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Students to celebrate UMFK's 125th with stories of campus' haunting and historical scavenger hunt

October 3, 2003

NR03147

The University of Maine at Fort Kent student body is joining in the celebration of the school's 125th anniversary with a unique event that will explore haunting tales of the campus' past and provide a glimpse into the early days of the institution.

"UMFK: A Historical and Haunted Scavenger Hunt" on Friday October 17, at 9:00 p.m., will begin on Crocker Beach around a campfire with the telling of well-known and not-so-well-known stories about haunted happenings on the university campus over the decades.

Students, UMFK alumni and other interested individuals are invited to attend and join in the storytelling, which will involve recalling tales of ghost sightings and other strange happenings at the university.

Does Major William Dickey, considered the "founding father" of the Madawaska Training School, a forerunner of UMFK, make an occasional appearance in the Old Model School? Is the portrait of long-time training school employee Waneta Blake not her only presence in the university library which now bears her name? These are just two of the popular legends and lore that have been carried forward from one generation of UMFK students to the next that will be illuminated through stories told around the campfire.

"Every year new students want to hear UMFK ghost stories, and even returning students like to hear the stories over and over again," said Stephanie Cote, assistant director of residence life and student programming. "We did something like this informally last year and it was a big hit. We are hoping that alumni and others who have been a part of the UMFK campus community in the past will join us and share their stories."

The evening's events will not end with the final story of UMFK's haunted happenings. Immediately following the last tale, current university students will form teams to embark on a historical scavenger hunt on campus grounds.

According to Cote, the teams of no more than three students will participate in a timed contest that, with each clue, will lead them to a significant site in the development of the UMFK campus. Participants will be blindfolded until their team receives the first clue. Team departure from the Crocker Beach starting point will be staggered to ensure groups are simply not following one another, rather than letting one clue lead them to the spot of the next.

"People will learn that UMFK didn't always look like this. They will learn about UMFK's history in this anniversary year," said Cote. "Plus it's near Halloween and this will help get people in the mood."

Incorporated into the historical scavenger hunt will be clues placed at the sites of original Madawaska Training School buildings and outside other early buildings still found at UMFK today.

A cash prize will be awarded to the team that completes the scavenger hunt, having obtained all clues in the shortest amount of time.

For more information on "UMFK: A Historical and Haunted Scavenger Hunt", contact Cote at (207) 834-7850.