Haunted Opera Houses – Real Phantoms of the Opera?By
The Phantom of the Opera is a fictional novel. However there are a number of different opera houses in the USA that are reputed to be haunted. Among these spooky theatres are the Woodland Opera House, Fulton House and The Twin City Opera House.
The Woodlawn Opera House – California
In 1976, this beautiful old building was designated a National Historic site. The original opera house was designed by Thomas J Welsh. Built in 1885 the opera house was in operation for only seven years when tragedy struck. A fire started in the alley behind the opera house. The fire quickly spread and the opera house was destroyed. Sadly, during the fire, a fireman was killed while trying to save the building.
The land was then purchased by a local business man, David N. Hershey. He got the support of a number of other residents, and the opera house was rebuilt. The Woodland Opera House re-opened in 1896. However, unfortunately, the combination of a lawsuit and declining sales forced the house to close its doors in 1913.
The house would remain inactive until 1971 when it was sold to the Yolo County Historical Society. A massive renovation project began funded by donations and charity drives. The house opened once again in 1989. However, this opening saw the addition of the ghost. Since the doors opened visitors and staff alike have seen many strange sights and often hear many strange noises. People claim to smell smoke and have a seen the apparition of a ghost in a number of different areas in the hall.
There have been countless investigations into these strange occurrences. During a number of these studies, teams have gotten EVP recordings of strange voices. One recording says, “go back” and another says, “go away.” Believers claim that this is the voice of the fireman who died in the fire.
The Fulton Opera House – Pennsylvania
According to many, this is one of the most haunted places in the US. The opera house was built on the site of an Indian massacre. The Conestoga Indians who lived in the area were peaceful and friendly. By the year 1763 there were only 20 of these natives remaining. After their village was attacked and all the people present were killed, the local government decided to move the Conestoga to the local jail. They were supposed to be there for their protection. However, a group of citizens broke into the jail and slaughtered every last one.
This was the location chosen by Christopher Hager to build his opera house. He purchased the land in 1852, and tore down the old jail. In its place Christopher had a four-story concert Hall built. This hall has been active ever since it opened although it has undergone numerous changes and renovations. It has been a vaudeville house and a movie theatre.
This wonderful concert hall is still in operation. It is once again being used to stage various shows and is included on the local haunted tours. The natives are not the only ghosts that are said to be in residence. There are a number of other spirits, which are reported to inhabit the opera house. Some claim that Marie Cahill, the silent film star, has been seen on a number of separate occasions.
Twin City Opera House – Ohio
Construction on the building began in 1889. The hall, designed by H. C. Lindsay, was truly revolutionary. The theatre features an echo dome which is nearly acoustically perfect and a special sloping floor which allows those sitting in the front row to see the performer’s feet on stage. It was also the first building in the county to have electric lights.
When you go to the opera house beware that the usher who takes you to your seat is not a ghost. One of the resident spirits is reputed to be one Everett Miller. Everett was employed at the house for over thirty years as an usher. He is not the only spirit, which now makes this opera house home. You may hear the giggling of ten-year-old Elizabeth as she scampers on the catwalk, or you may be offered a glass of red wine from Red Wine Robert.
If you are really brave you can venture down into the many tunnels located under the opera house. There is a local legend that claims these tunnels which run from the opera house to the banks of the Muskingum River were a part of the Underground Railroad. Visitors to the tunnels claim to have seen Dark Shadow Masses. These paranormal beings will growl, and you may feel a drastic change in the temperature if you get too close.
If you visit any one of these haunted buildings you may get to see more than just an opera. You might get the chance to encounter one of the real phantoms of the opera!