school play, All About Eve. She was alone in the makeup room and went down to the auditorium to grab some tape. All the lights were off except the stage lights and she felt a chilling and strange presence. “It was so scary,” shivers Scolatti. There was a silhouette stage left and she went to see if it was another cast member only to return to nothing. Other thespians have experienced the same silhouette in the same place, that Scolatti described months later.
The final person I spoke to was business teacher and Hellgate grad, Beth Huguet who was recently reminded of a paranormal activity that occurred years ago, when one of her chairs fell apart in class. She went on to tell the story of when she was working late on senior projects one night in the dark and vacant school. She had two old red vinyl chairs, one of which she was sitting in, and the other pushed up to her desk. All of the sudden, the chair started rattling and the top half of the back part popped off and flew onto the floor. “Dead serious. Dead serious,” says Huguet, who isn’t a believer in ghosts, but definitely felt a presence that night.
These are just a few of the many ghost stories that people have witnessed at Hellgate.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, these stories don’t seem to be coincidental and certainly bring up some questions. As the Halloween season creeps up, be cautious of the spirits that lurk in the school, and keep an eye out for ghosts!

About the Writer
Sarah Kronner, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Sarah Kronner is a senior at Hellgate High School. It’s her first year writing for the Lance and she’s looking forward to adding her perspectives to...

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Hellgate Lance
Is Hellgate Haunted