From our experiences gathered during our time investigating the paranormal, there are certain types of locations that seem to be widely reported as haunted. As discussed in earlier articles, battlefields, as well as old mental institutions or hospitals are frequently reported as haunted (even when they aren't), for understandable reasons. For less understandable reasons, old theaters are often reported as haunted, usually by patrons or former actors or employees.

The Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, NY is an example of one such theater. Opened on February 18, 1928, the theater was known for its luxury and beauty. Early on, it showed silent films, but by the late 1940s, staffing and funding had been cut back to the theater, leading to it falling into disrepair. In 1975, the theater was closed, at which time decorative elements began to be sold off. It was at this time a group got together to attempt to save the theater from being completely demolished. Volunteers helped get the theater back into good condition, and raised enough funds to purchase the theater. The Landmark Theatre is currently used for stage productions, and is continually in the process of improving the theater.

The Landmark Theatre is very open to paranormal investigations, and during these investigations paranormal activity has been observed. One rumored spirit at the Landmark is believed to be a young actress named ‘Claire’ or ‘Clarissa’, depending on who you ask. She is believed to have died a tragic death in the theater, having either thrown herself off a balcony, or having fallen. ‘Clarissa’ is believed to be kept company by a stagehand called ‘Oscar’. These spirits have demonstrated their presence by physically appearing to observers, strange lights, photographic anomalies, as well as EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena). ‘Clarissa’ reportedly makes her presence known by the scent of lilacs.

The question then is asked- why are theaters so widely reported to be haunted? One answer could be that theaters are actually very dangerous places. There are many different moving parts, high walkways, and electrical systems that can be lethal if used improperly, or if they malfunction. Many spirits are presented as the result of tragic deaths occurring as a result of equipment malfunctions. The other explanation for the hauntings are the passionate reputations that actors have. One story told about ‘Clarissa’ is that she threw herself off of the balcony after not getting a part she had auditioned for. Many reportedly haunted theaters have spirits linked to stories of desperate actions linked to professional failures. We may never know the true reasons for these hauntings, but the next time you’re in a theater watching a play, keep an eye out for any ghostly visitors.

Contributed by the NYS Shadowchasers.

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