Episode 3: Haunted Theatres
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
Hi Everyone, I really hope you enjoyed the stories from Haunted B.C Theatres. I love this episode...though...I love every episode but I'm biased I suppose.
I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone who has listened to the podcast so far and if you're a new listener, HI! I really appreciate the interest in the show.
So let's jump right in, I want to show you some photos of the beautiful Vogue Theatre, our first Theatre that we talked about.
So we had some really compelling stuff from the Vogue Theatre. One little story that the current theatre manager Johnny told me was pretty funny, it didn't turn out to be an actual haunting situation but Johnny didn't know that at the time. He wrote:
"...So we are able to do both GA (General Admission) and reserved seat shows. To do that, we take the chairs in an out of the floor. I used to do that every so often. I'd have to show up bright and early and take them out/in by myself in the Theatre. I'd always listen to podcasts or music whilst doing it to make time go by. So if someone did come into the building I wouldn't hear them and would get a little spooked when they'd show up haha. Anyways, I was taking the chairs out and my back was turned to the stage for probably a minute...I turn around and see a little kid and an older man on stage. It scared the absolute bajeezes out of me because 1. I didn't know what I was looking at and 2. I had no idea how they would get in, because all of the doors were locked. Once I realized that they weren't ghosts and in fact were live humans. I said "who are you and how did you get in?. ...it was a friend of our maintenance guy who asked if his grandson could come in on a dead day to 'hunt for ghosts'." If Johnny hadn't figured it out by then, the kid was holding an ipad with a ghost hunting app installed...that would have been a huge giveaway. Still, isn't it funny how our minds can jump to that fear so quickly?
One last thing I wanted to present to you for your consideration are two examples of how the theatre ushers looked back in the 40s and 50s (these are not specifically from the vogue theatre). So look at these and then read the description of the apparition from this theatre as I presented in this Episode - Dark haired, mid thirties, sharp features, and wearing a light coloured dinner jacket. I wonder if this spirit is of an usher who once worked at the theatre. Certainly the uniform could be mistaken for a dinner jacket and as former employee Bill Allman had noted in an interview with the daily hive (https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/haunted-vancouver-the-ghost-of-the-vogue-theatre) "I think it's entirely possible it was someone who worked there, maybe didn't die there, but had a strong attachment to the theatre and kept coming back." I feel like this is a distinct possibility, especially since I was not able to come up with any evidence of any deaths on the premises.
Make sure to check out the Vogue theatre on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thevoguetheatrevancouver/), they have some really fantastic shows there and maybe you'll get the opportunity to ghost hunt...just don't scare poor Johnny!
Moving on to the next theatre, The Orpheum Theatre which is also located on Granville.
This was how the outside of the theatre once looked, very cool. I'm sad to say that the building from the outside now looks less than inviting. No marquee...pretty blah BUT you go inside and you will be transported back in time. Just look at these STUNNING photos of this amazing theatre.
Of course I was not able to find a photo of the downstairs bathroom where the bathroom attendant is still said to be working. But I would think the uniform was similar to the photo of the ushers back in that time.
About an hour from Fernie and only twenty minutes from Cranbrook you will find the Wild Horse Theatre at Fort Steele. Remember, this building is not an original building to this town but was built in 1972 to mimic the style of the rest of the town. Just because it isn't original though, doesn't mean it isn't without activity.
As I was saying, I wasn't able to track down anything on the missing janitor, though, I don't know how missing persons cases were reported at that time...or what ever came of that. It could just be legend but it does seem possible with the story from the former employee who claimed to know him personally. If anyone out there knows anything more about the disappearance of a Janitor named George, please email me so I can confirm that part of the story.
On another note, Fort Steele as a whole is a pretty cool place, they do some awesome events around Halloween, ghost tours and they have a large festival at this time as well. I'll get more into this when I talk about the town in the Ghost Town Episode (5). Also if you're in the area and want to check out the Wild Horse, look at their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nowthatisentertainment/ they show some awesome movies and it looks as if they do some double features. How cool would it be to catch Alien or most recently the Grindhouse Double Feature in a haunted theatre! If you do stop by and happen to meet Gordon, the Theatre Manager, be sure to tell him that you heard about the Wild Horse on the Real Scary Podcast.
Lastly and I think my favourite of the theatre stories, is the McPherson Playhouse in Victoria, B.C. Home of the Grey Lady.
This is a photo of the Pantages Theatre, the date is unknown. We know that the theatre was built in 1914, so I'm assuming it is around that time. As I said in this Episode, the theatre was built by theatre mogul Alexander Pantages who named this theatre for his wife Lois.
The Pantages theatres were quite the institution, with 10 in Canada and the U.S. Their Hollywood theatre hosted the Academy Awards between 1949 and 1959. As I mentioned though, their personal past is quite scandalous. First in approximately 1928-29 Lois Pantages was arrested and then tried for manslaughter, when she was involved in a car accident that killed a man. There was a witness who testified that Mrs. Pantages was intoxicated behind the wheel.
As you can see, this was a big time trial. The Pantages family were big names, well known, powerful and very wealthy. Every story no matter how small were front page news. The verdict was shocking to many when Lois was found guilty, she collapsed in the courtroom and was listed as in a critical condition in many of the papers following. Eventually, as reported on December 23, 1930, she was freed on probation.
At the same time that this trial was going on...Alexander Pantages was on trial for the sexual assault of a 17 year old dancing girl Eunice Pringle. He was found guilty of the 'statutory attack'.
Here are just a few of the headlines in the papers at that time.
Below you'll find an article that outlines what each side was arguing.
Now as I said he ended up being found guilty, then won a retrial in late 1931 and ended up being acquitted of the crime. These cases really ruined the family, their fortune was almost gone and Pantages passed away in '36. Lois passed away of a heart attack while swimming in 1947.
So the theory that I brought up in the episode was, could Lois Pantages be the grey lady? Perhaps she went back to the theatre her husband named for her? Could she have felt the need to make her presence known during the rehearsal for a play about the spirit of a scorned woman? We may never know for sure but I think it's a plausible theory.
Let me know what you think?#WhoistheGreyLady
The Pantages theatre, now known as the McPherson Playhouse is still a beautiful place and definitely worth the visit. Just be prepared for the fact that they don't like to talk about the hauntings anymore. Here are some updated photos and they actually had some great photos of the interior of the theatre where you can see the balcony area where she has been seen. I tried to track down the actors in the play rehearsal who saw her during rehearsal, I really wanted to show them the photo of Lois and see if she looked familiar. BUT to no avail!
That's all for this blog and I hope you will tune in for Episode 4 which is all about Coastal Hauntings! I'll be talking about the mysterious Deadman's Island, Waterfront Station, the old Powerhouse at Stave Falls, the ghost ship S.S Valencia AND a very interesting bonus location that has been a background in movies such as IT (miniseries), Freddy vs Jason and Lake Placid among others. Don't forget to check out the maps/tours section on this website where I will continue to update after every episode goes up.
Remember to subscribe to the podcast if you haven't already, like my facebook and instagram pages @RealScaryPodcast and if you have any of your own stories or suggestions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time...