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If you are a theater person or know theater people, you know that they are a superstitious lot. Such as saying "Break a Leg" instead of "Good Luck" (they believe it's bad luck), don't whistle backstage (it used to confuse the stagehands), and NEVER say The Scottish Play. If you need to learn about the Scottish play, you can check out the blog from last week.

But there is one superstition that has proven helpful for modern theater.

The Ghostlight is a single bulb left on whenever the theater is dark. It's believed that the ghost light is left on in case the resident ghost wants to use the stage. Some say it's to chase away the spirits from the stage. In reality, it's there, so no one takes a tumble off the stage. The theater is pitch black when everything is turned off, and the edge of the stage can go right into the orchestra pit so that it could be perilous. But let's be honest, theater folks would still use the ghost light even if it didn't have a modern explanation.

Another superstition is that every theater has a ghost. We attend the theater for all kinds of thrills - suspense, romance, and unexpected plot twists. But theaters themselves, with their long histories of players, staff, and patrons coming and going, are the stuff of legend. It could be because the buildings tend to be old and creaky. Either way, here are some haunted theaters around the world...

New York City

The Belasco Theatre in New York City is haunted by the one-time owner, David Belasco. Belasco loved theater so much that he spent nearly every waking hour at the theatre, writing, managing, or directing his plays. His apartment was even above the theater!

Shortly after he died in 1913, he began to show up around the theater. He is said to be one of the most alive-looking theater ghosts. Actors stepped out on stage and noticed a lone, dark figure sitting on the balcony, watching. The ghost has a voice, too. He has been known to walk right up to actors, shake their hands and tell them they did a fine job at a performance. Veteran actors look forward to seeing Belasco; seeing him is a good omen.

If you're interested in The Belasco Theater, check out this 7-minute video.

Los Angeles California

The Warner (Pacific) Theater is in Los Angeles and is allegedly haunted by Sam Warner of Warner Bros Pictures. Warner died of pneumonia a day before the film he had been working on - the "Jazz Singer" premiered. Warner is said to use the elevator until it stopped working in 1994. He has also been blamed for things going missing, only turning up in different locations hours or days later.

Lincoln, Illinois

The Lincoln Theater in Illinois has had stories about hauntings since the 1930s. The most famous ghost is named "Red." During the vaudeville days of the theater, Red was a stagehand and was devoted entirely to the theater. So devoted that he never left the theater. He sat down after lunch to nap and never woke up. Over the years, dozens of witnesses have reported strange sounds and footsteps in the otherwise empty theater, and these are sounds that cannot be explained away as simply the theater's acoustics.

Paris, France

The Paris Opera in France found a mysterious apartment and a male corpse were found. Yep, The Phantom of the Opera is rooted in legend! However, there haven't been any Phantom sightings. Instead, the theater's resident ghost is a woman that committed suicide in the 19th century and is said to roam the streets outside the Opera House in search of the man who jilted her.

London, England

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is the most famous haunted theater. The "man in gray" is reported wearing riding boots, a powdered wig, and a tricorn hat. The story goes that the apparition is the spirit whose skeletal remains were found in a walled-up passageway in the late 19th century. If you want to know more about Drury Lane, watch this video...

Junction City, Kansas

The C.L. Hoover Opera House in Junction City, Kansas, has a resident ghost that lives in the bell tower. The staff calls her "Isabella." When Junction City Little Theater was housed in the building on 18th street, there was a rumor that Bettina Coover (one of the founders) haunted the building. When JCLT moved to the Opera House, Bettina followed. Whether that be true or not, strange things happened, such as money being taken and then found days later in the same place it was left. People have reported feeling the temperature drastically drop when they go down in the basement and have felt the presence of a spirit.

It has been said that you can see spirits in the rehearsal hall windows toward the last few days in October.


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