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W-File: gh_wausau_grandtheater.html

Type: Ghost
Location: Wausau, Wisconsin

Source: Todd Roll of the Wausau Paranormal Research Society

Grand Theater Investigation

Wausau, WI
July, November, December 2001

Built in 1927 to replace the old Grand Opera House, the Grand Theater has been a Wausau, WI landmark for decades. Originally a vaudeville and silent movie house the Grand has changed functions over the years showing motion pictures from 1932-1985, and, after a renovation project in 1986, the Grand became the feature performing arts theater for north central Wisconsin.

Over the years the Grand has been host to numerous plays, movies, musical performances and, if the tales are to be believed, one or more ghosts.

The earliest reports of ghostly activity at the Grand are from the 1950's when workers reported movie canisters being moved from the upstairs projection room to the lobby. Over the years other manifestations have been reported including phantom footsteps, apparitions, electrical malfunctions, cold spots, and areas that are just creepy to be in.

The Wausau Paranormal Research Society launched an investigation of the Grand Theater in July of 2001. At that time the theater was undergoing a major renovation project, the theater will receive an addition and be linked to two other buildings as part of the "Arts Block" project, making conditions less than ideal for an investigation, but our hope was that the project might "stir up" the spirits of the building.

During our initial research we collected reports of the following paranormal phenomena at the Grand.

Many stagehands reported the sound of footsteps walking across the empty stage. When they would investigate the source of the footsteps could not be located.

A worker closing up the theater for the evening saw an apparition of a man appear along the back wall of the balcony. The apparition was seen in the exact spot where the door to the projection room had been located.

An apparition, again of a man, was seen in the lighting rack above the stage by a number of people over the years. In one case the apparition walked down the spiral staircase from the lighting rack and crossed the stage directly in front of two witnesses.

Lights in the projection area are often turned on when no one is around.

Various areas of the theater are reported to be "cold spots."

During the most recent construction project power would mysteriously shut off in one area of the basement. Electricians would test a wire and find it live, but when they tried to power equipment off of it the same line would be dead, only to become live again moments later.

A puddle would form in another area of the basement, when no source of water for it could be found.

Two staff members reported hearing "voices" coming out of a room behind the balcony. A search revealed no other people in the building.

The Wausau Paranormal Research Society decided to concentrate our investigation in two areas, the balcony and third floor offices, and the stage and lighting rack.

While taking background photos of the balcony I snapped a photo of an anomalous blob. I was using standard 35mm 400 speed film and did not see the blob at the time the photo was taken. A photo taken seconds later did not show the blob. When checking the negative the blob does appear on it. The photo does have some other development flaws on it, but the blob is something different. It should be noted that there was a renovation project going on at the time and the blob could very well be a dust particle.

The blob is in the center of photo and "appears" to be wrapped around the railing. (Photo is property of Todd Roll and cannot be reproduced without express written consent of Todd Roll.)

During our third visit we recorded some EVP in one of the spotlight rooms in the third floor office area. While setting up equipment in the room two members reported hear "whispering" coming from the far corner of the room. After playing back the tape a voice can be heard saying "Don't come back over here." The origin of the voice could not be determined at this time.

The Wausau Paranormal Research Society plans to visit the Grand Theater early this year (2002) to conduct a further investigation of the phenomena reported.

Todd Roll
Wausau Paranormal Research Society
Wausau, WI

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