According to paranormal experts, ghosts are said to exist in places that are very old or where emotional, even traumatic events, took place. That being said, it’s no surprise that opera houses all over the world are said to be home to ghosts and legends that explain who the spirits were in life and why they haunt the opera. Be warned, it may not be near Halloween, but these phantoms of the opera will give you goosebumps and have you sleeping with your lights on.
1. St. James Theater- Wellington, New Zealand
The St. James opened in 1906 and has served a variety of roles for the city of Wellington. While it was originally a silent movie theater, today it’s known for its live performances and of course its ghosts.
One of the St. James’ famous ghosts is named Yuri. Whether purposefully or by accident, Yuri fell to his death from the catwalk above the stage. According to legend, Yuri was a Russian performer at the St. James who fell in madly love with another performer. His love was unrequited though, and some say he threw himself to his death out of despair. While his story may be dark, Yuri is said to be a kind spirit whose worst hijinks are playing with the stage lighting or turning the lights back on after the last person has left the theater and locked the doors.
Yuri has even been said to protect the people working in the theater. According to one projectionist, Yuri pushed him away from a ledge while he was walking in the dark and even pushed him out of the way of a falling beam.
Not all of the St. James Legends ghosts are as kind though. There is also said to be a wailing woman who was an actress who committed suicide after she was booed off the stage. According to legend, the wailing woman now exacts vengeance on other actresses. Sprained ankles, falls from ladders, and even colds have all been attributed to the wailing woman. The wildest story may be the one that says an entire boys choir haunts the theater. Apparently, their last performance was at the St. James before they boarded a boat and were never heard from again.
2. The Palais Garnier- Paris, France
Of course, the theater from The Phantom of The Opera is on this list! One of the most surprising facts that many assume is fiction is the lake underneath the theater. Well, lake might not be the correct term, but there is a large tank full of water underneath the theater. As the theater was being built in 1861, workers ran into water that they couldn’t drain. The theater was built over the water anyways, and the water was contained in a large tank which controlled the water’s flow with pressure while also providing a foundation for the theater. The only way to access the tank is through a single grate, but that doesn’t stop Parisian firefighters from using the underground “lake” to practice swimming in the dark. That’s not all because the famous grand Chandelier really did fall and kill a theater worker in 1896. While the accident didn’t happen during a performance and isn’t attributed to a phantom, it had to have influenced Gaston Leroux’s novel that would one day become The Phantom of The Opera.
3. Huguang Guild Hall- Bejing, China
This theater was cursed from the moment it was built in 1807. Legend says that the theater was constructed on an ancient graveyard. Just like Poltergeist, those who enter the theater share it with spirits as a result. Some stories say that at one point the spirits stayed in the shadows and didn’t bother anyone because, the main housekeeper, who had an advanced case of leprosy, was so ugly that even the ghosts were afraid. Today though, the ghosts are back and mischievous and cranky as ever. If someone goes out to the theater’s courtyard and throws a stone, a ghost will yell at them to behave, according to legend.
4. The Oriental Theater- Chicago, United States
The Oriental wasn’t built on a burial ground, nor have there been any fatal accidents inside. Unfortunately, it was built where the Iroquois theater once stood. If the name is familiar, it’s because the Iroquois was where one of the deadliest fires in American history occurred. During a sold-out performance of Mr. Bluebeard, the theater caught on fire, and over 600 people died trying to escape the theater. After the fire, the human remains were stacked in the alley behind the theater after the fire burned out. Today, the alley is known as “Death Alley, ” and it’s said that ghosts can be seen lurking in the shadows.