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Woodstock Opera House –


Haunted Place: Woodstock Opera House


121 Van Buren Street
Woodstock, Illinois 60098

(815) 338-5300 * Web-Site: Woodstock Opera House


The Woodstock Opera House was built almost a 100 years ago, in the old, northern Illinois community of Woodstock. It is a local landmark, found right in the middle of Woodstock's old town square, among Victorian homes and buildings.


This old opera house can't be missed, as it is a four story theater, with a story and a half belfry on top of that. A winding staircase inside the theater leads up to the belfry. The Woodstock Opera House has been used from its beginning as a classy place for theatrical shows, much enjoyed by the local community. In various productions, the people of Woodstock have enjoyed the performances of such stars as Geraldine Page, Paul Newman, Betsy Palmer, Shelly Berman, and Tom Bosley, to name a few.



The opera house has an in-house actress, patron and sometimes critic from the spiritual world. The story is told that in the early 1900s, a distraught, young actress, in a fit of emotion, ran up the inside winding staircase, and threw herself from the belfry portal, falling 5 and a half stories to her death, after she didn't get the role in a production, that she most desperately wanted.

1) She has been seen by the living. Known as Elvira, people have described her as being a beautiful entity, "whose blond hair hung below her slim waist," and who was wearing a "filmy, dancing gown."

2) When young actresses are in the theater to try out for a part in a production, the staircase is watched diligently, because sometimes, on occasion, a young actress has the irresistible urge to travel up the staircase to the open portals, probably under the influence of Elvira. So far, all such actresses, in this hypnotic state, have been pulled away from danger.

3) Elvira likes to move props, and untie scenery flats so they fall over, to let the living know that she is there, and needs some laughs as well.

4) Seat DD113 is Elvira's favorite seat in the audience seating area. All the seats are spring-loaded; meaning that they stay in the upright, folded position, unless someone is sitting in them. Actors, actresses and stage hands have often seen seat 113 in the down position, as if some unseen presence was sitting in it, watching the rehearsal. After examining the seat 113, it is always found to be working properly, staying in the upright position.

5) Whenever a performer misses a cue, or bungles a line, a low, deep sigh is often heard, coming from seat 113. Elvira expects high standards to be maintained by the cast of any production.

6) In the 1940s, while Shelly Berman was working on some scenery for an upcoming production, late one evening, he heard a noise from the audience seating, which made him look in that direction. He saw that not only was seat 113 in the down position, but several seats in the same row as 113 as well. Perhaps Elvira, and a few other ghostly patrons of the arts were watching his efforts on stage. Berman ran quickly over to the seats, but by the time he got to them, all were up in the correct, upright position.


Still Haunted?

Yes, despite the denials of the current management, others say that Elvira and a few other ghostly patrons still play tricks on the living and enjoy the activities happening at the theater.





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