Do you believe in ghosts?

Summoning Spirits


Savannah Gellings

Peter Boie asks for audience volunteers during the Summoning Spirits show in the University Center on Oct. 6th, 2022.

Ivy Steege, Journalist

In 2019, IPSOS did a nationwide survey that showed only 46% of Americans believe in ghosts. 36% say they believe these spirits are a myth, while 18% didn’t know. And this way of thinking was consistent across the board. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all seem to agree that there are paranormal occurrences in our world.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, Whitewater put their beliefs to the test when a magic show crossed with a seance occurred in the University Center’s Hamilton Room. Peter Boie spoke of his past experiences with the paranormal. His show looks to make non-believers change their views with help from audience members. 

Peter Boie sets up a mystical illusion to shock the audience at the Summoning Spirits show in the UW- Whitewater University Center, Oct. 6th, 2022.
(Savannah Gellings)

“I have a love/hate relationship with being scared. I kind of love to hate it, so I thought what better way to conquer my fears than to make ghosts my best friends? Maybe I love the stories so much because I’m a hardcore skeptic, and it’s hard – even for me – to completely dismiss them. They feel so real. I get goosebumps. My adrenaline rises. I feel alive,” Boie said. 

During the performance, Boie claims to have summoned ghostly spirits from several of the country’s supposedly haunted locations. One example being the ghost of a dead student from the building his middle school was located in during 8th grade. “MiMi”, the name used to describe the spirit, rang a bell every time Boie was in danger. Did the students believe Boie was making contact though?

“{The show} was really good. It was almost too good. I don’t know. Usually magic I can figure out pretty well, but some of them I was like there’s just no way,” said freshman Millie Patterson

Patterson had a front-row seat to the show when she participated in one of Boie’s acts. In it, Patterson wrote a question on a piece of paper, folded it, and initialized the corner of the paper. Boie then said he planned to stop his heartbeat in order to make contact with the land of the dead. Patterson, who was keeping track of the magician’s pulse, said she felt it stop for over a minute. 

She said, “In fact, I thought maybe I just lost his pulse, so I was like gripping his arm; and there was no beat there. I was like noticing his breathing. He was not breathing. I was actually a little scared I was going to have to call an ambulance.”

Some audiences were more skeptical of the tricks Boie showcased during the hour-long performance. 

“I feel like I figured out how he did most everything, but I’m not sure. I think I always do that when I see magic shows. Trying to figure out the tricks can be fun. Don’t get me wrong though, it was a good show. I just don’t think he’s actually magic,” said junior gender and women’s studies major Ethan Wyland. 

Whether or not the audience bought into Boie’s contact with the “other side”; it’s hard to deny that most were scared by the final act of the show. The magician used an Ouija Board to speak to the ghost of a lover scorned. 

When asked about the part of the show that freaked her out the most, sophomore Tess Johnson said, “probably the end when the lights went out. I don’t know if it was a part of the show, but it was creepy.”

The show came crashing to an end and the Ouija Board crashed to the ground, the projector went out, and the lights in the auditorium all snapped off. Through the audience’s screams and laughter, Boie thanked Whitewater for being a great audience and walked off stage. 

Opening moment in Summoning Spirits presented by Peter Boie in the University Center on Oct. 6th, 2022.
(Savannah Gellings)

It’s hard to say conclusively if UWW’s student population believes in the paranormal. On one hand, the Second Salem of the United States might have been a great location for a medium to summon ghosts while on stage. On the other, technical and slight hand tricks could’ve deceived the audience. You can be certain, though, that Whitewater is ready for a spooky October,