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Theatre Ghosts and Folklore

Nellie Melba

Location: SW4 (Greater London) - Bingo hall along Clapham High Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1973
Further Comments: Nellie fell from the roof of this former theatre, after climbing to the roof in a drunken haze. Her shade, headless, was reportedly seen by some staff members near the area of the former stage.


Location: Swansea (West Glamorgan) - Grand Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1980s
Further Comments: An actress who went down with the Titanic, Jenny last acted in this theatre before meeting her doom. She is now seen dressed in brilliant white, quickly vanishing into thin air after being spotted.

Running Figures

Location: Swindon (Wiltshire) - Wyvern Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Shadowy figures have been reported running in the building, and footsteps heard in areas that should be empty.

The Pushing Chair

Location: Upminster (Essex) - Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Late twentieth century
Further Comments: People who sit in a certain chair in the auditorium experience the sensation of being pushed. This phenomenon is said to be related to a suicide which once occurred here. Watchers on one ghost hunt heard footsteps and tapping in the same area but could see no one.

London Beer Flood Victim

Location: W1 (Greater London) - Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twenty-first century
Further Comments: The theatre was built partly on the site where the Meux and Company Brewery stood. An accident at the brewery in 1814 released 1.5 million litres of beer that destroyed homes and killed several people. It has been reported that a teenage victim haunts the theatre and can occasionally be heard giggling.

Woman on Staircase

Location: W1 (Greater London) - London Palladium, Argyll Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: A red staircase and the surrounding passageways towards the back of the building are haunted by a rarely seen woman moving silently between them.

Angry Figure

Location: W1 (Greater London) - Prince Edward theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2001
Further Comments: An actor reported seeing an angry looking figure glaring at them from the wings.

Young Lady

Location: Warminster (Wiltshire) - Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1970-1990
Further Comments: This phantom female was more likely to be heard or her presence felt. A former worker at the theatre recalled hearing footsteps in empty parts of the building and smelling sweet perfume. The woman is thought to have died after being pushed from the top of a staircase when the building was a reading room in the eighteenth or nineteenth century.

William Terriss

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Adelphi Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Although William Terriss was murdered in 1897, several thespians have since heard or seen William walking about the building or playing around with lights and props. Other people name the ghost as that of Edmund Kean, another famous actor of yester-year.

Sir Charles Wyndham

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Albery Theatre, St Martin's Lane
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twentieth century
Further Comments: Sir Charles built the Albery, and his grey haired shade now walks between its walls, normally lurking near the dressing rooms.

Displaced Actress

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Aldwych Underground Station (no longer operational)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Built where the Royal Strand Theatre once stood, it is thought the female ghost seen standing on the tracks migrated from the original building to the station shortly after it became operational. She is normally reported by cleaning staff working the night shift.

Trench Trooper

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Coliseum, St Martin's Lane
Type: Post-Mortem Manifestation
Date / Time: 03 October 1918
Further Comments: A small group of friends out for an evening's entertainment observed a man they knew walking down an aisle of the theatre, but he quickly disappeared. They later discovered that he had been killed in trench warfare around the time they saw him. He has been seen in the same area periodically since.

Man in Grey

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Drury Lane Theatre Royal
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Prior to a long running show
Further Comments: Seeing this ghost, dressed in a long grey coat with a Tricorn hat, is considered a good omen; if it appears either in the morning or afternoon during rehearsals, the performance will go on to be a great success. King Charles II is also supposed to haunt the building (he was a great theatre lover), as does the shade of Joe Grimaldi who helps anyone struggling with their lines. Finally, the backstage corridors are home to the wraith of Charles Macklin, a murderer who was never found guilty, and now walks the scene of his crime.

Violet Melnotte

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Duke of York's Theatre, St Martin's Lane
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1935 onwards,
Further Comments: The builder of the theatre, Violet was known to watch the performances from her own personal box. After her death in 1935, a presence could be heard from within her seating area, and her phantom spotted in the green room in 1967.

Grey Woman

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Fortune Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1990s onwards
Further Comments: Home to the stage play The Woman in Black, the theatre is ironically also haunted by a grey lady who was spotted in a lower box. Two shadowy figures have also been observed standing to the right of the stage.

Arthur Bourchier

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Garrick Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Known for his dislike of critics, Bourchier now haunts the rear of the theatre, often appearing just after a performance, or making his presence known by tapping people on their backs.

Severed Head in Lap

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Lyceum Theatre
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: 1880s
Further Comments: A married couple in a box looked down into the stalls and could see, much to their horror, a woman with a severed head resting in her lap. They later recognised the head in a painting of a family which once lived on the site of the theatre. The ghosts of Ellen Terry and William Terriss are also said to haunt the theatre.


Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1972
Further Comments: This figure, seen walking along the aisles of the theatre, was killed by a bomb dropped by a zeppelin in the First World War.

Manager in Brown Suit

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Metropolitan Music Hall, Edgware Road (no longer standing)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Killed in the trenches during the First World War, the manager came back to his beloved theatre, and watched the first performances of new shows to ensure they were up to scratch.

Anna Pavlova

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Palace Theatre, Cambridge Circus
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The debate to whether the ghostly ballerina to be found here is really Pavlova is still in motion. The building's other entity, Ivor Novello, died in 1951 but still watches performances from the back of the dress circle. Two seats are left unfilled during performances for the ghosts, although during the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child run, the seats were sold as normal.

Fading Lady

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Peacock Theatre (was Royalty Theatre), Dean Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Lady circa 1934, Dolphin from 1980s onwards?
Further Comments: A woman clothed in an outfit dating from the Queen Anne period is reported to descend the staircase here, slowly fading before she reaches the bottom. A short scream is said to signify her complete disappearance. The female ghost has not recently manifested and appears to have been replaced by the sound of a phantom dolphin which, during life, was kept in a small tank under the stage in the 1930s.

Unknown Woman

Location: WC2 (Greater London) - Vaudeville Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000s
Further Comments: Box office staff regularly smell a heavy herb-like perfume around them and backstage staff report noises and presences. A workman reported briefly seeing the feet of a woman and the bottom of a cloak pass him by (the rest of the person was obscured) after the building was closed for the night.


Location: Westcliff on Sea (Essex) - Palace Theatre, currently an arts centre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1970s
Further Comments: George has been reported sitting next to patrons during performances - they claim to have felt someone take up position next to them, though the entity remains invisible while seated. George is said to be the theatre manager who hanged himself from the fly floor due to financial difficulties just after the building opened in 1912. A white woman has been seen in the building, but it is generally agreed that these are two different forces, rather than the same ghost.

Lighting Operator

Location: Winchester (Hampshire) - Theatre Royal (was the Market Hotel)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1910s
Further Comments: An apparition was seen dressed in combat clothing. A witness identified the ghostly soldier as a former lighting operator who worked at the theatre before going off to die on a First World War battlefield. The builder of the theatre, John Simpkins, is also said to haunt the building.

Percy Purdey

Location: Wolverhampton (West Midlands) - Grand Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Mid-to-late-twentieth century?
Further Comments: A former theatre manager and creature of habit; for years after his death Purdey could be heard mixing himself a drink in the bar after the start of every performance.

Records 126 - 150 of 153

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