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Haunted Place — Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse

ADDRESS

222 Craft Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  15213

LOCATION

The Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse can be found East of downtown Pittsburgh, just North of hwy 22/376.

DESCRIPTION

The Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse is an interesting, large brick structure, that has a variety of architecture, Greek to modern, representing the various renovations done to the building throughout the years. It is made up of three theatres: The Rauh Theatre, The Rockwell Theater and The Studio Theatre in one of the building's basements.

HISTORY

The original playhouse was built around 1908, to serve as a live theatre /musical venue for the people of Pittsburgh. Over the years, the building was added onto and renovated, to keep up with the needs of the community, and to keep revenue flowing in, much to the credit of the creative people who owned and ran the playhouse. They bought nearby property that originally had row houses on it, as they expanded the building, making it an attractive place. The row houses had burned down, and the land had been put on the real estate market.

The Pittsburgh Playhouse managed to finagle ways to keep its doors open for the arts, throughout the years.

Besides being a theatre, with a restaurant in the basement at one point in time, parts of this building were rented out to a variety of tenants. Early on, a bar with a brothel helped pay the mortgage. As Pittsburgh became more civilized, more upstanding citizens found a home here. The Tree of Life Synagogue held services and events in The Rockwell Theater, and a wedding reception hall opened here to host the happy occasion.

Around 2004, The Point Park University bought the Pittsburgh Playhouse, making it the cornerstone of its performing arts program, offering its students a hands-on working experience; not only as actors and performers, but also in areas connected to the performing arts, behind the scenes. The Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse is home to The REP, the professional theatre company, and three student companies -- Conservatory Theatre Company, Conservatory Dance Company and Playhouse Jr. Throughout the year, there are plenty of productions; eighteen major productions and 235 performances, between the 4 companies.

The Pittsburgh Playhouse was renovated and brought up to date with new seats, new equipment and new lighting and sound, making it a state of the art group of theatres.

There are three main stages: The Rockwell Theatre, The Rauh Theatre and The Studio Theatre, located in the basement area. A very nice receptionist gave me a tour of the stages and other areas of the playhouse. It really is quite an impressive space for students to learn their crafts in the performing arts. One can also feel that the building has an aura of a place inhabited by entities. Nothing evil, just perhaps all theatre enthusiasts, who find the performances a wonderful diversion from what is keeping them in this world.

However, the future of this building will be up in the air again, as it will be going back onto the real estate market in 2017, when the university finishes building it own performing arts center on its campus. Hopefully, it will be bought by people who want to preserve the building, and use at least part of it for the theatrical arts.

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

Unfaithfulness strikes a severe emotional blow with newlyweds, a very dangerous time for the one who can't hold to vows, so soon after the ceremony. In stories about adultery found on HauntedHouses.com, it resulted in murder of the offender, and ruin or suicide of the hurt and devastated, formerly clueless partner of the adulterer.

( Plains Hotel * Broadview Hotel * Laramie Prison )

Lady in White - In the 1930s, The Rauh Theatre was known as The Hamlet Street Theater, and what is The Rockwell Theatre was a house of worship. A young actress, who was performing in a play in the Hamlet Street Theater, got married to her beloved, perhaps a fellow actor, in the house of worship, just down the hall. During the reception, that was held in the restaurant that once was where The Studio Theatre now is set up, she was made aware of her beloved's unfaithfulness. She wound up shooting both her new husband and his mistress, and then killed herself, by jumping from the balcony of The Hamlet Street Theater.

A sudden, unexpected death can cause:

A sadness of regret/disappointment/concern:

( DuPont Mansion * Infirmary for Women * Chapel of the Cross * Lafitte's Guest House )

Unseen entity of Wailing Eleanor - In the row house fire, everyone escaped except a woman named Eleanor and her daughter. She mourns the loss of her daughter, and perhaps her own life.

Some spirits have an angry attitude; not understanding why/or are really annoyed at their own death. Some develop a jealousy of the living, that expresses itself by getting chuckles at the living's expense.

Stranahan House * Bobby Mackey's Music World * Saint James Hotel )

A male entity, called Gorgeous George falls into this category.

Or, a determination not to go just yet until they are ready keeps them in this world:

( Speed Art Museum * Washington Opera House )

Male entity, John Johns- In the 1950s, John Johns was a popular actor with a large and loyal following. John was attending a banquet in the restaurant in the basement. He suddenly had a heart attack, and was carried into his dressing room, #7, where he died, waiting for an ambulance.

Other entities of actors and actresses still relive their joyous moments on stage of the Rauh Theatre,

Spirits summoned into our world through Seances or Ouija boards sometimes stick around and stay in this world.

( Little White Flower House )

Worry and concern can keep a spirit in this world.

( Kenmore Plantation )

The male entity of the Bouncing Red Meanie - A group of students on Halloween, 1974, held a seance on the stage of The Rockwell Theatre. Uh oh! They saw at the back of the theatre, a man dressed in red, pacing back and forth with a worried look on his face. He was later identified as a popular clown, called by his stage name, The Bouncing Red Meanie, who performed in this theatre many years ago.

MANIFESTATIONS:

Known entities who call the Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse their home are listed below. Many others are not identified as yet.

Lady in White:

Her apparition has been seen in what was once an upper room theatre, but is now a storage area.

Dressed in a white gown, people have seen her gliding across the balcony of the Rauh Theatre, with the gun still in her hand.

She comes onto The Rauh stage occasionally, when provoked or enticed.

A male on the staff was working on a light for a production on The Rauh Theatre stage. Something about him must have reminded the lady in white of her unfaithful husband. The worker watched in amazement when she appeared on stage and approached him, with probably an angry glint in her eye. She pulled a gun from her dress, pointed it at him, and pulled the trigger, and vanished. He took the hint, and quit his position at the playhouse.

Male Entity of John Johns

People hear him walking up the steps to his old dressing room. A security guard has heard footsteps when he knows that he is alone in the playhouse.

Students and staff have seen him dressed in a tux, inspecting the sets and props of the stage productions, seen in The Rauh Theatre, The Rockwell Theatre, perhaps trying to be useful and involved, excited about the upcoming productions.

His apparition is seen all over the playhouse as he still loves this place, where he performed his craft, much to the enjoyment of his audience.

Male and female entities

Have been seen dancing on the stage of The Rauh Theatre.

Weeping Eleanor

In the dressing rooms, where her row house once stood, the living hear her mournful cries.

Gorgeous George

Appears to the living with a green face that is decomposing. He has a wonderful time, getting his chuckles by:

Peeking and tapping on the window of the costume shop,

Or poking people on the shoulder, and scaring them when they turn around.

He also likes to scare people around the prop room and in the back of the theatre.

The Bouncing Red Meanie

Today people see this entity of a clown floating around mid-air, and bouncing off the walls and ceiling of The Rockwell Theatre, still worrying about an event or circumstance that still worries him.

PARANORMAL FINDINGS

Not much hard evidence is published on-line, though plenty of personal experiences have been reported.

The Pittsburgh Paranormal Society (PPS) has done investigations here, and stated in an October 28, 2010 article,"The paranormal activity here is intense," PPS founder Shawn Kelly said. "I felt a little overwhelmed, at times, with the energy that surrounded me."

They did hear a disembodied voice in The Lillian Russell Room, and caught a really bright orb on film, when the investigators trained their cameras and snapped away in the area they heard the voice.

STILL HAUNTED?

A BIG PROBABLY SO is in order. The volume of personal experiences with the spirits reported over the years and recently as well, strongly suggest that spirits are there, enjoying/expressing themselves in this world. The initial investigation by Pittsburgh Paranormal Society is very promising, and I'm sure the spirits will be forthcoming in investigations in the future.

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SOURCES

Ghost Hunting Pennsylvania
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Clerisy Press, 2009

The Big Book of Pennsylvania Ghost Stories
by Mark Nesbitt and Patty A. Wilson
Stackpole Books, 2008

pittsburgh.cbslocal.com
pittsburgh.about.com
pointpark.edu

pointparkglobe.com


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