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 building is a solid, well-built, two story structure, with a large basement that shares a wall with an antique shop next door. It is home to The Mantorville Theatre Company, which describes itself on their website, as “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.”
Classic American melodramas, 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, the Civil War Tea, and weddings/receptions also take place here. Mantorville Opera House can host these outside events because of its renovation/restoration efforts eight years ago.
After a devastating fire that wiped away parts of the central downtown area, this glorious building was built in 1918, as a center for 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 history. It has also served as a club, a silent movie house, a roller rink, a city hall, and as a civic center, all legal and respectable uses.
However, its past was a little naughty, in that an illegal bar or speakeasy was located in the basement, during the 1920s. When the basement was renovated/ restored, Prohibition era booze bottles were found behind a brick wall, giving hard evidence that indeed a speakeasy existed here.
It once again became the Mantorville Opera House Theatre in the 1970s’, and has been producing plays of all kinds ever since. In the 1980’s, 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 up-to-date. The non-profit Mantorville Theatre Company rents the theatre from them, and produces all the on-stage productions.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Many spirits like the theatre, and choose to reside here in their afterlives for a variety of reasons.
Spirits of performers of the arts sometimes like to spend their afterlives in their favorite theatre, enjoying the onstage performances of the living, yearning to be in one more play.
Pittsburgh Theatre, PA (Popular actor John Johns died suddenly of a heart attack, preventing him from performing a part in a play that he had been working hard on. He decided to spend his afterlife in the theatre, trying to still be involved, yearning to be on stage once more. When the building was torn down, he probably hitched a ride on a prop and moved to another theatre).
Washington Opera House, KY (The spirit of a dancer, Loretta, who died before she could perform, has been known to be helpful, ever the dedicated theatre enthusiast).
Rialto Theatre, IL (Spirits of thespians who still want to perform have made this place their home).
Mantorville Opera House, MN (Spirits of past thespians can’t resist communicating with living actors and actresses).
Entities love to move items, and sometimes put them in odd places.
17-Hundred-90 Restaurant and Inn, GA (If the living leave jewelry, personal items and keys on their room’s fireplace mantle, the spirit of Anne Powell will take them and puts them in strange places for chuckles).
Gold Hill Hotel & Saloon, NV (The spirit of Rosie likes to play tricks on the living by moving objects and personal belongings of guests).
Salem Inn, MA (The spirit of Elizabeth feels free to rearrange items in the West House to show her ownership of the building, much to the annoyance of the staff).
Mantorville Opera House, MN (Spirits find it amusing to move items used in upcoming plays, and put them in odd places).
Spirits love to play with electrical items.
General Wayne Inn, PA (Spirits of Hessian soldiers love to play with electrical equipment found in the upstairs offices).
Bradmar Tudor Manor on Golf Course, CO (The two spirits turn the lights on and off. One likes them, while the other doesn’t).
Pittsburgh Andrew Baine Memorial Library, PA (The spirit of Amanda lets staff members know that she is here by turning the lights on and off. She also likes to play with the computers).
Mantorville Opera House, MN (Items powered with electricity are so fun to play with!).
Some entities haunt the land, and will move into any building that sits on it.
Capitol Records Building, TN (The two spirits of the Schnell sisters whose house was torn down to make room for the Capitol Records Building, have moved onto the eleventh floor where Capitol Records offices are located.
National Aviary, PA (The spirits of Confederate POWs and inmates who were incarcerated and died at Western State Penitentiary, which once stood where the National Aviary was built, now have moved inside, and find peace and enjoyment in this marvelous place).
Rivoli Theatre, IN (The theatre was built on farmland. The former owners of the farm have moved in and are enthusiastic spectral supporters).
Mantorville Opera House, MN (It was built on the spot where a mercantile store burned down. A spirit from that tragedy has made herself at home here).
Most 1920s’ speakeasy establishments had connections to the mob, due to the sale of black-market liquor. Mob business was often done in speakeasies, despite efforts by those speakeasies to keep it off-site. People were killed because they knew too much, or because they ran afoul of mobsters, or of rival gangs.
Brumder Mansion, WI (All members of the speakeasy crew were shot by Mafia soldiers from Chicago when the speakeasy was closed after Prohibition was repealed. The three spirits of the former crew now have found ways to be helpful to current owners, becoming the spectral security force).
O’Henry’s Roadhouse Building (The Irish Legend, Pub, Sports Bar and Restaurant), IL (Some gangsters who were fired by Al Capone were killed in the building, as well as folks who broke the rules. Their bodies were buried in the basement, making their spirits very restless).
Wabasha Street Caves, MN (Three gangsters were executed while playing cards in the side room by a big Louie type with a gun. Their spirits stay to enjoy the living and their social events).
Mantorville Opera House, MN (A speakeasy was located in the opera house’s basement. Someone didn’t make it out alive. His current behavior points to his mob connections).
Spirits of past employees, past managers, and past owners of businesses have been known to try to help out the current owners of those businesses, which may explain some of the activity in the auditorium and basement areas.
The Variety Theatre in Cleveland, OH (The spirits of former stage crew members relive their former lives, preparing the stage and lights for performances).
Tampa Theatre, FL (A longtime spectral employee is still being himself in a place he loved).
Elsinore Theatre, OR (The first owner still oversees with enthusiasm the staff and performers).
Mantorville Opera House, MN (There have been a number of hard-working Opera House employees, directors, and owners, that kept things here running during their lives, who as spirits may feel the need to help the current owners).
The spirits of animals who met their ends in a building, sometimes stick around a place as well.
Thayers Historic Bed and Breakfast, MN (The spirits of the former owner’s three kitties still call this place home).
Morgan House, MA (The spirit of a nine-year-old boy still has DoDo, who was his best friend while the boy lived, but now is his spirit dog companion).
The Salem Inn, MA (The spirit of a black kitty greets people in the parlor by rubbing against them, and will sleep on the end of the various guest beds).
Mantorville Opera House, MN (The remains of a mummified cat were found in the basement wall during the renovation eight years ago, suggesting where the meowing was coming from, a spirit kitty).
Feelings of being watched have been reported, especially in the basement.
Moving cold spots have been reported.
A group of actors all heard the sound of cowboy boots thumping down the 2nd floor hallway, when no one was in the upstairs area.
Disembodied voices are heard, having an intelligent conversation.
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.
The spirits of former entertainers/thespians who yearn to continue their acting careers but can’t, find ways to make themselves known, by appearing to the living.
To make themselves feel better, the spirits of actors and actresses will appear in the dressing rooms, dressed in the same costumes as the present-day performers, who are getting ready for a production in front of a live audience.
These spirits have in some cases directly told living actors/actresses that they once played the same part, before disappearing.
Polite But Fun-loving
These spirits have the good manners most of the time not to upstage the living actors during a performance.
Sometimes these spirits 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 had water poured into mugs, one actress found sawdust in hers that wasn’t there when the water was poured.
The Spirit of a Prominent Female Ellen
Through a Ouija board session done by some thespians, the name, Ellen, came through.
She 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.
Her disembodied voice is heard in the theatre.
Her unseen presence has been felt all over the theatre.
These are the spirits of the spectral lighting crew that once worked in the auditorium.
The actors/actresses on stage have seen shadowy people up in the rafters/catwalk area, where the production crew have traditionally done their part to enhance the production on stage.
The Forlorn Spirit
A very sad, mournful female spirit who haunted the location moved into the opera house.
Some think she is the spirit of an old business owner.
Dressed in black, she has been seen throughout the theater, perhaps where her store once stood, before it was burned to the ground, with her in it?
Or, perhaps she was involved with one of the other businesses that burned in the area, and it ended unhappily for her.
Staff feel the stare of an unseen male presence, giving them the once-over while trying to figure out why they have entered.
His name may be Eddie.
He doesn’t like paranormal investigators, whom he finds to be annoying and very nosy.
Investigators have been physically nudged in a way to try to get them to leave.
He has been known to turn off cameras, but also has been willing to respond to questions.
He apparently has the company of a spirit kitty whose meows have been reported by many.
Besides the many reports of the personal experiences by staff and thespians, and by others who have spent time in the theatre building, many other paranormal investigation groups have also caught a few bits of hard evidence, and/or had personal experiences as well.
Twin Cities Paranormal Society – In their April 14th, 2007 investigation report they recount numerous personal experiences:
Investigators had to ask permission of the spirits before their cameras would work. Recording equipment in the balcony was mysteriously unplugged.
An investigator who was sitting on a chair backstage, had the experience of being moved, chair and all, when some unseen presence dragged it backward.
A group of investigators back stage caught the sudden aroma of a fruity fragrance, wafting 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 during the investigation at different times, experienced a dark cloud that would envelope them for a moment, making it hard to see their own hands in front of their faces. 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 had 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) session 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 was 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 2nd floor of the theatre, an awful smell was noticed, that lasted twenty seconds.
The tell-tale signs of spirits are prevalent and consistent, strongly suggesting that at least three spirits or perhaps more call the Mantorville Opera House their home and source of entertainment.
There is a protective spirit named Eddie in the basement, who may be the ill-fated Mafia speakeasy enforcer. He is still guarding the speakeasy space.
The residing spirits of thespians are not ready to retire just yet, and try to find ways to let the living know their professional resumes, and love to joke around with the living as well.
The spirits who worked behind or above the stage, handling the lights and other technical necessities, love to relive their memories of work here, and also enjoy watching the performances onstage.
Mantorville Theatre Company
P.O. Box 194
Mantorville, MN 55955-0194
Mantorville Opera House is located on 5th street, about four or five buildings west of the N. Main and 5th Street 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
- http://www.ampers.org/pieces/mantorville-opera-house?s=history?page=7&s2= , interview with Jane Oliver, about the theatre.
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr
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