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Letter: Camp of spirits

My friend Marianne Capra was in a recent episode of Ghost Hunters on A&E that aired on April 22 about paranormal activity at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp.

I’ve lived in the Yampa Valley now for almost 20 years, and I’ve had a few experiences at Perry Mansfield including attending some dear friends’ wedding, hosting a middle school Model United Nations event, participating in a magical yoga class, hiking and skiing the Ditch Trail, listening to my children report on their Science School experience and visiting with friends who were living on campus. I also recently went to the incredible Steamboat opera there.

I am a fan; I think it is an incredible place. I have never gotten to truly experience it at its heart though. From talking to people who have, I know that the Ghost Hunters got one thing right: it is a place of passion where people get to be themselves and strive for excellence doing what they love in a beautiful place. Apparently, the Ghost Hunter crew mentioned to Marianne that when a place has that level of intensity and joy sometimes spirits stick around. 

The Ghost Hunter’s show was a risk. It is always risky to give stories to mainstream media … what if they get it wrong? What if they miss the point? Why did the show focus on a favorite campfire ghost story with no definitive truths instead of the very real feelings that staff members have reported for years?

I know my friend Marianne is hoping to share some of the true stories from Perry-Mansfield with our community once social distancing has morphed into whatever it will be moving forward. I’m not sure when that will get to happen exactly.

It is my understanding that part of the intent of doing the Ghost Hunter show was to get our community to realize that Perry-Mansfield needs support. As a lover of the arts, a lover of the Yampa Valley and a lover of history, I wanted to do something to raise awareness about this need and thus have written this letter.

Hopefully, you’ll get a chance to see the show; it is entertaining but a little disappointing in their shallow approach to some of the stories. Hopefully, you’ll also want to do something to support Perry-Mansfield. This amazing and spirited 107-year-old core of our community certainly has incredible stories that are way beyond normal.

Julie Dalke
Steamboat Springs


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