When it comes to alleged photographs of ghosts, few things are provable. But in the latest installment of the story about the specter of singer Eva Gray, one thing is verifiable. A group called EVP Paranormal of Maine did enter the City Theater in Biddeford on the night of Dec. 19, the time it claims to have captured an image of her on the stairs.

“I let them in,” Biddeford facilities manager Phil Radding confirmed. “They came in with all these infrared cameras. Whether that stuff was real or photoshopped, I don’t know.”

A controversy erupted Friday when artistic director Linda Sturdivant’s daughter Sara accused the group of a hoax. In a Facebook post and in the comments section of the Portland Press Herald’s original story about the alleged paranormal occurrence, Sara Sturdivant questioned whether the group had even been in the theater. “The picture of City Theater from (Main) St. shows the show EDGES on the marquis,” she wrote. “This photo leads you to believe they (took) it on Dec. 19, 2016. EDGES was performed many years ago.”

Linda Sturdivant said a “breakdown in communications” between the city staff and the theater staff had led to her daughter’s belief that EVP had not been in the theater. She said her daughter was being “protective” of the theater she loves. The younger Sturdivant lives in Massachusetts but has assisted with or directed the music for several shows at the City Theater.

“Nobody is upset with anybody,” Linda Sturdivant said. Or anymore, that is. “A little bit of the anxiety from our part came from how did these people get in the building?”

The City Theater cultivates the Eva Gray story as part of the theater’s mythology. She was a singer who died suddenly at the theater on the day before Halloween in 1904, with her young daughter in the theater. Gray’s granddaughter visited the theater last summer, Sturdivant said. “She had it on her bucket list to see the space where her grandmother sang.”


Radding said he let the group in and stayed with them the whole time they were there. Caroline Mezoian, one of the co-founders of EVP Paranormal of Maine, said the group was there from about 5:30 until just after 9 p.m. She said her all-female team of five set up four cameras, three in the dressing rooms where Gray’s presence was purported to be felt in the past, and one off the stage, looking toward the back of the theater.

The last camera was the one that caught the image, she said. The theater was pitch dark, she said, and no one in the group saw anything at the time. The image only appeared on the video, Mezoian said, and only briefly.

“We didn’t see her like dancing up the steps; we just saw her (in) that one quick flash,” she said.

This was the first time she’d ever captured a ghostly image, Mezoian said. “One little second she was there and one second she wasn’t.”

“I think a lot of people have – it’s called cognitive dissonance,” she said. “Where you don’t want to believe in something. I can only put out what we got as a picture. We take it very seriously.”

As the “tempest in the teapot” simmered down Friday, both Sturdivants continued to believe that the photo is not real.


“The proportions are all wrong,” Linda Sturdivant said. “If a normal person stood on that step there, well that picture would have Eva’s ghost at about 18 inches.”

“I don’t know why she is small,” Mezoian said. “If it is a ghost, we can’t tell them to comply with our rules. I am not into the mathematical configuration of it.”

“If they think it is Eva Gray, more power to them,” Linda Sturdivant said. “That’s fine with me. It doesn’t bother me either way.”



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: