The School Spirits cast describes their ghostly encounters
In “School Spirits,” the protagonist Maddie (Peyton List) wakes up one day to find that she’s a ghost — and perhaps even more disturbingly, that she’s trapped in her high school forever. On the show, which premieres March 9 on Paramount+, ghosts are everywhere, they can see everything, and sadly, they can’t leave the place where they died either.
Although List plays a ghost on screen, she actually doesn’t like to dwell on the thought of ghosts walking among us. “I feel like the mind is so powerful. I’d rather say no,” the 24-year-old star tells POPSUGAR. “I don’t let any of that in because I think the mind can just run and create a reality. I’ll try to keep telling myself no…even though strange things keep happening to me and the people around me.”
Her co-star Sarah Yarkin – who plays fellow ghost Rhonda – also says she’s an “infidel” – although Nick Pugliese, who introduces Maddie to the spirit world as the friendly ghost Charley, claims that Yarkin still tells “the craziest stories” about the supernatural has her skepticism. For his part, Pugliese accepts the ambiguity of it all. “I tend to say no, but I’m not committed to that,” he says. “I agree with that too. I don’t need a ghost to show up.”
Unlike List and Yarkin, who seem to be actively trying to avoid the supernatural even when it knocks on their windows, their costar Kristian Flores – who plays one of Maddie’s closest living friends, Simon – is a little more open to believing although He has never seen a ghost with his own eyes. “I’ve never met a ghost. I’ve never seen one,” he says. “I wish I had done it. Because there are so many books and talks about it – just me, sort of [think] It is real.”
Meanwhile, Kiara Pichardo, who plays Maddie’s friend Nicole, says she believes ghosts exist. “As a kid, I lived in a haunted apartment in Queens, NY,” she says. “Fortunately I don’t remember too much.” Spencer MacPherson – Maddie’s friend Xavier on the show – also believes he may have encountered a spirit from the great afterlife. “I’ve had some interesting experiences that I find difficult to explain,” he says, laughing. “Only small bumps at night. Or it’s colder than it should be – you know, seeing breath and all the tropes you see in the movies. Come to the witching hour when you can see your breath and you’re in a tropical climate – it’s weird.” Rainbow Wedell, who plays the popular Claire, is inclined to agree. “I definitely believe in ghosts,” she says.
It seems the cast of “School Spirits” is split down the middle on whether or not they believe the dead walk among us. Those who believe are certainly not the first stars to do so – celebrities like Demi Lovato and Octavia Spencer have divulged encounters with the undead, sometimes in vivid detail.
In School Spirits, ghosts aren’t really scary monsters that cause trouble at night; They’re just people trying to make sense of their lives. Similarly, ghosts are interesting to the show’s writers more as metaphors and storytelling devices than hypotheses. In “School Spirits,” Maddie’s mother struggles with alcoholism, and writers Nate and Megan Trinrud drew on their own experiences of a father with alcoholism to write the story. The siblings “eventually had to move back to our small Illinois town” to care for their father, Nate says. “We hung there for years.” While in their childhood bedrooms, he says, he and his sister began talking about how they “felt really dead inside. That was about the best way we could describe it.” ”
This feeling gave rise to the idea for “School Spirits”. “We took that idea and ran with it and made it happen — this idea of a girl who finds herself dead in her life and has to work… to try to recover,” he says. Ultimately, “School Spirits” isn’t about ghosts — it’s about “what it means to take steps to try and find your way back to feeling alive.”