The Contemporary Arts Center in North Adams, Massachusetts is haunted. For real. It is located in the 5 story, 140,000 square foot “Beaver Mill.’ In the 1800’s they manufactured textiles there. In the 20’s, they began making electrical parts. The place is room after room through narrow hallways and stairwells. It has that smell of earth, rusted circuitry, brick, and machinery. We played with a band called Japanther, and they completely dominated.
Two sisters, both engaged to married, were run over in front of the mill during the 40’s. They also say one of the workers there spontaneously combusted in the 20’s. The guy just up and exploded. Places like this kind of freak me out. I was waiting to round a corner and see the dead sisters holding their decapitated heads.
Think sÃ©ance. The Shining. Icabod Crane. Blair Witch. I couldn’t stop thinking about the dead sisters. I heard whispers in my head. I did the best I could to provide the people of North Adams with quality rock action, but the heebie jeebies had a hold. The place was so big, and haunted. I mean, somebody spontaneously combusted in there.
Then came “The Dark Ride.’ The absolute last thing I would have expected to be on the 3rd floor of the “Beaver Mill.’ “The Sensory Integrator’ it said. Part exhibit, part ride. You sit in this chair, like an electric chair, and it’s on a track, and it moves you through the exhibit. After we played, Hezzie, the CAC Director, got the keys, and opened it up for us. It takes up an entire floor. No lights were on.
The brochure says, “Be a voyager through the Introcave and Gateway Station. Experience the Space Sculpture Garden and the Purity Vacuum.” We walked through with flashlights. There was all this melted plastic, hanging neon globular foam turds, and humanoid forms. I was already freaked out.
There was something inbred about the whole thing. But futuristic. “Lost in Space’ mixed with “Deliverance.’ I don’t know. I kept waiting for it all to make sense, but it didn’t. I couldn’t get futuristic with the hanging foam globs and the Poltergeist happening. When we entered the Purity Vacuum, I thought I saw one of the humanoid things move and I heard a baby’s voice crying. I tinkled and ran.
Trent - out.
Head Like a Kite
Photos: Hezzie Phillips
* Japanther plays The Capitol Hill Arts Center on August 19th.