The Most Haunted Theaters in America


There is nothing quite like the look and feel of an old theater. As you walk down the aisles and look at the stage you can not help but feel a certain magic as the history of the place envelopes you. That must be why so many who played a role in these historic landmarks remain behind, even when they pass on from the world of the living. Old theaters and playhouses tend to be among the most haunted places in the country. Credit this to the sense of wonder and romanticism they hold or perhaps its the role in they play in the history of the cities they are in. Or perhaps it is a mystery we can not solve as to why spirits tend to linger in theaters long after the curtain falls.

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The Orpheum (Memphis, TN): One of the key landmarks in the thriving art scene in my hometown of Memphis, is the historic Orpheum Theater a few blocks away from the legendary Beale Street. In 1921 a young girl named Mary outside of the historic theater when she was hit by a trolley. Bystanders took her into the lobby where she died from her injuries. Apparently the young girl enjoyed the nonstop entertainment the Orpheum provided and decided to stick around. Through the years the spirit of the young girl has been seen by numerous people in Memphis. In the 1960’s an entire orchestra ended their rehearsal early to witness her dancing in the lobby. Most famously Yul Brynner would see her as he rehearsed for the King and I and would make attempts to communicate with the girl.

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W.E. Scott Theater (Fort Worth, TX): In 1966 the W.E. Scott Theater was built courtesy of William Edrington Scott and a trust he set up to promote the arts in Fort Worth. Unfortunately Scott passed away before seeing the completion of the theater in life. But according to witnesses this has not stopped him from witnessing the fruits of his investment. W.E. Scott keeps a watchful eye to make sure the theater that bears his name is taken care of, he is famous for straightening the paintings in the lobby when they are knocked crooked. But he is not the only spirit in the Scott Theater, because Kenneth Yandle an actor and volunteer, who passed away in 1970 has made his presence known, mainly haunting the backstage area messing with the equipment.

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Akron Civic Theatre (Akron, OH): In the 1920’s the town of Akron wanted to get in on the booming theater industry of the time and turned to architect John Eberson to make it a reality. Eberson gave them one of the most ornate theaters in the country complete with a moving ceiling (one of the few remaining in existence). Naturally a theater this beautiful is bound to have those who hang around to see all of the details in its design. In his life, Fred was a custodian at the theater who passed away on his shift after several years on the job. But it appears that Fred is not ready to let go of his responsibilities as it seems his spirit still keeps the Akron Civic Theatre in good order and is said to turn angry against those who mess it up. The ghost of an unknown man in a sharp suit is often seen in the balcony watching rehearsals from time to time. Beyond the walls of the Akron Civic Theatre is a canal haunted by a young woman who ended her life in the waters. At night it is not uncommon to hear her screams or see her dash along the banks. 

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Palace Theater (New York, NY.): Located right on legendary Broadway the stage of the Palace has seen quite a number of revered entertainers. Of course with a reputation for the grandiose, the Palace brags a large number of haunts including the great Judy Garland. But the most theatrical ghost is circus performer Louis Borsalino who can still be seen swinging from the rafters when the Palace is thought to be empty.

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Leaf Theater (Quincy, FL): When the citizens of Quincy, Florida decide to take in a night at the theater they have to be prepared to hear not just the lines of the performers but also the disembodied voices of the specters who haunt this location. The most popular ghost is that of Mr. McDaniel the projectionist of many years who passed away during the 1980’s. Now he has been seated squarely in the third seat of the front row. But he is not by any stretch of the imagination alone in the Leaf Theater as other spirits have been seen roaming through the halls and interacting with theatergoers and employees.

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Springer Opera House (Columbus, GA): Right on the Chattahoochee River is the official theater of Georgia with an incredible history. One actor who seemed to fall in love with the Southern Hospitality the Springer offered was the great Edwin Booth. Now known for being the brother of President Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth, he was once known as the greatest American to play the part of Hamlet. It is said that his ghost has taken a liking to female patrons and performers who venture into the Springer. Those backstage have their own haunt as a mysterious spirit helps those in the wardrobe department. Those who work in costuming have been aided by an unseen force in locating clothes over the years. One woman even claimed she could ask the spirit politely for something, close the door on her way out, and upon her return that piece would be present for her. 

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