Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Haunted Theatre in Sunderland

The Empire Theatre in Sunderland is famously haunted – its ghosts featuring with some regularity in the local press. The older of the phantoms goes by the name of “Molly”. She was the stage manager before the Second World War. One night after the show she was walking home with a friend when she said she had to pop back to the theatre to pick up something she forgot. She was never seen again, but her ghost has been seen many times.

In 2002 Molly appeared again. There was a musical show at the Empire and during the final rehearsal, one young male singer happened to look up at the top circle. He saw a woman dressed in white watching the rehearsals. He did not think much of it at first, assuming it was a member of staff. Then the figure just vanished right in front of his eyes. Seconds later one of the canvas bits of scenery blew in a draft and touched him on the back. He fled the building and refused to go back at all. The company had to do the show without him.

The theatre staff treat Molly as quite a friend. “We see her from time to time, mostly in the Circle or Top Circle, but elsewhere in the theatre as well,” said one. “She’s a lady in a white dress walking around. Checking things out, I suppose. Making sure everything is just how she likes it. Must be, I think. She never gives any trouble and is a very friendly ghost.

“Of course, you get funny noises and such in theatres anyway. You know, seats stay down when a person stands up and then gradually works its way loose until it snaps shut with a bang a couple of hours later. And there are all sorts of drafts in an old place like this. They can blow doors open and shut, move scenery and such. That might account for some of the stories. But I won’t hang around after dark, not on my own. You never know.

“I won’t go up to the Top Circle on my own,” he continued. “It can be right spooky up there you know. When you are by yourself. I wouldn’t like our night watchman’s job. Not my idea of fun at all.”

from "Haunted Sunderland" by Rupert Matthews

Buy your copy at Amazon or a bookshop

Book Description

5 Sep 2008 Haunted
This is a fascinating collection of over 100 stories of ghostly encounters from Sunderland and its surrounding settlements, including Cleadon, Boldon, Hylton and Rythorpe. It features many local landmarks, including the Sunderland Empire, Hylton Castle and Souter Lighthouse, and features stories ranging from the poltergeist of Havelok Road, who caused chaos in the 1950s, to the account of Wicked Lady Peat, who was so evil that when her house caught fire, not one person went to her aid. Exploring everything from pubs and churchyards to collieries, Haunted Sunderland will appeal to anyone interested in the supernatural history of the area.
 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunted-Sunderland-Rupert-Matthews/dp/0752446630/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383046384&sr=8-1&keywords=sunderland+rupert+matthews

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