Mantorville Opera House
Prevalent, consistent paranormal activity point
to spectral thespians who love the world of performing.
There is a protective spirit in the basement, perhaps from the Speakeasy days.
This lovely stone block theatre is a solid, well built, 2 story building, with a large basement that shares a wall with the brick, antique shop next door to the right.
It is home to The Mantorville Theatre Company, that describes itself on their website; “Mantorville Theatre Company is a non-profit community theater that produces eight, yes eight, shows every year. MTC is famous for its summer melodrama season but we offer four full-length comedies, dramas, and musicals the rest of the year.”
The classic American melodrama, with villains, damsels in distress and gallant heroes are a big hit during their summer season. It is during the rest of the year that a variety of theatrical entertainment is produced, with the help of local talent in the community of Mantorville.
Other social events, such as the Christmas Tea, Civil War Tea and weddings/receptions also take place in the building.
Six years ago, renovation/restoration efforts opened the theatre to such outside events, bringing in another source of revenue.
After a devastating fire that wiped away parts of the central downtown area, this glorious building was built in 1918, as a center of theater and the arts for the community, that included a bar area. Traveling shows came to town on their road tours, offering many types of entertainment here as well.
As was the case in many other cities, such a handsome building has been used a lot throughout its 94 year old history. This solid building also served as a club, an illegal bar or speak-easy in the 1920s, a silent movie house, a roller rink, city hall and as a civic center.
It once again became The Mantorville Opera House Theatre in the 1970s, and has been producing plays of all kinds ever since. In the 1980s, the old stone building was bought from the city by the Mantorville Restoration Association, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to restoring, and renovating the old theatre, making it both beautiful, and an up-to-date theatre, loved by the community at large. The non-profit Mantorville Theatre Company rents the theatre from the Mantorville Restoration Association, and produces all the on stage productions.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Some theories as to why spirits like the theatre, and choose to stay, and how other haunted places have the same sort of paranormal activity.
Performers of the arts, and the folks who ran the stages/theatres where performers displayed their talent, sometimes like to visit, or even spend their after-life in their favorite theatre as spirits, to enjoy seeing plays that they once were a part of.
Entities love to move items, and sometimes put them in odd places.
Entities love to play with electrical items.
Some entities haunt the land, and will move into any building that sits on this land.
Mantorville Opera House was built on the spot where a mercantile store burned down.
A Prohibition speakeasy was probably located in the opera house’s basement. Most 1920s Speakeasy establishments had connections to mob management, due to the sale of black market liquor. Sometimes mob business was done in the speakeasy, though they tried to keep it off-site, sometimes this didn’t always work. People were killed because they knew too much, or ticked off a hot-headed mobster, or rival gang.
Prohibition Era old booze bottles were found behind a brick wall in the basement, during the renovation done 6 years ago.
Perhaps one of “the fellas”, perhaps the enforcer, or someone who became a victim here is still in the basement, guarding the Speakeasy space.
Entities of past employees, past managers, and past owners of businesses have been known to try to help out the current owners of a business, that may explain some of the activity in the basement area.
There have been a number of such folks, working hard with a dedicated mind, to keep the businesses/theatre in this structure running throughout the building’s long history, and may feel the need to help. Animals who meet their end in a building, sometimes stick around the place.
The remains of a mummified cat were found in the basement wall during the renovation done 6 years ago.
Feelings of being watched – especially in the basement.
Moving cold spots have been reported.
The lights seem to have a mind of their own;
After lock-up of the building, lights that were turned off, turn themselves on again.
Police who patrol the area see lights gayly burning away in the middle of the night, after they had been carefully turned off much earlier at closing. The wiring was checked, and nothing was found amiss.
Entities of a former entertainer or two/and thespians
A group of actors all heard the sound of cowboy boots thumping down the second floor hallway, when no one was in the upstairs area.
Entities of actors/actresses will appear in the dressing rooms, dressed in the same costumes as the present day performers, getting ready for a production in front of a live audience.
Let the living actors/actresses know that they had played the same part in this manner, even speaking in some cases, before disappearing.
These entities have the good manners most of the time not to upstage the living actors during a performance, but:
Sometimes these entities need some chuckles, and want to let the living know they are there.
They move around items of importance during the rehearsal time, or between performances.
During a play where the actors have water poured into mugs, one actress found sawdust in hers that wasn’t there when the water was poured.
Prominent Female entity – Named Ellen by the thespians and staff
Through a Ouija board session done by some thespians, the name, “Ellen”, came through.
Likes to move props, like canes and stick horses and put them in odd places, much to the frustration of the producers of various shows.
Female disembodied voice is heard in the theatre.
Her unseen presence has been felt all over the theatre.
The actors/actresses on stage, have seen shadowy people up in the rafters/catwalk, where the production crew have traditionally done their part to enhance the production on stage.
A sad, mournful looking, female entity
Dressed in black, has been seen throughout the theater, perhaps where her store once stood, before the store was burned to the ground, with her in it? Or perhaps she was involved with one of the other businesses that were located here, and it ended unhappily for her.
Staff feel the stare of an unseen male presence, checking them out. Investigators have been physically nudged in a way to try to get them to leave.
Sounds of a meowing kitty has been reported by many.
Most Probably so!! There is a protective spirit in the basement, who doesn’t particularly like investigators, will turn off cameras, but will participate in a Frank’s Box session. Other signs of spirits are prevalent and consistent, strongly suggesting that at least 3 entities call The Mantorville Opera House their home and source of entertainment.
Besides the many reports of the personal experiences of the staff and thespians, and others who spend time in the theatre building, many other paranormal investigation groups have also caught a few bits of hard evidence, as well as had personal experiences as well. Here are two of these paranormal groups, and their findings.
Twin Cities Paranormal Society – In their April 14th, 2007 investigation report numerous personal experiences:
State that investigators had to ask permission of the spirits before their cameras would work. Recording equipment located in the balcony mysteriously was unplugged.
An investigator who was sitting on a chair back stage, had the experience of being moved, chair and all, when some unseen presence dragged the chair a bit with the investigator still sitting in it.
A group of investigators in the back stage area caught the sudden aroma of a fruity fragrance, that wafted through the area for a moment.
Genuine cold spots were recorded and felt in both the men’s and women’s dressing rooms.
Upstairs on the second floor, a big group of investigators throughout the investigation at different times, experienced a dark cloud that would envelope them for a moment, making it hard to see a hand in front of the face. It stayed for a minute or two, then would go away.
An investigator in the basement walked into an unseen presence, that stopped her in her tracks. She turned on her flashlight to see what stopped her, and no one living was there.
Midwest Outer Realm Followers – Investigation on Nov. 8th, 2010
Individual and group investigations resulted in personal experiences and some hard evidence as well.
One investigator in the basement, trying to do an evp session, experienced hard nudging by an unseen presence, that knocked him off balance for a moment. Nothing was recorded, because the night vision IR camera so carefully set up in the basement had been turned off.
Shuffling noise was recorded behind the camera in the basement. During a Frank’s box (Radio Shack hack) in the basement, “Eddie”, was faintly heard, in response to a question, asking if Eddie was there.
On the main floor, some heard footsteps in the balcony area. Also Heard a disembodied whistle and a woman’s faint voice. The whistle was caught on tape.
When one investigator was going up the steps to the balcony to retrieve a camera set up there, he heard two disembodied male voices have a conversation in the balcony area, when no one living was in the area.
On the second floor of the theatre, an awful smell was noticed, that lasted 20 seconds.
Mantorville Theatre Company
P.O. Box 194
Mantorville, MN 55955-0194
Mantorville Opera House is located on 5th street, about 4 or 5 buildings west of the N. Main and 5th St. intersection. When you find Hubble House Restaurant, just stand on the corner of 5th and N. Main Street, and look down 5th on the right, and you will see it, a smaller theatre, with lovely decor on the outside.
- The Minnesota Road Guide to Haunted Locations
by Chad Lewis & Terry Fisk
interview with Jane Oliver, about the theatre.
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr
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