This Theater House is located in the
Capitol Hill section, which can be found in the downtown area of Seattle.
Harvard Exit Theater
East Roy Street,
Seattle, Washington 98122.
In the 1920s, Harvard Exit House
became the home of the Women's Century Club for many years, whose focused
members were dedicated to getting the right to vote and equality for women.
From the early days of the Women's Century Club, some women members lived
in the building, on the second floor and in the apartment on the third
floor, through the 1970s. The Women's Century Club still meets in the
building twice a week, though it is now known as a Theater House.
Harvard Exit Theater opened as a cinema
in 1968, and was run by people described as "eccentric film buffs."
Or perhaps a more blunt point of view would see them as a "wild bunch
of hippie types," an opinion held by Allan Blangy, who was the Theater
Manager at one point, but now is the district manager of the Landmark
Theater chain. The Landmark Theater chain took over the operations in
1979, and put in another cinema on the third floor, during the early 1980s.
Today, the Harvard Exit Theater specializes in art films; both foreign
and American classic movies, and is the sight of film festivals, such
as the Seattle International Film Festival.
Harvard Exit Theater is described
as an unusual, luxurious home, more than it is a theater. This three story
brick building was erected in the 1900s, on the site of another house
that had once existed on this same spot.
The first floor main lobby is described
as being grand and glorious, full of the 1920 ambiance, featuring a grand
piano and a beautiful chandelier. Comfortable chairs, some with tables
and lamps, are grouped around the huge fireplace, which is always traditionally
lit for the patrons to watch and enjoy while waiting entrance to the theater
on the first floor. The first floor theater is the main theater and has
The second floor is used for administrative
purposes, with offices and work areas provided for employees of the theater.
A main hall on the second floor runs through the area, with various rooms
off this hall.
The third floor holds the new theater,
that was put in during the 1980s, when a second auditorium was added
in an unused ballroom space on this third floor of the building. The lobby
of this theater also has a fireplace, which is also lit for patrons to
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
Hauntings of this building seem to
go back to its very beginning when it was first built. There are several
facts about and incidents which happened in the Harvard Exit that can
give explanations for the paranormal activities. Nearly every decade through
the '80s contributed something to the paranormal activity experienced
by the living.
The spirits who still enjoy the ambiance
and atmosphere of the Harvard Exit Theater have been the topic of many
newspapers and TV shows, not to mention many psychics and paranormal psychologists
who have investigated the building through their equipment, medium contacts
and personal experiences. At least three or four female spirits, one or
two male spirits and a "Thought Form" have been identified by
witnesses and researchers.
Main Theater - First Floor
A) Around the turn-of-the-century,
a murder of a man, killed in a brawl, took place in the house that was
torn down to make room for this Harvard Exit building.
1) A male manifestation, described as
being portly, slightly see-through and wearing an old-fashioned suit
has made his appearance known. Calls himself Peter, and described as
"a very lighthearted fellow, kind of goofy."
a) Psychic investigators, Jane
Riese and J.R. Benight, producers of TV Talk Show, "Seattle in
Vogue," were watching a film in the main theater auditorium.
Jane felt an invisible presence playfully toying with her hair over
her neck. Out of the corner of her eye, she spied a flicker of light
down front of the auditorium just right of the screen, by the exit
door. She then saw a translucent form of a portly gentleman in profile,
with a distinguished demeanor, watching the film on screen, enjoying
2) The same psychic investigators,
Jane Riese and J.R. Benight through a channeling medium talked to another
male spirit with a British-like accent, but no name was gotten. This
suggests that perhaps Peter has a fellow male spirit to do some ghostly
male bonding within the main theater, perhaps helping themselves to
free showings when the place is empty of the living and doing their
part of be "helpful."
a) On other occasions, one or
both of these ghostly film enthusiasts have been known to reorganize
the film canisters around this projection room, much to the annoyance
of the living.
b) On several occasions during
the years, Theater Managers have opened the building and found the
movie projector showing a film to an unseen audience. In one instance,
a projectionist arrived to start his shift and found that a movie
had already been playing to an empty, dark house. He made haste to
the projection room to catch the guilty party, but found that the
door was locked from the inside!!!
I think that not only this spirit
Peter and this unknown male spirit enjoy films, but also other unseen
guests, perhaps the female apparition spotted in the balcony (mentioned
below) also appreciate the cinematic arts.
B) In the 1940s, a woman was suffocated
somewhere in the building. She could be the entity in the balcony mentioned
in #3, and perhaps the same entity getting her kicks scaring the administration
personnel on the second floor.(See below - Second Floor Experiences)
3) In the balcony of the first floor
theater, a female entity has been felt and seen there.
a) A janitor who was vacuuming the
rugs suddenly got the sense that she wasn't alone in the auditorium.
After turning off the vacuum cleaner, she glanced up to the balcony
and saw a figure wearing an old fashioned dress (perhaps Victorian),
standing there, though she couldn't make out the face or hands. Another
young woman at a different time saw this same apparition, in a more
complete form also standing in the balcony.
C) For many years, The Harvard Exit
building was the headquarters of the beloved The Women's Century Club,
which many women called a home away from home..
Entities found in the First Floor
Lobby - Two different female entities and their friends have been seen
here, in person and in photos taken of a supposedly empty room. Theater
Manager, Janet Wainwright, who was the Theater Manager for 10 years, in
charge of opening up the theater, met these spirits and felt they were
positive and helpful.
4) On one of her first days on the job,
Janet Wainwright walked into the lobby and was startled to see a woman,
sitting in a chair near the fireplace, reading a book. The woman was
described as having her hair in a bun on top of her head, wearing a
long, floral dress and was just slightly see-through. Much to her fascination
and horror, the woman slowly melted into thin air. At other meetings
in the lobby, this ghostly female entity would look up at Janet or any
human being standing there, smile pleasantly, turn off the lamp and
walk out of the room.
a) It is traditional to have a fire
burning in the first floor fireplace for the enjoyment of the film patrons
waiting to go into the auditorium for the evening's film presentation.
This responsibility was the duty of the evening Theater Manager. This
was the first job Janet W. did upon arriving. Every once and awhile,
the fire was already burning brightly before Janet had arrived; a spirit
had helped with the chores!! On these occasions, the chairs had been
moved around the fire as if people had been chatting, enjoying the company.
The chairs had always been moved back to their places before closing
the Theater doors the night before.
5) Sometimes, Janet didn't have
to enter the darkened lobby to light the fire, because she would see
a tall female entity leave the lobby, switching on the lights as she
left the room, on both the first floor and the third floor.
a) It is thought that this tall
entity could be the spirit of Bertha K. Landis, a strong president of
the Women's Century Club and the City Federation of Women's Clubs, who
also was Seattle's first mayor. She seems to like to help out the Theater
Managers, and keep an eye on the place, while hanging out in a place
Psychic Research - Through a channeling
medium, Jane Riese and J.R. Benight were able to talk to a stern, older
woman,(describes Bertha Landis) who wanted to know in no uncertain terms
what the Janet and J.R. were up to in her place. After acknowledging
that she and the other ghosts knew that they were dead, she had a hissy
fit when it was suggested that she needed to move on because she no
longer belonged there. "We like it here, this is our home. You
wouldn't want to leave your home in the middle of the night and neither
second Floor Experiences:
6) As mentioned above in the First Floor
Theater section, a woman was murdered in the Harvard Exit during the
1940s. Medium Sylvia Brown describes this apparition as being a short
woman, an actress dressed in a Victorian period long dress, who was
suffocated, meeting a violent end, which often creates a restless, unhappy
a) Although the hauntings mainly
occur on the first and third floor, a female apparition, a sad, forlorn
soul, has appeared several times to various people working in the administrative
offices, scaring the socks off the living. When she isn't getting her
kicks upsetting the living on the second floor, an apparition of her description
has been seen in the balcony of the first floor. (See above - First
Floor Theater Hauntings)
b) On one occasion, a man working
in second floor administration office suddenly heard a woman crying
as if her heart was breaking. Going out in the hall, he saw a female
in emotional distress. Thinking she was a real human being, he approaches
her to offer comfort, but she vanishes into the air!
c) Several other women working in
these offices throughout the years have also seen this full formed female
apparition floating down the hall way, inspiring them to flee as fast
as possible down to the main floor.
The Third Floor Hauntings:
The Spirit of Bertha Landis enjoys
appearing briefly to the living in the third floor lobby as well as
the first floor lobby it seems. She is the most common apparition spotted
by the living, and doesn't plan to leave anytime soon, as discussed
under the First Floor Lobby Section, found above.
7) The third floor is the favorite
place where what they call a "Thought Form" is strongly felt
and makes its home, with the purpose of watching out over the building.
It is described by Jane Riese and J.R. Benight as a entity formed by
mass energy, often from negative sources, which has no personality,
just a collective will, that is often arrogant, dictatorial in nature.
D) Jane Riese and J.R. Benight contacted
this Thought Form through a medium and came to the following conclusion.
This Thought Form was molded over many years from several sources.
1) A group of strong, intense, passionate
suffragettes called the Harvard Exit building their home base for many
2) In the late '60s/early 1970s,
drug parties took place in the Harvard Exit building.
3) Two other activities really stirred
up this entity; Seances & Spirit Communication Classes and the Renovation
of the Third Floor.
a) On the third floor during the
'70s decade, a woman would hold classes in contacting the spirits,
and would lead seances.
b) When the theater changed hands,
being bought by Landmark in 1979, a new auditorium was added to the
third floor. Building renovation projects often stir up the unseen
entities and forces to new levels of awareness to the living.
Experiences With this Thought Form
a) Alan Blangy, a man not easily
scared and a bit of a skeptic concerning ghosts, became the Theater
Manager after Janet Wainwright's tenure, had an uneasy sense that something
in the building was hostile to him. This something made itself known
one evening when Blangy and his assistant manager were in the process
of locking up the theater for the night. Suddenly he heard a loud bang,
so he quickly went back inside. He heard people talking in the third
floor lobby, so he went up to investigate. While no one was there, he
did hear the side exit door open and close. He went over to be sure
that the door had closed tightly; it hadn't. Someone or thing on the
other side was pulling against him, stopping him from shutting the door.
He finally did so, but opened the
door again with his assistant by his side, so he had support in confronting
these "strange people." Both men opened the door 5 seconds
later, but found that no one was there. The third floor metal fire escape
would've made a lot of noise if anyone had gone down it. After this
experience, Blangy no longer felt this hostility, but instead felt welcomed
- He had passed the test!
One could conclude that while this
Thought Form may be bossy and dictatorial in nature, it can change its
opinion, which sounds like the main energy of this Thought Form may
be controlled by the passionate suffragette energy mass, whose main
purpose is to watch over the building.
b) A group of psychics and parapsychologists
spent some time at night hanging out at the theater. Some put a magnet
by the exit door mentioned above in the third floor auditorium. They
witnessed over a period of weeks a large ball of energy which would
appear and move across the auditorium and out the exit door, causing
the magnet to revolve wildly.
the building with the living is agreeable to all the unseen spirits and
forces residing there, and the living simply accept the manifestations
as part of the Harvard Exit Theater.
Sources include: A Ghost Hunter's Guide, Arthur Myers,
Contemporary Books, 1993.
The National Directory of Haunted
Places, Dennis William Hauck, Penguin Books, 1996.
GHOST STORIES OF WASHINGTON, Barbara
Smith, Lone Pine Publishing, 2000.