Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Orpheum Theatre’s Mary

This theatre was once the Grand Opera House in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. It was built in 1890.

Since the late 1970s, it has hosted Broadway productions and acts. In 1982, it underwent significant renovations.

The Orpheum has been haunted for over 90 years. Its resident ghost is a 12-year old girl named Mary.

Mary’s presence disturbed --one New York touring company's performance of Fiddler on the Roof in 1977--to the point where they requested a séance.

People rarely agree on why Mary haunts this theatre. One legend states she died in a fire in 1921. Others argue she was injured in 1923 when a streetcar hit her on Beale Street outside the Orpheum.

She was then brought into the theatre, where she died.

Her ghost is known to be playful. She is heard playing the Orpheum’s organ or singing. She has been seen running up and down the aisles in the theatre.

On several occasions she has been spotted sitting in seat C-5 on the Mezzanine level.

Witnesses’ state she has braided brown hair, wears an old-fashioned white dress and black stockings. Several reports state she has no shoes.

It is reported Mary can be helpful. When the theatre’s organ broke down, Harlan Judkins was called in to fix it. He took a coffee break only to find the organ was working correctly when he returned.

Many feel this was Mary’s handiwork.

One young performer that was on stage, playing the lead, in a production of Annie, stated one night as she was carried off stage in the big basket in which her character escapes the orphanage, she heard another little girl's voice talking to her within the basket.

It is believed this was Mary.

In Michael Norman and Beth Scott’s book, Haunted America, they share a witness account given by Teresa Spoone.

Spoone and two friends were visiting the Orpheum to hear an organ concert. As the song “Never, Never Land.” was played from the musical Peter Pan, they felt the theatre become cold instantly.

The women saw a light dart into the theatre from the lobby. They watched as this light disappeared behind a row of seats. These three then saw a little girl with brownish hair dancing in an aisle.

Spoone reported she got a cold chill as this little girl stopped, looked in her direction and called out her name.

No comments: