Graveyard Shift
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14 Terrifying Haunted Theaters Across America

Updated February 28, 2020 12.0k views14 items

Is there anything more fun than a haunted theater? You can’t think of anything can you? Maybe a chimpanzee on a skateboard, but that's a tie at best. Haunted theaters and theater ghost stories are some of the coolest things you can come across when you’re on a ghost hunting trip through the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Theater ghosts tend to be manifestations of people that once worked at the theater they’re now haunting; actors and stage hands alike have been known to float through theater, decades after the drew their last breath, and spook everybody out. Theater ghosts are the best. Even if you’re a skeptic you have to admit that there’s something ominous about being all alone in a theater when the lights go down.

If you were a theater kid in high school then you’ll be all too familiar with plenty of these urban legends of hanging stage hands, or ghostly theater guests who vanished mid performance. The spirits that haunt these eerie theaters either love being around show business or they can’t free themselves from this earthly plane, but either way they don’t seem to be angry about it. Never the less, there’s nothing more unsettling than walking through a pitch black theater and knowing that something is lurking in the shadows – even if it is just the ghost of a girl named Mary who only sits in seat C-5 and just sort of hangs out. Could you handle an evening in any of these haunted theaters? Or would you be calling for the Ghostbusters by the end of the first act?

  • The Leaf Theater

    Photo: USAchick

    Everyone knows that Florida is full of crazies high on goofballs (or maybe it's the other way around), but are its theaters haunted? At least one of them is. In Quincy, Florida, The Leaf Theater is reportedly haunted by several former movie operators: one named Charles Gibson, another described as "a gentleman wearing a hat", and their very own "lady ghost."

    These claims have been backed up by the Big Bend Ghost Trackers who checked out the theater in 2006 at the behest of a local news anchor. Not only did BBGT sense general feelings of unease in the theater, but they were also able to make contact with the spirit of Charles who seemed to want to make contact with his son. Is anyone else imagining one of the ghost hunters as an alligator wearing sunglasses? No? Well, you should be. It really enhances the experience. 

  • The Roseland Theater

    Photo: Roger

    This Portland, Oregon based theater was originally an Apostolic Faith Church that was constructed in 1922, and later turned into a night club called "Starry Night" in the '80s. In 1988, the club's owner murdered their publicity agent, Timothy Moreau, to keep him from dropping dime on a counterfeit ticket scam at the club after a John Lee Hooker concert.

    Moreau's body was never found, but many employees at the venue and people who have been living in Portland for longer than IFC has been advertising the dream of the '90s say that his ghost haunts the venue in search of his decaying bones. 

  • Built in 1890 (and then rebuilt after a fire 30 years later) this classic Memphis theater is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a girl named Mary who was killed in a car accident in front of the theater. Not only have patrons heard Mary giggling and running up and down the aisles, but some of them have even seen her sitting in her favorite seat C-5 during a performance.

    In 1977, the traveling cast of Fiddler on the Roof got so freaked out by the little ghost girl that they conducted a séanace to try and contact her. A few years later a parapsychology class visited the theater and deduced that there were at least six more ghosts running around the theater with Mary. So she's got some company, at any rate.  

  • The Belasco Theater

    With the amount of suffering that happens eight times a week on Broadway, it's astounding that every theater on the great white way isn't full of ghosts tearing up playbills and ruining performances of Hamilton willy-nilly. Thankfully, the Belasco Theater more than makes up for the area's lack of spooky sightings. After his death in 1931 the theater's owner, David Belasco, began to appear wearing a clerical collar and cassock, something that he liked to wear while he was still alive. Many actors have seen him skulking around the theater and have even attempted to talk to him with little luck.