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The Haunted Theatres of New York

19 Dec 2016History Essays

Many hotels, cemeteries theatres and prisons are said to be haunted. Places in the city of New York are said to have ghost roaming around. Why do ghosts tend to stay in certain locations and keep far away from others? GhosAts are often seen where pain and suffering occurred for certain inpiduals. Many ghosts tend to haunt places where their pain was said to be the greatest. Ghosts tend to hide in places that once were theirs and they consider these places to have painful memories. It appears as though ghosts just want to tell a story. Ghosts tend to make their presence known to all kinds of guests.

They do not have a preference towards those that believe in them or not. Most skeptics that have a first time encounter with a ghost, usually become believers in the paranormal. It only takes one encounter to realize that ghosts do exist. Most people in the United States and around the world do not report any ghost in their home. The majority of people in the world have calm homes or those where no haunting is present. People are often shocked to hear about a ghost haunting or someone stating that their house is haunted. Most ghosts choose not to live in homes because there is not enough energy there for them to materialize themselves. A ghost can only get stronger if there is energy present to allow themselves to become stronger. It is clear that ghosts do not like to harm most people’s homes. They tend to choose places that are large and are usually public attractions such as three New York City theatres that I discuss below.

The Belasco Theatre - David Belasco opened the Stuyvesant in October 1907, having already bequeathed his name on his 42nd St playhouse, now the New Victory. When he relinquished the 42nd St theatre in 1910, he immediately renamed the Stuyvesant as the Belasco. He provided himself with a duplex apartment above the theatre that had the décor of a Gothic church, and housed much of his theatrical memorabilia. Following his death, the theatre was rumored to be haunted by his ghost, until it was banished by the risqué production, Oh Calcutta!. Many speculate that Belasco did not appreciate an all nude review and thus left.

The theatre came under Shubert ownership in 1948. In Belasco's day, the impresario would sit in his special box and take in a production — often rushing backstage afterward to critique the performances. "He always dressed like a priest — black suit and white collar," recalls theater historian Louis Botto of Playbill magazine. "He had a sumptuous apartment upstairs, and practically every night he would bring up a beautiful actress for a rendezvous." Belasco died in New York May 14, 1931, and soon people began hearing strange noises in his theater — especially on opening nights.

"People insisted that they could see the ghost of Belasco sitting in his box seat," Botto reports, "scowling if he didn't like a performance. The last time anybody heard anything unusual was about five or six years ago. "One day, around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, a caretaker heard the chains of the elevator to Belasco's old apartment rattling. The caretaker's dog became very tense — as if he'd seen an apparition," says Botto.

The Palace Theatre - Vaudeville acts dreamed of a chance to "play the Palace" and over 100 ghosts are supposed to haunt the Palace Theatre, including a while gowned cellist playing in the pit, a young girl looking down from the balcony, and Judy Garland, who is sensed near the rear orchestra door built for her. The one ghost you don't want to run into at the Palace is that of the acrobat who died when he broke his neck there -- those who see him will soon die.

The New Amsterdam Theatre - The New Amsterdam Theatre is said to shelter a Ziegfield Follies chorus girl, Olive Thomas, who committed suicide. She is usually seen carrying a blue bottle, holding the poison that killed her. Workmen say they saw her in the dressing room as they did repairs on the theatre. Others say they've seen her on the stage.

"A great many construction men claim they often saw a beautiful young woman wandering aimlessly through the theater while they were working," says Botto. "She always appeared dressed in a Follies costume — in its heyday, the New Amsterdam had been home to the Ziegfeld Follies — holding a blue glass in her hand "She seemed to be confused as she walked around the gutted theater. "The woman bore a sash with the name Olive on it. It's believed the ghost was that of Olive Thomas, a Ziegfeld Girl who died of syphilis in the 1920s. She was a beauty. "One day, while reconstruction was going on, one of the workers called me," Botto says. "He said they had just seen a ghost and all of the workers had run out of the building. "Another time, a worker was standing in the lobby when he heard a voice call out, 'How are you doing, handsome?' When he turned around, there was nobody there."

A night guard saw her in 1997, the story goes, when the New Amsterdam Theatre's renovations were completed just before "The Lion King" opened there."We had a very frantic call from a security guard in the middle of the night," said Dana Amendola, vice president of operations for Disney Theatrical Group, who has been on the receiving end of some of the phoned-in ghost sightings. "While he was making rounds, he was onstage with a flashlight, and he felt a presence onstage with him."He saw a woman walk from one side of the stage to the other side of the stage. He said, 'Can I help you?' The woman blew him a kiss and walked through the wall."

After that, the man refused to do night shifts anymore, and the theater instituted a policy of scheduling guards in pairs, Amendola said. Upon further research, the staff came across a book with a photograph of Thomas, wearing the outfit the man had described."This security guard had no theater experience, was not a costume designer and had never seen the picture," he said. "We found out there were several observations of her from those who worked in the theater, and they all say the same thing. ..."People figure she's back in this place because this is where she spent her childhood. These were the happiest days of her life."

In conclusion, it would seem that most ghosts tend to make their presence known as the way they were before they died. They want people to see them as who they once were and they tend to hold onto past memories. Many ghosts can materialize themselves in physical form. Psychics and ghost hunters alike usually speak of a haunted place as an environment of pain and torture. In researching this paper I did not read any psychic or ghost hunter say that a ghost is appearing because they are happy. Thus I conclude is usually because a ghost feels frightened or because they are trying to get their story across. Ghosts, are just like people…everyone has some unfinished business that they seek to resolve.

Works Consulted

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