Theaters are among the favorite sites of ghosts to manifest their presence from shoving actors for better positions, moaning and wailing, to promenading the stage and into the walls.
PRINCESS THEATER, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
Princess Theatre, owned by Charles Coppin was built in 1854 located at Melbourne’s East End Theatre District, Australia. The theater has a 1,488 seat capacity. It was re-built in 1886. Aside from being the one of the oldest theaters in the world with its distinctive features, Princess Theater is also known for being haunted by the ghost of an opera singer.
Frederick Baker known as Federici was a handsome Italian baritone singer. He was cast for the well-known opera Faust playing the part of the devil Mephistopheles. On the final act on the night of March 3, 1888, Federici was expected to be dropped through a trapdoor as his character was to be sent to hell. However, he suffered massive heart attack and died despite efforts of the staff to revive him. When the other actors heard Federici’s demise, they could not believe it because Federici was on stage to take the final bow.
From then, there were unexplained occurrences in the theater. Staff and actors reported mysterious noises within the wings and corridors, weird balls of lights above the stage and malfunctioning of equipment during performances. His ghost was also seen on numerous occasions in the dress circle staring at the stage garbed in evening attire complete with cloak and top-hat. Other times the phantom stayed on its seat for the entire performance. The staff s leave a seat free in the dress circle for Federici to sit in.
MANILA FILM CENTER, PASAY CITY, PHILIPPINES
The Manila Film Center was the brainchild of then-First Lady Imelda Marcos. The construction designed to look similar to the Parthenon, began on January 1981 at the cost of $25 million. Mrs. Marcos wanted to match Cannes as a world film capital. She rushed the construction of the Manila Film Center for an international film festival. There were 4,000 workers, working in 3 shifts, around the clock to beat the deadline.
However, around 3:00 a.m. on November 17, 1981, a tragedy transpired. The upper scaffold caved in sending 200 workers to their deaths. Mostly were buried in the quick drying cement while others were impaled on steels. Mrs. Marcos ordered news blackout while ambulances were permitted in the area until nine hours after the accident. It was told that she directed the construction to continue that the bodies were to be covered with cement. Witnesses claimed that some of the victims were buried alive.
Manila Film Center was not even fully completed when it opened on January 18, 1982 in time for the first Manila International film festival.
In 1990 when an earthquake hit Manila, the center was abandoned. It was rehabilitated in 2001 and was used again for performances of the Amazing Philippine Theater, a nightly Las Vegas-style transvestite musical show. In 2013, a fire damaged the Manila Film Center.
Vendors who loitered in the vicinity of the center reported hearing mysterious cries from somewhere inside the building in the wee hours. Ghostly apparitions were seen inside and even outside the center. Performers of the Amazing Philippine Theater also said they feel as if someone was watching them. They also heard moans and wails from the walls and floors of the buildings.
In 1990s, a story held that a man who passed by the Manila Film Center was approached by a stranger. The stranger gave him a piece of paper with telephone number and asked him to call his family and tell them he is okay. The man called the number and was shocked when he heard that the stranger had died in the center a decade ago.
THEATRE ROYAL, DRURY LANE, LONDON
Theater Royal in Drury Lane, London was founded in 1663.
The first ghost was of Joseph Grimaldi. Grimaldi was famous for its pantomime performances with white face make-up. However, he was inflicted with crippling disease and gave up acting. In 1818, he gain performed seated and he had not lost his magic. He died in 1837 and requested that his head be cut off from his body. His request was carried out.
Since his death, Grimaldi haunts the theater as his white face has been seen floating around the place. He played pranks to actors, cleaners and usherettes giving them a mischievous kick.
Another clown to trouble the Theater Royal is the ghost of Dan Leno. He was famous for his clog dancing routine and interpretation of a pantomime dame. He suffered from incontinence and used lavender to disguise the smell. He went mad in the height of his popularity and died in 1904.
Actors and theater staff would detect Leno’s presence through the smell of lavender. It was also believed that Leno was the Helping Hand ghost. The Helping Hand ghost was said to shove actors into better positions on stage and pats them on the back when they made audience laugh.
The famous ghost of the haunted theater is the Man in Grey. He was claimed to be wearing an 18th century hat, a powdered wig and grey cloak. He often appeared in the fourth row of the Upper Circle. The limping apparition would walk along the row of seats and through the wall. Sightings of the Man in Grey began in the twentieth century. In 1939, the entire cast of The Dancing Years saw him.