WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Johnny Cash, Styx, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra and even Jerry Seinfeld are just a few who have walked the stage of the Capitol Theatre in Wheeling. But there’s a performance, years in the making, that some are calling so captivating it’s supernatural.
The Capitol’s curtains opened in 1928. While no one’s aware of any deaths that occurred in the construction or productions since then, when the doors are locked, the floorboards seem to be greeted by old friends.
I came in probably about 4 in the morning. We were doing some Broadway to get the lights up. And I looked up in the spotlight booth and saw a shadow go across and there was nobody else here.Josh Blakemore, Assistant Production Manager, Capitol
Capitol visionaries pictured a grand entertainment complex. The now radio station was once a billiard hall. And right below the main seating area? A long-forgotten bowling alley.
The current production manager sometimes stays the nights, waking up to ‘banging sounds’ that he doesn’t think are garbage trucks. He thinks it’s the once visionaries letting him know they’re watching. But that ‘watching’ gets even more strange.
The picture of the architect is in a case beside my office. And we’ll go by it, and we’ll flip the picture forward. And, a couple hours later the picture is always turned looking out the window towards Main Street. And I’ve never been able to explain why it does that, but it does it all the time. It’s probably turned right now.Justin Malarkey, Production Manager at WesBanco Capitol Theatre
And low and behold, when 7NEWS ventured to that picture? Charles Bates was not facing the way he was left.
“It’s not like someone is walking by to turn it to mess with me, because I am the only one who has keys for it,” added Malarkey.
In its 93-year history workers say ghosts come to watch the show.
I’ve always heard shuffling in the ballroom or shuffling on the stage. And the more I think about it, it’s never been anything spooky. It’s energy. And it’s a good energy. You know, because this is a theatre. You want people to come here and have a good time. And I think a lot of that still echoes.Josh Blakemore, Assistant Production Manager, Capitol
Blakemore has seen near 50 orbs, heard sounds, but undeterred in his 23 years here, the show goes on. No thanks to his ‘friends.’
“We call them gremlins because a lot of times we’ll go to use a cable and the very next day that cable doesn’t work,” said Blakemore. “We go to use a microphone, the very next day it doesn’t work.”
But with the Capitol nearing 100 years of operation, maybe these hauntings are just once-production-staff letting the newbies know how it’s done.
So we asked the crew if they think the ghosts are putting on a little theatrical performance of their own?
“They could,” joked Blakemore. “I’ve seen lights flicker on and off.”
If these walls could talk, or maybe they already are in their own way, I think they’re saying ‘encore.’