By Sam Gifford and Matthew Rodriguez, Staff Writers
Friday, November 1, at 8 p.m. students of the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) gathered with the Nightmare Club in Nordica Auditorium.
“This event was about having the chance to hang out in a place that was supposedly haunted and even see if we could get any evidence of there being anything paranormal happening there as well,” said Ashley Lessner, Treasurer of the Nightmare Club.
This event was thought up a few years ago by one of the members of the club. “The whole group wanted to spend the night in Nordica it was just a matter of getting the permission to do so,” said Lessner. Reserving the space and equipment was part of the procedure in gaining the official approval.
Roughly 20 students participated this time around. Those who attended played Werewolf, and “watched Tales from the Crypt, and had an EVP [Electric voice phenomena] session,” said Lessner.
“I really enjoyed it, it was very similar to what we usually do on Friday’s,” Cyril Lunt, a long time member of the club, said.
“Everyone has a lot of fun, you meet new people and we have the chance to potentially experience something unexplainable,” Lessner said. “A few people mentioned seeing something they couldn’t explain and past years we have gotten EVP’s.”
Unexplainable experiences and horror is what the club is all about explained, President and Founder, Kirk Wilkins. “The Nightmare club is about exploration in what horror is, what is scary, and why we are scared of it.”
The Nightmare Club provides multiple opportunities to experience different sections of horror such as literature and film. They also offer events with prizes, for example the club’s Halloween costume contest. “We even try to involve other clubs,” said Wilkins.
An upcoming event, tentatively named Nightmare Turkey Massacre, involves the creation of hundreds of paper turkeys during this month. “You can pay 25 cents to save a turkey and we will tear the heads off of the unsaved turkeys,” Wilkins said.
Nightmare Club got its start in 2011 when Wilkins became tired of looking at the horror genre on his own. “I had trouble thinking about what scares me and why. Watching horror movie after horror movie gets old,” Wilkins said. He believes there is so much “personal preference” in what one considers horror, so it can’t be easily researched alone.
The club was started around this basic idea. There have been many misconceptions about the club however. “People thought we were just creepy people who like creepy stuff,” Wilkins said. “Then people thought we were the Pagan club.” Though these don’t compare to the assumption of the club committing horrible acts like “skinning people.” The club is “a group about understanding our fears, not creating fear,” Wilkins said.
“We have been a student senate backed club since last year. So in a way we are still kind of a new club,” said Lessner.
The club had a rocky start claimed Wilkins, “Up until October we funded everything ourselves, out of pocket. This was mostly myself and Ashley.” Despite this lack of funding Wilkins never asked for fees from the members, and although donations are welcome, Wilkins says it’s not a club requirement.
The Nightmare Club is free to students, aside from the normal activity fee included in tuition, and is a low commitment club, which means students don’t have to attend every meeting to be considered full members. Meetings usually occur every other Friday in Roberts 201. Students interested in joining can contact Lessner or Wilkins on the UMF Nightmare Club Facebook page.