Washington Opera House

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More than one entity calls The Washington Opera House their afterlife home.

The strongest spirit was a dancer who died before a performance.

The strongest spirit wants respect, but also tries to be helpful.



Being located right across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, has made The Washington Opera House a popular place to be for those active in the performing arts. Many tours by a variety of performers, made it a point to perform here in this acoustic-friendly theatre throughout the years.


Historically, the local populace has fully embraced and supported its theatre, which is the fifth oldest performing arts venue in the United States. This handsome, solidly built, two story brick building was constructed in 1898, right on the spot of the old opera house, which had stood there since 1851 before burning to the ground on January 30, 1898. The Washington Fire Company lost no time in rebuilding it, at a cost of $24,000.

The Washington Opera House has been a popular place for those active in the performing arts, including film, since 1908, though it is now mainly a stage theatre. In 1962, an enthusiastic, long-established thespian group, The Maysville Players, took over, and as this article is written, in the spring of 2008, they are having their annual fund raiser, on June 14th, Maysville Uncorked, which will be a wine tasting event, with entertainment provided by the talented Peter Oprisko.

Maysville is also the hometown of the Clooney family. Though both Rosemary and George Clooney went on to become well known in TV and the movies, they both have a love for The Washington Opera House. In March of 2008, George Clooney held his movie premiere of The Leathernecks here.

In 2005-06, The Opera House went through an extensive $2.9 million dollar renovation and restoration, reopening on Saturday, November 25th, 2006 with a sell out crowd in attendance. Tom and I visited one Sunday morning in May, 2008 on a road trip to gather pictures for our stories, and it is indeed stunning, looking much like it did in its prime, with a few modern renovations to meet current building codes. When we were there, a production of “Nunsense” was the theatrical presentation on stage. According to their website, they are auditioning youth from 6th grade and up for the upcoming summer musical presentation of SEUSSICAL JR., which runs from July 31st through August 3rd.



Many performers have enjoyed expressing their talents here,, and it seems that some have decided to hang around or periodically visit. More than one entity is thought to call The Washington Opera House their afterlife home.

Though many of the entities which live here are unknown, one is thought to be the spirit of Loretta (Laura) Stambo, a talented dancer in a traveling performance group, in the late 1800s. It seems they made it a point of traveling through Maysville probably once a year.

The story goes that The Washington Opera House was one of Loretta’s favorite places to dance on stage. On the night of one such scheduled performance, Loretta, who was suffering from a bad case of pneumonia, followed her heart instead of her head, and tried to dance her part in the show, but collapsed on stage before she could do so. She died later at her hotel room. Her last request was honored, and she was buried in the dressing room, located right under the stage area.



Karen Laven, in her book, Cincinnati Ghosts, and Other Tri-State Haunts, gives the reader some fascinating stories about the haunted spots which are found in Maysville. The Washington Opera House is one such place. To read the full stories and details, and incidents not covered here, buy this interesting book!

The entity Loretta wants respect…

During the era of glass coke bottles, an ignorant actor placed his empty glass coke bottle on her grave. The bottle jumped up and shattered.

A picture of Loretta was painted on the wall of the lobby area. The eyes of this picture seemed to connect with some people, leaving them feeling a little uneasy. Several times it was painted over.

Each time, the picture came through, Loretta’s eyes seemingly became angrier and angrier. It has finally been painted over for good, so it is thought.



The entity of Loretta has been known to be helpful, ever the dedicated theatre enthusiast.

In one memorable incident, a woman who was working on scenery for a play asked a co-worker to bring her a nine foot long piece of plywood which was leaning up against the wall.

Slowly the wood in question floated down, defying gravity, and softly landed within reach of the woman, who thanked Loretta.

The entity of Loretta and/or one of the other entities have been known to watch over the performers on stage.

During a dress rehearsal, a wooden beam which was tied to a tier above an actress, came loose and normally would’ve hit the young woman, but was caught by unseen hands and glided to the floor – perhaps a group effort by the resident entities!

The entity of Loretta, or one of her spirit companions, likes to get their chuckles on occasion, especially if the living stay after midnight in rehearsal or preparation, when they want the building to themselves.

Two people who were closing up one evening got a scare after seeing a long piece of rope, hanging in mid-air, without being tied to a rafter beam. A coldness in the air was felt.

Auditory Manifestations

People have heard disembodied voices call their names.

A woman’s footsteps have been heard going across the stage area.


Yes indeed!

Many people have seen these manifestations through the years. Karen Laven did her homework and found witnesses who actually experienced these occurrences.


116 West second Street
Maysville, Kentucky 41056

Maysville is located off the 62 /68 Highways, on the shores of the Ohio River, near the Simon Kenton Highway, which crosses over into Ohio. Second Street runs through the heart of old downtown. The Washington Opera House proudly sits on the corner of Grave Street and Second Street.




Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Our Photos are copyrighted by Tom Carr

Visit the memorable… Milwaukee Haunted Hotel


  • Maysville, Kentucky Opera House Fire page at GenDisasters.com * MaysvillePlayers.net
    Washington Opera House page at Northern Kentucky Views
  • Cincinnati Ghosts, and Other Tri-State Haunts
    by Karen Laven
    Schiffer Publishing Limited, 2008

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr


Your Road Trip to Milwaukee’s Hot Spots




A Haunting at the Washington Opera House! ?

Ghost Hunting at The Washington Opera Theatre

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