Many famous actors accept without question that haunted theaters exist because they have actually experienced the ghosts for themselves. So widespread is the belief in Britain that many theaters in Britain have what is called a 'ghost light' burning on the stage all through the night. In Shakespeare's time it would have been a candle. Now it is a single bare light-bulb and its intended purpose is to keep the ghosts at bay.
Here are details of those haunted theaters where it is said that you have a good possibility of a ghostly encounter.
Adelphi Theatre, 409 - 412 Strand, London, WC2R 0RS
The Adelphi Theatre is haunted by the shade of the great actor William Terriss. He was stabbed to death at the Stage Door in 1897 by a fellow actor. Terriss is supposed to haunt not only the backstage areas of the Adelphi Theatre but also the Lyceum Theatre and Covent Garden Tube Station.
Terriss is described as an imposing figure, being tall and wearing a grey suit with white gloves. His murderer was found to be 'insane' and spent the remainder of his life in a mental institution.
It is interesting to note that on the day before Terriss was murdered, his understudy related a disturbing dream he had had in which he had seen Terriss lying on the dressing room steps with blood flowing from a gaping wound in his chest.
Dominion Theatre Tottenham Court Road, London, W1P 0AQ
In 1930 this haunted theater was built on the site of Meux's House Shore Brewery. Over the years, many audience members have reported seeing a brewery worker in the Dominion Theatre. There has also been heard the sound of a child giggling. And as with so many other haunted theaters in London, there is reported poltergeist activity.
Fortune Theatre, Russell Street, London, WC2B 5HH
The Fortune Theatre is haunted by a woman dressed in black, who is often seen in the hospitality bar and in one of the boxes from where she appears to be watching the play. During the performance of the play,'Woman in Black', one of the actors, Sebastian Harcombe, saw two women to the right of the stage where no living person was in fact standing. At the same time, the leading lady mentioned that she felt that she had been followed onto the stage by someone she couldn't see.
Her Majesty's Theatre, Haymarket, London, SW1Y4QL
It is fitting that the venue that saw the first performance of 'The Phantom of the Opera' should be a haunted theatre in its own right.
Her Majesty's Theatre was built in 1897 for actor-manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree and he made several appearances on its stage. His favourite place in the house from which to watch performances was the top box, stage right and it appears that this is the centre for the manifestations. Occupants of the box complain of cold spots and of the door to the box suddenly opening of its own accord.
If it is Sir Beerbohm who is responsible then he does not seem to restrict his activities to this area. In the 1970's, during a performance of, 'Cause Celebre', the entire cast of the play, which included the actress Glynis Johns, watched as the ghost walked across the theatre at the back of the stalls.
Lyceum Theatre, Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7RQ
A haunted theater with unique ghost. For sitting in the cheaper seats in the Lyceum Theatre has been seen an elderly woman cradling what appears to be a severed head in her lap. No-one knows the identity of the spectre or indeed the owner of the cranium (if this what it is). It has been suggested that woman might be Madame Marie Tussaud who, in 1802, showed her waxworks in the theatre for the first time, with one of her exhibits. However, why anyone would want to 'stroke' a wax head is beyond me!
Noel Coward Theatre, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4AU
One of the more modern haunted theaters, the New Theatre as it was originally called, it was built in 1903 a few years after the Wyndham Theatre which stands behind it. Both the Noel Coward Theatre and Wynhams were managed by Sir Charles Wyndham and it is he who it is believed has often been seen walking in the corridors and appearing in the dressing rooms.
Piccadilly Theatre, Denman Street, London, W1D 7DY
This theatre is haunted by a minor actress called Evelyn Lane, who worked at the Piccadilly Theatre when it first opened. She may not have made much of an impression when alive but she is making up for it now. For it is she who is blamed for the poltergeist activity for which the theatre is known. Her photograph hangs in the theatre offices and when the picture was removed some years ago, the poltergeist became especially violent. Fortunately, someone realised the cause of the problem and when the picture was returned to its accustomed place, everything became quiet again.
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Catherine Street, WC2B 5JF
The Theatre is the oldest theatre London and is built on the site of three previous theatres. Spectrally speaking, it has two claims to fame. Firstly, it is home to the most world famous ghost, the Man in Grey. And secondly, the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, is the most haunted theatre anywhere in Britain, if not the world.
Theatre Royal Haymarket,Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4HT
The friendly phantom of actor-manager John Buckstone has been seen many times in the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. When shown a picture of John Buskstone, witnesses always confirm that that is he whom they saw. As indeed did Dame Judi Dench and Donald Sinden.
Apparently, John Buckstone is still very much attached to his old Dressing Room 1 as that is where he usually manifests. However, he has been observed in other places in the building as well, including the stairwells and once on the stage. Staff backstage have heard him rehearsing his lines although he has not seen there.
Victoria Palace Theatre Victoria Street, SW1E 5EA
Visiting haunted theaters can certainly be a 'hair-raising' experience. At least it be if you go to the Victoria Palace Theatre. For there have been many numerous reports of poltergeist activity involving, of all things, wigs.
They have been observed flying through the air unaided. The door to the room in which the hair-pieces are kept, opens and closes by itself And it is no use locking it as it unlocks and locks itself apparently without any human assistance.
No-one seems to have an explanation for this bizarre paranormal activity
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