Pittsburgh Playhouse (Pennsylvania)

From: Robert Janosko (bjan+@pitt.edu)
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 97 21:38:43 -700
To: obiwan@ghosts.org
Subject: Pittsburgh Playhouse Ghosts.

The Ghosts of the Pittsburgh Playhouse

The Pittsburgh Playhouse is over 100 years old. It has 4 theaters: The Hamlet St. Theater, The Rockwell Theater, The Theater Upstairs, and the Theater Downstairs. Many actors have been through the Playhouse, and according to the Playhouse’s staff, and students, some actors haven’t left. Yes, There is a troupe of paranormal performers that stay in the building after the lights go out. This band includes, but is not limited to, John Johns, The Lady in White, Weeping Eleanor, Gorgeous George, and The Bouncing Red Meanie (Bouncing Loony).

First of all you should know the Pittsburgh Playhouse has been many things over the years. The Rockwell Theater was a church. A restaurant was once in the basement, it is now used for storage. A bar is in the lobby, but doesn’t serve drinks anymore. Behind the bar is a door that leads to a series of catacombs. The dressing rooms were once row houses. And the Theater Upstairs is believed to have once been a brothel.

The first story I will tell involves a prominent Pittsburgh actor, by the name of John Johns. He was an actor at the Playhouse between 1950 and 1960. One night he was at a banquet in the restaurant. During the banquet, he collapsed on the floor, suffering a heart attack. While waiting for an ambulance, a group of men carried him to dressing room number seven. Just as they were entering the threshold, John Johns died. Now, people have heard footsteps climbing the stairs to number seven, never entering, never going back down the stairs.

Some students were backstage in the Hamlet Street Theater, and saw a man in an old fashioned tuxedo checking the sets and props. When the students gave their director a description of the man, it fitted John Johns’. One evening after a performance, the wife of a manager saw a man sitting by himself in the theater. She tried to talk to him, but he didn’t respond. Later, she identified him as John Johns, when she saw a picture of him in the archives.

This story also involves a Hamlet Street Theater performer. Here is her tragic tail. Many years ago, a actress was married in the church, and had her reception in the bar in the lobby. During the reception she found out her husband was having an affair with one of the girls from the brothel. The wife was not to happy about this, so she shot her husband, went upstairs to shoot his lover then climbed the stairs to the balcony of the Hamlet St. Theater, and plunged to her death. The wife, who has been named The Lady in White, has been seen walking across the balcony, with her gun still in hand.

Years later a technical director was in the Theater Upstairs fixing the lighting on the stage. While he worked he turned his head and saw a woman dressed in white with her back towards him. As he looked at her, she turned around and aimed a gun at him. He ran out of there and quit his job.

One day a student went into an empty Hamlet Street Theater to take a break from rehearsal. He sat down then looked at the stage. He saw a man dressed in black, dancing with a woman dressed in white. After a few seconds the image vanished. Some now say John Johns has found a friend in the afterlife.

This is an even more tragic tail. This is Weeping Eleanor’s story. Years ago, when the dressing rooms were row houses, a fire spread through the houses. Everyone survived except for Eleanor and her daughter. It is said that when it is late at night, someone can be heard crying in one of the dressing rooms, when the door is opened, no one is inside.

Now up, Gorgeous George. First of all, George isn’t gorgeous at all. He is a green man with a decaying face. He taps on the window of the costume shop, scarring everyone inside.

I have saved the bast story for last. The Bouncing Red Meanie (Bouncing Loony). On Halloween Night 1974, five students stayed in the building late. There job was to lock up the building, and turn off all the lights, which they did. Then they went onto the stage of the Rockwell and held a seance. They sat so that four of them faced backstage, and one faced the seats. After ten minutes, the four facing backstage saw a man appear. He was dressed all in red, had a worried expression on his face, and was pacing. He went back and fourth, picking up speed as he went, until he lifted off the ground, and bounced off the walls and ceiling. Then every phone in the building rang. The one person facing the seats had a look of terror on her face. The other four turned around slowly, and saw that every seat in the theater was filled with people in turn-of-the-century clothes. The five student ran out of the Playhouse, and individualy gave matching descriptions of the events.

I hope you have enjoyed these stories of the Pittsburgh Playhouse on Craft Avenue. I, myself am a student at the Playhouse. Over my five years of classes I have picked up these stories, and even experienced some of the ghosts myself. If you are ever in Pittsburgh and want to try and experience the supernatural, visit the Playhouse, they’ll be waiting for you. . .

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