It’s Halloween! And if you think Halloween is all about dressing up in your scariest (or sexiest) outfits, well, try to do something new and more exciting this year. In the recent years, more and more people have become interested in joining ghost hunting activities during Halloween.
There are groups dedicated to this venture and are offering group packages that would take you to various places, most of the secluded. But how about exploring the haunted places that lay the foundation of most urban legends? Most urban legends talk about haunted houses but many people don’t realize that the most haunted places in cities are old theaters regardless of renovation. Here’s a list of our top haunted theatres that might intrigue you.
St. James Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand
Even in quiet New Zealand, urban legends about haunted theatres are rampant. The St. James Theatre in Wellington was built in 1913 and was popular as a venue for silent movies. During the 20th century, it was home to many film and live performances. However, despite the many successful and widely-acclaimed performances, the St. James Theatre is notorious for its many ghost sightings. Lights turn on and off during performances. Urban legend has it that “Yuri”, a former Russian acrobat, fell to his death during one performance and has become some sort of a mischievous spirit that roams the theater. Another ghost story is that of a “wailing woman”. According to the legend, an actress was once humiliated on stage when audiences booed her. She committed suicide and now the mean, sad spirit is said to be responsible for the many “calamities” that happen inside St. James theatre—sprains, falls, and even colds during live performances.
Adelphi Theatre in London, England
In 1897, an actor named William Terriss was killed near a stage door. According to the urban legend, Terriss’ assistant had a dream the previous night and saw the image of the actor bleeding to his death. Today, Terriss spirit is said to haunt the theatre.
Belasco Theater in New York City
During the early 20th century, Broadway produced David Belasco was very famous for many reasons. His theater, though previously called The Stuyvesant when it first opened its doors to the public, was home to many successful Broadway productions including Awake and Sing and Oh, Calcutta! in 1935; and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone in 2009. During Belasco’s time, he had an apartment at the theater. The flamboyant producer was known to wear a flowing robe during this glory days. Today, his former duplex apartment inside the theater has become an office. There were many reports about ghost sightings. Many claim to have seen a ghost wearing a flowing robe. Oddly enough, David Belasco was widely known to be a lady’s man. Today, there are reports made by women who claim to have felt a pinching sensation whenever they watch a play at the theater.
Paris Opera in Paris, France
The famous story of the Phantom of the Opera got its inspiration from a real incident that happened in the Paris Opera in France. In Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, there is an actual man who lives in a secret apartment somewhere in the opera house. While there are several real-life events that are represented in the story, like the actual fall of a chandelier in 1896 that took the life of a construction worker, records show that there a woman committed suicide inside the theater years ago. Today, the ghost of the woman is said to roam the opera grounds to look for the man who abandoned her.
Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London, England
Locals call it simply Drury Lane. This old theatre in London stands in a spot that speaks of so much history. Its location is probably one of the main reasons why urban legend states that it is one of the most haunted places in London. And yes, the Drury Lane does not disappoint. Many locals and tourists have reported incidents of sighting a man dressed in gray. The ghost has been described to be wearing boots, tricorn hat, and a powdered wig. Digging back to the back, reports reveal an actual digging of skeletal remains hidden in a walled passageway inside the theatre during the 19th century.
Palace Theatre in Los Angeles, California
Prior to 1926, the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles is known as the Orpheum. It is famous for its premier performances by vaudeville actors. Eventually, it became the venue of silent movies. Known today as the Palace Theatre, the infamous venue has a third balcony. This used to be closed because of racial segregation. Despite the racist angle, the third balcony is infamous for its ghost sightings. During performances, many artists have claimed to have seen figures of people sitting on the third balcony despite the fact that the area is closed off and cannot be accessed because of its locked doors. Moreover, during live performances, both audience members and backstage staff have reported sightings of a woman dressed in white crossing the stage from one end to another.
Palace Theatre in New York City
While some theatres are haunted by famous directors and producers, the Palace Theatre in New York City is known to be haunted by the ghost of the stunning superstar Judy Garland, known for her legendary performances in The Man That Got Away and Somewhere Over The Rainbow. During the glory days in the 1960s, she has performed award-winning performances that made her a legend. The Palace Theatre in New York City is known to be the mecca of entertainment and many great entertainers all over the world has graced the stage of this grand venue. According to the urban legend, there is a special door built specially for Garland’s entrances and exits during her shows. Many orchestra players have claimed to have seen Garland’s ghost backstage.
Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee
Pick any seat you want at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis but leave the seat C-5 vacant, will you? Based on the long-standing rumor, this seat belongs to the ghost “Mary” who usually sits here during performances since its time as a vaudeville venue. The Orpheum Theatre is rich in history. The original theatre was very popular in 1890 until the burning accident in 1923. A new Orpheum Theatre was built, twice the size, in the 1940s where it became a movie theatre.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, California
According to the famous urban legend, the spirit of the befallen actor Victor Killian haunts the forecourt of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, searching for the man responsible for his death. Killian was beaten to death.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon
Locals will tell you the story of a young girl who was murdered at the festival in the 19th century. The lost spirit of this girl is said to haunt the place. Compared to other ghost sightings and haunted stories, this might be a little too simple. However, many have reported that whenever the spirit of the girl is sighted, they would often describe it as a floating element that is wrapped in clear blue light and whenever there are onlookers nearby, the later always get into a hysterical fighting match.
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