CHILLICOTHE, OH (WCMH) – There’s been countless reports of haunted happenings inside the historic Majestic Theatre, according to the non-profit that runs the venue.
The theatre was built in 1853, after a bank burned down on the site back in 1852.
“From paranormal investigations of the past, we’ve been able to identify a little girl that is present in here,” said Majestic Theatre board member Gene Betts. “She has appeared on audio during events.”
That’s just the beginning of many mysterious an eerie experiences people have reported throughout the years.
Now, the Majestic is inviting amateur ghost hunters inside the theatre overnight to try to capture paranormal activity.
“All the proceeds are going to help in doing some interior renovations,” said Betts.
Renovations that Betts said are needed after being open for more than 160 years. He said the theatre has seen many famous acts over the decades, including Laurel & Hardy, Sophie Tucker and Bob Hope.
“Initially it started out as the Masonic Opera House,” said Betts.
He said the “M” you see on the curtain represents the Masons. Eventually, the Masonic Association sold the opera house in 1904. It became the Majestic Theatre in 1915.
“It’s been continuously operating since 1853, however there was a two or three day brief period where it was shut down in 1918 due to the Spanish Flu,” said Betts.
He said the theatre was used as a temporary mortuary and embalming site, after the deadly virus swept through Camp Sherman. It’s rumored soldiers bodies were stacked near the dressing rooms and then embalmed up on the stage.
“The presence seems to stop several people in their tracks where you’re walking through the hallway,” said Betts.
He described reports of a man dressed in a suit and tie with a top hat who still follows the same path of where the floors used to be, which were nearly level with the stage.
“As he’s walking down this main aisle, he’ll hover until he reaches the stage,” said Betts.
The jangling keys of an old janitor, supposedly a man who was very protective of the Majestic, have also been heard throughout the building.
People have also reported the feeling of being watched from the crow’s nest, next to the projection room.
But, besides all the ghost stories, people still enjoy coming to the Majestic for movies, concerts, comedy nights, plays and other live performances.
“It’s a magical experience to sit in a historic theatre that’s over 160 years old. The acoustics in here is unbelievable,” said Betts. “No matter where you sit, you feel like you’re part of what’s happening around you.”
The “Haunted Majestic Ghost Hunt” will take place on October 20th. Betts said they hope to raise $3,000 during the event. The money will be used to help put in new seats, redo the floors, refinish the walls, among other improvements.
A new lobby, restrooms and concession area are already under construction. That expansion is expected to be completed at the end of August or September.
Eventually, Betts said they hope to renovate the upstairs ballroom and Knight’s Room, where members of the Freemasons used to gather.
“There’s been so much history that’s taken place here and we want to just keep adding to that history, preserving it and sharing it with our community,” he said.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the “Haunted Majestic Ghost Hunt” (http://www.majesticchillicothe.net/events/event/haunted-majestic-ghost-hunt/). Admission is $95/person. Space is limited to 30 people, age 18+.
CLICK HERE to learn about the Chillicothe Ghost Walk, featuring the Majestic Theatre and other haunted buildings. (https://www.chillicothehalloweenfestival.com/ghost-walk)