Monday, November 16, 2015

AtomaCon Panel: Haunted Theaters

I had a great time at my third AtomaCon...I went to a bunch of informative panels and met some really cool people. Since I have a paranormal blog and am also a playwright, it should be no surprise that I attended Alex Matsuo's Haunted Theaters panel. Alex is an actress, playwright, director, and author (of The Haunting of the Tenth Avenue Theater, The Haunted Actor, and More Than Ghosts), and she is the founder and director of the Association for Paranormal Study, which is based in San Diego and Raleigh. The first theater she covered in the panel was the Tenth Avenue Theater in San Diego, which was originally a Baptist chapel. The building is haunted by a British lieutenant (church members heard a British voice giving military orders and would sometimes see him standing in the chapel), a preteen girl named Missy who fell down the stairs and split her head open (Missy's spirit likes to talk to people, turn lights on, and follow people around), a pastor who hung himself in the chapel because he felt guilty about Missy's death, and a former church member named Carol LaRoche, who haunts the bathrooms.

A few of the other theaters covered in the panel:

-Theatre Royal in London: haunted by "The Man in Grey," who wears 18th-century clothing; seeing him is considered a sign of good luck

-New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City: haunted by Olive Thomas, who died of mercury poisoning at 25; her ghost is usually spotted by men and is wearing her Ziegfeld Follies costume and holding a blue bottle (which is what held the mercury that caused her death)

-Palace Theatre in New York City: haunted by more than 100 spirits, including Judy Garland

Alex told us about some of her own experiences, like feeling hands grabbing her dress and ankles during a Civil War reenactment at Gettysburg and once seeing a shadow figure mimicking an actor onstage during a performance. She said that spirits need energy in order to manifest, and theaters are full of energy (from everyone in the theater, lighting, electricity, etc.), which may explain why so many theaters seem to be haunted. The Haunted Theaters panel was really interesting and made me want to read all of Alex's books to find out more about her paranormal experiences. I'm going to a haunted theater (Dock Street) to see my favorite band next month, and I've never seen a ghost there, but I'll keep an eye out this time. : )

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