Fitzgerald Theater

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One resident spirit can be annoying, and may have overstayed his welcome.

A spectral wanna-be performer causes paranormal activity.

DESCRIPTION

This grand old elegant lady, The Fitzgerald Theater is the restored 1910 treasure known as a “two balcony dramatic house” with an auditorium with “near perfect acoustics and sight-lines.” All of its 996 seats are no farther than 87 feet from the stage. There are eight opera boxes which curve toward the stage for private parties. There are very few of this kind of theater left standing. It has been beautifully restored.

The theatre has a beautiful Beaux Arts decor and design, complete with red plush seats. The proscenium stage area is 30 ft high and 36 feet from edge to edge. Both the opera boxes and the arch of the stage area are decorated with ornate plastic work and glittering gold leaf. From the stage one can see the 1926 Wurlitzer organ which was added to the theater in the 1986 renovation.

The theater is versatile in that it can handle a wide range of events, even accommodating traveling Broadway sets, and modern set ups for television, radio broadcasting and recording. Their lighting and sound equipment is described as extensive.

 

HISTORY

The original 1910 theater was one of four memorial theaters built in the United States in memory of Sam Shubert, by his surviving brothers Lee and J.J. Shubert, entertainment industry leaders. It was named The Sam S. Shubert Theater, and was designed using the famous Maxine Elliot theater in New York as inspiration. In 1933, the theater was transformed into a foreign film movie house, called the World Theater.

As often happens with old buildings, this grand theater eventually became a little dowdy, long in the tooth, and in need of renovation. Luckily, Minnesota Public Radio bought the theatre in 1980, and restored the inside and outside, with the purpose of providing a home for not only live events once again, but also for a live radio program in 1986, called A Prairie Home Companion, with Garrison Keillor. He began hosting talented musicians and comedy performers, as well as his own comedic skits about a fictional town, Lake Wobegon, which still airs Saturdays at 5 p.m.

In 1994, the name of the theater was changed once again to The Fitzgerald Theater, after hometown author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

Renovations of buildings can awaken or draw spirits back into being active.

Brumder Mansion, WI (After this 1910 mansion was first restored and renovated, spirits with attachments to the first, second and third floors became active indeed. When a bar was added to the basement theatre in 2010, the spirits who were alive during the old speakeasy years in the 1920s and 30s, joined the spirits already residing).

Pittock House Museum, OR (After restoring this creaky mansion, and having the Pittocks’ personal possessions and objects on display, the spirits of Mr. and Mrs Pittock moved back inside, and joyously reside with the staff and visitors).

Hartford Twain House, CT (After their forever home was restored, the whole spirit family moved back inside).

Fitzgerald Theater, MN (During the 1985 building restoration, the workers were surprised to find a second balcony after removing the false ceiling, where they found a note written to a man known as Ben. After this, a male entity began to make his presence known. Respecting personal space of the living isn’t one of his strongest suits).

 

When lives are cut short, especially those of aspiring artists, they sometimes don’t want to admit that they have passed and continue to work on their goals).

Pantages Theatre, CA (A female singer who was working hard to audition for a play suddenly died. Her spirit continues to sing along with musical presentations on stage, whether concerts or play productions).

Washington Opera House, KY (Loretta (Laura) Stambo was 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. Despite suffering from a bad case of pneumonia, she tried to dance her part on stage, but collapsed and died back at her hotel room. As determined as she was in life, the spirit of Loretta Stambo won’t be stopped).

Pittsburgh Theatre, PA (Popular actor John Johns had worked hard on a role in an upcoming performance, only to die in a heart attack before he could perform).

Fitzgerald Theatre, MN (The spirit of an actress who died suddenly still isn’t ready to go just yet).

 

People who died unexpectedly may have an angry attitude because they are deeply upset at their own death. They show their envy, jealousy and resentment of those living folks in not-so-nice ways to make themselves feel better.

Pittsburgh Theatre, PA (A spirit named Gorgeous George purposely appeared in front of the living in startling ways with a green decomposing face near or in the Prop Room, or in the back of the theatre).

McRaven House, MS (Highwayman Andrew Glass made his living by robbing, bullying and even murdering his victims. His wife cut his throat after he was shot by a would-be victim. Being dead hasn’t given him any new insights. After the restoration, his spirit went back to finding joy in hurting people, until a priest blessed the house. This slowed him down, but he is still the main source of negative energy).

Kennebunk Inn, ME (Cyrus was the inn’s conscientious night clerk for many years. As a spirit, he teases the folks who do his old job, showing his sense of humor and his envious, menacing side as well, making them uncomfortable).

Stranahan House, FL (Ivy Stranahan’s ne’er-do-well, carousing brother Albert caught TB from a prostitute and died six months later in Ivy and Frank’s Stranahan House. Apparently, being dead hasn’t improved his character, his maturity or his manners. He is a mean teaser and makes the staff and visitors alike very uncomfortable).

Fitzgerald Theatre, MN (The spirit of Ben is still upset about his accidental death and takes it out on the living).

 

MANIFESTATIONS

The theatre’s known spirits have been named Ben and Victoria. They have their own agenda as they try to work out their restlessness.

Spirit of Ben

He is a crewman who often walked on the catwalks sixty feet above the auditorium to work the technical aspects of a performance when he was alive.

He may have fallen and died.

He may not want to accept that he died in an accident like that, so he shows himself to the living.

The dark apparition of a man has been seen walking about the catwalks and then disappearing.

Notice Me!

The living began experiencing unexplainable cold spots in the theatre which weren’t there before.

Workmen found their tools were moved around, sometime vanishing for a time and turning up again in odd places.

An empty antique bottle of Muscatel began to appear in strange, out-of-the-way places in the theatre.

A Burst of Frustration

A chunk of plaster, which didn’t come from the theatre, fell down, nearly hitting two workers in the stage area.

They immediately shined their flashlights up from where it fell and they saw a shadowy male form walking around the catwalks. It abruptly disappeared as they watched.

This little stunt of his didn’t win any friends among the living.

I want to sing

This female spirit was an actress willing to practice and work hard to achieve success in her craft.

Being in spirit form hasn’t stopped her, as she is a performer at heart.

When the theatre is empty, she loves to sing, and likes to practice, giving staff members a private recital.

She has many friends.

PARANORMAL FINDINGS

Staff members have experienced the full paranormal sports package from the spirit of Ben, not all of it nice.

Staff members have heard Veronica’s voice echoing in the auditorium. She is well-liked as she doesn’t bother the living, just loves to sing in a theatre she had hoped to perform on stage.

I couldn’t find any hard evidence online that proves they are there. I bet they had a private investigation after the near-miss with the plaster incident.

 

STILL HAUNTED?

Probably so. The spirit of Ben may have calmed down after the theater probably had this space blessed. The spirit of Veronica is probably still singing to her heart’s content.

 

LOCATION

10 E Exchange Street
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101

The Fitzgerald Theater is located in the historic downtown section of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

 

VIDEOS TO WATCH:

 

The Fitzgerald Theater’s Ghost – 10/18/2014

 

The Fitzgerald Theater

hauntings

SOURCES INCLUDE

  • theater.about.com
  • fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org
  • minnesotaparanormalinvestigators.com
  • rochestermn.com

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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