Fall is in the air. Last night's cold front colluded with my neighbor's shedding trees to speckle my grass with bits of gold. The mountains are draped in blankets of red, orange and burgundy. Pumpkins patiently wait on the doorsteps hoping for a reprieve from an autumn evening's chill. Spooks, witches, and dismembered bodies find their way from those dark places to camp out for a season on respectable people's front lawns. There is no doubt about it; Fall is that perfect time of year sandwiched nicely between the dog days of summer and winter's snow and cold.
Speaking of spooks, don't forget to mark your calendar to attend the Discovery Space Center's Haunted House. Space Center staff can be scary enough any time of the year, but give them carte blanche with fake blood, makeup and a library of sound effects AND remove the leash holding them back from making children cry (too much), and you're in for one frightening evening's adventure into their twisted minds and the macabre of an old old church populated by at least one certified century old phantom. Ewwwww, this is going to be fun........ email for more information:
I know many of you old time staff and volunteers have had eerie experiences at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. James Porter shares one of his below. I'd like to hear your story. Please share your story of 'not of this world' experiences at the Space Center by emailing them to
A Space Center Ghost Story......
By James Porter
Director, Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center
Apparitions Among Us
If you wish to blissfully continue to work in our center I wouldn't suggest reading on.
I can’t remember the year for certain, but the impression and mental image is still very crisp. I was asked to do lockup on an overnight camp and was on my way towards the doors by the parking lot. Normally there were two assigned and generally it was Ryan Davis and someone else who was given the task. I had learned early on that if you quietly ate your ice cream in the back you avoided old “Eagle Eyes.” As I was nearing the last two sets of doors at the South side of the building I passed another volunteer walking out of the boys bathroom with the ice cream scoopers. I stuck to Mrs. Houston’s goodies for the next month.
Sauntering down the ramp with the parking lot doors as my goal I went through the excitement of that nights’ mission and was thinking about what I was going to do tomorrow. Halfway past the opening for the Kindergarten hall I did the habitual quick glance down the fully lit hall. My head swiveled to the right and casually back to the front as it had done countless times before. As it dawned on me I had just passed the edge of the hallway opening. The chilled acknowledgement of what I had seen shot up my spine and froze my movement. There’s a little girl at the drinking fountain.
Slowly leaning backward, feet firmly planted, I peered down the hall again. As the hall slowly panned into full view my head and shoulders just cleared the bricks. Nothing. An empty hall with nothing unusual at all. She must have seen me and hid herself came the thought. Confident in my abilities as a mature 15 year old I started down the Kindergarten hall ramp to find this intruder to our school. Mr. Williamson was wise to have sent me to handle this and would be proud that I done more than just push on some doors, I had caught and expelled an infiltrator.
Moving down the hallway my mind replayed what I saw clarifying the image to perfection. A young girl, tall enough to get a drink at the fountain without help, but not substantially taller than it. Granted, you did see it at an angle and you have never been a good judge of heights. Was she getting a drink, or just staring at the fountain perfectly erect? Definitely a girl as she was wearing a dress, a very plain dress, and she had long hair. Did she start to look at me when my head was swinging back forward or was she just staring?
Details kept trickling into clarity as I searched each alcove moving further along the hallway. This girl was fast, she must have made it all the way to the end alcove . . . nope, empty. She couldn’t have gone out the doors or I would have heard the familiar metal clang when they closed. So she must have hid in a room. Locked, every single one of them.
At this point I was standing at the last door before going up the ramp. No more clarity in her image was needed as new thought had taken her place. Those next steps were very deliberate and quickly paced as I went up the ramp and made mistake number one as I turned right. Auto pilot to finish checking the doors had kicked in and I was moving to push and check the lock on the parking lot doors. Latched and secure I juggled the options. I could go out the door around the building and knock to have someone let me in through the main doors. I could just tell them I had heard a sound coming from the playground and had bravely checked it out but accidently locked myself out. Perfect plan and very sensible.
Reaching up I turned off the lights by the door and pushed on the bar. With a heavy clang it closed, but I was still on the inside. As the light went off I saw that the Kindergarten hall was still fully illuminated. If only the switch was on this side of the hall my plan could still have worked, but no, I had to cross the opening one more time. Turning and looking up towards the long hallway I started to move. Each step I took I had hopes to see someone come out of the bathroom so that when I was pulled into the abyss at least someone would hear my last scream. To my misfortune I had done a marvelous job turning off the lights throughout the rest of the building making it a darkened mass in front of me. When that last switch was flipped the only glow would be from the briefing room seemingly miles away.
Four long strides is all it took to reach the other side with my head locked to the forward looking position. I could just see the switch in my peripheral vision and my arm reached up to flip it in one quick motion so as not to lose any speed in my departure. I missed. It took two steps beyond for me to realize my quick pass had failed. Turning quickly I reached only my arm around the corner fumbling along the wall to find the switch. After a few furried seconds I met my fate and poked my head around the corner to find the switch and an emptiness just as before. Yet as the lights went out and I turned back forward there she was clearly emblazoned in my mind standing at the fountain, motionless, in her plain dress, still there in my mind to this day.