Egyptian Theater Investigation 2018

The Egyptian Theater has roots back to the age of the pharaohs. This historic structure owes this connection to the discovery of the tomb of King Tut in 1922. That set off a nationwide interest in everything Egyptian. The Egyptian influence reached DeKalb County in 1928, when the DeKalb Theater Company was trying to settle on a design for a combination motion picture and vaudeville theater. Needing a larger facility than its theater at the corner of First Street and Lincoln Highway, the firm talked with Chicago theater architect Elmer F. Behrens.

Contracts for the new theater were awarded in 1928, but construction, other than a foundation excavation, did not start until the spring of 1929. Dale Leifheit was president of the DeKalb Theater Company and served as the building’s first manager when it opened on December 10, 1929. The stock market crash in October 1929, changed some building plans, but failed to dampen the opening celebration. For example, the first several rows of the balcony were fitted with seats brought form the firm’s previous theater. The unique broken-tile main lobby floor was a compromise with a dollar shortage; it was originally supposed to be marble.

The first film on the Egyptian’s giant screen was “The Hottentot,” a film about horse racing; general admission was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children. The live vaudeville acts generally were reserved for weekends between movie showings. Ownership of the Egyptian changed hands over the years, but for a majority of it commercial life, the building was owned and operated by the Thomas Valos family which ran a chain of Midwest motion-picture houses.

The theater closed its doors in November of 1977 under its last commercial owner. With the future of the Egyptian Theater in question, community members gathered together to form the group P.E.T. Preservation of Egyptian Theater, Inc. was formed in May of 1978. P.E.T. had acquired the building and began holding events again

When P.E.T. took control of the theater in 1978 the building was in a dismal shape. Extensive damage was visible throughout the building, including water damage from holes in the ceiling and crumbling plaster. Thanks to a grant from the State of Illinois a $2.125 million renovation was started in 1982 and finished by the fall of 1983.

When the theater opened again in 1983 it was host to dozens of events a year. The diversity of events was impressive with multiple community groups and national groups calling The Egyptian Theater home. The Egyptian season was filled with live events, weddings, receptions, community meetings, and movies. The theater is home to DeKalb counties largest movie screen, 35 feet wide, and features independent, foreign, art and classic films.

(Reprinted from a handout flyer. Donations can be made to the Friends of the Egyptian Theater at: PO Box 385, DeKalb, IL. 60115)

Located at 135 N. Second St., DeKalb, IL. 60115, 815-758-1215


Hauntings: The theater is said to be haunted by at least two ghosts. One is said to be that of Irv Kummerfeldt who was a co-founder of P.E.T. He had a heart attack and died at the top of Aisle One of the theater’s auditorium. Reports have circulated of seeing his apparition in that area ever since. The other ghost has been dubbed “Bob” by theater workers as has been encountered all over. Objects move on their own, doors open and close and some people have felt a spectral tap on the shoulder when no one else is around. Phantom footsteps have also been reported mysteriously echoing throughout the auditorium.

Balcony: when Alex Nerad started here in 2006, he heard reports of a strange lady seen here in a green dress. Others on stage often spied a woman walking around the balcony when nobody else was around. The most activity today is thought to be the upper portion of the balcony’s west side where a number of EVPs have been picked up, female voices heard and even impressions from psychics visiting this spot that have envisioned a female walking around from the 1930s or 1940s smoking a long cigarette. Shadow figures have been captured in this area as well.

 Vestibule area: There have been consistent reports of a little girl heard laughing, singing and playing around; however this apparition has only been encountered during the summer months. One possible explanation for this seasonal appearance would be that originally there was a residential home once directly on this spot where the little girl has been encountered. The family, according to reports, only lived here during the summer months and then moved elsewhere for the remainder of the year. Perhaps she is just playing in her back yard.

The girl is thought to be between the ages of 10-12 according to psychics and is often seen clairvoyantly riding a tricycle.  

Main auditorium: In November of 1988, Irv Kummerfeldt had a heart attack in the top of aisle one during a NIU Production of West Side Story. He is sometimes seen walking up and down aisle one. In September of 2017 a paranormal group caught a shadow figure on video walking from right to left by the curtained exit sign.

Shadow figures are also reported at the top of aisle 3 near the tech booth. This figure is sometimes seen moving through the mezzanine from door 3 to door 2. Doors close by themselves and a shadow figure is seen peaking in the doorway. People hear whispers in their ears and feeling weird sensations. Cold spots also frequent this area.

Stage area: apparitions of a man and a woman have been encountered here. Alex, while alone in the theater, saw a man standing by the well on the right side of the stage dressed in a jump suit. Alex believed the man to be a janitor or maintenance person. Alex quickly left the area and stood in the pouring rain for a bit. He was very shook up.

The woman that is seen here, according to psychics, is a past performer at the theater. Footsteps have been heard tracking from one side of the stage to the other and often actually follows investigators. They quickly turn to see no one behind them. Others have been tapped on their shoulders by unseen entities and the very loud sound of a script, magazine or stack of papers has been heard striking the wooden stage. That sound happened three times while Alex was there conducting tours or business.

Props, extension cords and other items have been moved to another location. Workers will put down an item and return later to find it in a different spot.

During a show someone was eating candy and there were wrappers found on the floor which was disposed of in a nearby trash can. When they returned a short time later, the wrappers were found in the exact same place where they originally were on the floor. They were again picked up and thrown into the trash can however the ones that were picked up earlier and placed in the container were nowhere to be found!

There is a “Ghost Light” on this stage as there is for virtually all movie theaters. The idea of having a ghost light goes way back and was thought to be a deterrent to keep evil or negative spirits from coming in and attempting to ruin a play or movie.

Dressing Rooms:  when Alex first started, he said that he does not remember any type of paranormal activity ever being reported here. It was only after paranormal groups and investigators begin to conduct sessions here that a lot of that started.  Now, numerous EVPs, Ovilus, Hack-Shack Radios and other devices began to pick up evidence. The name Irv has come through many times in the past. There have been battery drains, flashlights quitting and shadow figures seen. People also feel a presence in this area.  



The Ghost Research Society investigated the Egyptian Theater on January 6, 2018. Team members included:  Kathie Para, Marge Sucha, Michael Rosario, Barbara Meagher, Jim Piscopo, Greg Kos, Kylie O'Connell, Michael Wright and Dale Kaczmarek. 










Equipment setup: There were a couple of IR cameras with supplemental IR illuminators placed in the main auditorium; one facing the seats and another facing the exit sign and stage area. A Geophone which measures vibration was deployed on the stage because of past reports of footsteps being heard and recorded here in the past. Other equipment was also set up by other investigators. (See personal encounters.) No Command Center was set up.

Personal experiences:

Jim Piscopo: We arrived at the theater around 8:30pm and got a very good walk through and history about the theater. We began setting up equipment and I set up my Sony camcorder with night-shot in front of the stage covering doors 1, 2 and 3 where there were reports of a shadow person walking between these doors. After the set-up we did some EVPs on the stage and down stairs in the dressing rooms. There did not seem to be much going on this night but will know more when I review my evidence. I did not feel anything weird while in the theater.

Michael Rosario: Another great and exciting investigation into the unknown with the GRS! The Egyptian Theatre (ca. 1928-1929), known in its hay-day, was the talk of the town, and anybody who wanted to have a great night out on the town, came here for some exciting and fun entertainment. However, through the years, the theatre developed another reputation that keeps people wanting to visit even more, and that's its haunted side. Our investigative team dove deep into the history regarding this famous landmark, with its scary, fun, and interesting past in the back of our minds whilst trying to explore every inch of the theatre in its entirety.   

There, upon entering the great façade was a ghostly, deserted atmosphere that hovered thickly in the air that night. The lights were warm and dim as if the old place felt extremely exhausted and tired of displaying its once lively, energetic state. It must've been such a great moment in time to enter this place back in the day. I quietly looked around. I could imagine sudden flashbacks before me of the golden days of live performance, and silent-era hit movie reels that were once playing on stage or on screen here. Popcorns in one hand, candies in another. Soda drinks and chips in his, chocolates and cigarettes in hers. I could imagine the sweet scent of perfume from beautiful women. Fuzzy coats and elegant dresses. Tuxedo, sharp-looking gentlemen roaming about, kissing the hands of their beloveds before they enter the theatre and settling down for a nice evening thriller showcase. Notable actors and actresses of the day would visit from time to time to watch or perform their best on these creaky old black planks.  Or even dancers performing a ghostly minuet in front of hundreds of guests, with the lights blazing in on them as they switched partners during cue scenes in a sultry or cool foggy-type and dusty mist.  

I definitely felt the wonder of yesteryear here for sure. It must've been amazing. Yet, she still retains her glamorous style, grace and beauty for the world to see to this day. Playing just about anything on screen, or having various talented souls make their way up to stage a scene--making a good name for themselves during their career for a future with Hollywood or so... It's all there. Everything's still all there. Like it never left.  

Investigation/Equipment: The investigation promptly took off at approximately 8:30pm on Saturday, January 6, 2018. The very first investigation for the team of the New Year. One of the co-owners kindly walked us through the large facility, noting the hotspots where phenomena have been reported. After the tour, we dispersed out to investigate.  Equipment used for the first part of the investigation consisted of my Sony HandyCam HDR-XR160 AVCHD 42xEZ video camera, attached it to my tri-pod, and started recording audio/video near the rear-most seats, where the entity of the original owner of the theatre (Irv) is said to manifest (he passed away in this very area). There, while filming at the same time, I started taking pictures of the area with my disposable Kodak and Studio 35mm single-use camera, along with my Fugifilm FinePix A-340 with 3X Optical Zoom lens digital camera, and started taking pictures in and around the seating areas. Also with me was my K-II Meter to measure any kind of electromagnetic disturbances by 'mowing the lawn' (like a side-scan ocean sonar) up and down the aisles. Unfortunately, the meter ranged from a dead 0.1mG to about 1.3mG. Hardly any activity was happening in this section, which I stayed at for about a good twenty minutes or so. It was time to move on to another location of the building.  

Next stop was the stage.  Here, the entities of former male and female performers that show frequently on and around the stage area.  I decided to join fellow colleague, Kathie Para, in an EVP session there.  As I was still in need of a new digital voice recorder, I decided to set up my video camcorder on the tripod near stage-left, and began recording video for the session in hopes I would pick up some type of EVP. Our K-II's were also with this session as well. My K-II started spiking at around 1.8 to about 2.0 mG, but nothing higher than that during the Q&A session. Later, GRS investigator, Greg Kos, and I started communicating with what was believed to be a male actor, probably in his 30's or so; mentioning that he used to perform on that very stage! It was a 'yes or no' session with our K-II Meters whilst during this time. At that point, I began snapping photos all around the area of the stage in hopes this entity would reveal himself to us in some form or another.  

Mid-way through the night, GRS President, Dale Kaczmarek, brought out our newest (and very expensive) paranormal device called The Mini-Portal. The Mini-Portal is a device that can help spirits communicate very clearly through a speaker, by eliminating any static or any other frequency noises that might inhibit crystal clear communication whilst spirit voice tones are projected during an EVP session. We ran this device for quite some time, and we did notice quite a bit of activity/voice conversation with the device. However, it did begin to die down towards the end of the session, and Dale decided to wrap things up a bit afterwards.  

The last part of our investigation consisted of being down in the basement, or under the stage floor of the facility, rather. This location is another known hotspot of activity involving the deceased original owner, Irv (or Irving), who passed away somewhere back in an area near the very first seats of the theatre (as mentioned before). There is also a notable story about the basement's women's restroom, where an entity is known to stir up commotion by opening and slamming stall doors shut, frightening occupants. The entire team conducted an EVP session with The Portal device to see if we could try and pick up on something definite.  I also used my Green Laser Grid and shown it right across the room (a dressing room) where another entity is supposed to be prominent during the session as well to see if I could get any type of light refraction or even diffraction when an entity is present. After our EVP session ended, Kathie and I then moved onto the basement's restroom, and conducted an additional EVP session there. I used my digital video camera to record video, or in my case, mostly audio. Kathie had her digital voice recorder with her as well.  

Investigation Wrap-Up: Approximately around 1:30am, Sunday, January 7, 2018.  

Evidence: Upon reviewing all of my evidence, it's sad to note that nothing had appeared on any of my photography, or any discernible audio on my video recorder. Not even one orb! It was very interesting, to say the least, however! Nothing was easily discernible, distinct, or definite in the audio review. I thought I had captured a very, very faint EVP of a female child entity in the women's restroom saying, "Hi." However, it must've been one of my camera straps I was pulling on while I was wrapping up my EVP session, giving an effect of a high-pitched tone that could be easily mistaken for some kind of voice. However, it is interesting to note that a female child entity does reside inside the building. Most prominently near the front entrance of the building; supposedly riding her bicycle to make herself known. However, during this investigation, I really can't say for sure, as it was extremely faint.  

However, during The Portal session on stage, we kept getting what sounded like, "Row 7, Seat 11." I immediately took the liberty to venture out to the back of the theatre with my flashlight, and try to find this seat. Turns out that there were a lot of Seat 11's! There wasn't any row numbers, however. Just only letters. Row G is where I headed, though. I got my video recorder, and started to do a mini EVP session to try and confirm that whoever was mentioning this location to us via The Portal, we could possibly identify if there was an entity there or not, or even confirm a specific location where the known spirit of Irv had passed away at. Again, to no avail upon reviewing my evidence.  

Towards the end of the investigation, in the basement, under the stage, we kept getting the names, "Beth, Bob, and Mike," on The Portal. Nothing extremely conclusive, but that's what we tried to make out during the session.  There could be a male/female entity there, but I think the evidence collected that night, at least mine, would probably be considered tentative, and is open for debate. But very interesting, nonetheless.  

Conclusion: Well, as I always say with every investigation, I truly enjoyed this location very much! It was such an awesome opportunity to investigate another very large structure with so much history behind it. It’s definitely a location that deserves another visit!  

Overall: This being my second big investigation with the GRS group, it was such an honor and privilege to work with them that night. Many thanks to the owners of the Egyptian Theatre as well for letting us come in and investigate such a beautiful place! We hope to come by later on in the future to conduct additional investigations. It's definitely worthwhile the stay.  

Barbara Meagher: The investigation began on Jan 6, 2018 and concluded early in the morning on Jan 7, 2018.

The investigation began with tour of the theatre. Points of increased activity were pointed out including the lobby, balcony, main stage, dressing rooms and ladies room in the dressing room area.

The first EVP session this investigator participated in was in the basement. The basement was rather noisy at the time and after 10 minutes the EVP session was abandoned.  No EVPs could be clearly heard on the tape possibly due to the noise contamination.

The next EVP session was held in the Basement with Kathy Meagher and Michael Wright. This session lasted 10 min 45 sec. Some noises were heard that could not be readily accounted for. Footsteps were heard coming from a stairwell that no one was on but this was not picked up on the recording.

Next an EVP session was held in the lobby of the theatre. Investigators Kat Meagher and Mike Wright were present but no EVPs were picked up in this 4 minute session.

A 15 minute EVP session and dowsing rod session was held in the balcony of the theatre. We received some Dowsing rod activity in response to several questions and a presence was felt by the investigators. Kat Meagher Mike Wright and myself all experienced the feeling of a presence and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

A 23 minute group EVP session was held on the main stage with all investigators present. One investigator felt someone touching her on two occasions and a presence was seen in the corner of the stage by a number of investigators. No EVPs were picked up by this investigator.

A last 17 min EVP session was held in the ladies room and the dressing room area. A dowsing rod session was also held. There were many strange sounds heard but most like these were from the pipes in the room. Disembodied voices were heard coming from one of the empty rooms in the basement but the sound was muffled and did not get picked up on the recorder. No distinct EVPS were recorded.

15 photos of the theatre were taken by this investigator and analyzed with no unexplained findings.

Marge Sucha: Equipment I used: Digital Camera, FLIR, Rook EMF meter, Olympus Digital Recorder.

It was a cold Saturday.  The temperature in Rockford that day was high 11 degrees / low minus 16 degrees.

We arrived at the theater around 8:30 PM.  After settling in we were given a tour of the theater.


My first EVP session was in the basement with Dale & Kylie.  This is where the dressing rooms are located.  We did get some interesting responses to our questions.  After asking several questions I was told to be quiet. 

Later I did a second session in the basement with the entire group.  Both times the name Beth came through.  To me the voice sounded like a child or young adult.  

Several times while doing and EVP session on the stage I had the spider web feeling across my left hand.  I also heard noises like someone was moving around behind me.

Egyptian Theater was a great place to investigate. 

Kathie Para: Members of GRS present at this investigation were: Mikey, Barb, Mike, Dale, Marge, Kat, Greg, Jim, Kylie and me.

This was a return visit for me and I spent most of my time on the stage because I had previously found to this to be the most active area. I did several different EVP sessions there.

While on the stage I got glimpses of a shadow in a doorway leading to the lobby. Greg and I got great responses on our K-II meters in addition to many interesting and relevant responses from the Ovilus in dictionary mode. “Grandma, mother, bones, light, English, clap, gateway, graveyard, outside, ashes, soul candle” were some of the words. We also got “eleven, seven, seat, D” which made us start looking for seat numbers thinking it was in reference to the seats in the theater. At one point we were talking about moving on the another location and said that we enjoyed talking to whoever was with us and the Ovilus said “return” giving us the feeling they appreciated the conversation with us. At another point we were talking about being tired and losing energy when the Ovilus said “deplete.”  I also got the names “Pat, Paul and Veronica” from the Ovilus and the name “Greg” while using the portal. Mikey heard breaths near him, Marge felt something touch her twice and we heard several unexplained noises.

I also spent some time in the basement joining in on a group EVP session in the dressing room area that I found nothing extraordinary.

Mikey and I spent a little time in the women’s bathroom in the basement, again nothing extraordinary.

I spent so much time on the stage that I never got to the balcony.

Great location!

Kylie O’Connell: January 5th, 2018 is the day the ghost research society investigated the Egyptian theatre in DeKalb, IL. This was my first real investigation with the crew so I did my background research on the place. I found that there was an employee by the name of Irv who was still known to haunt the place to this day. There was also a spirit by the name of Bob who died there by heart attack. When I first got to the theatre I guess I had some sort of positive vibe that came over me not so much of spirits surrounding me just a positive vibe in general that it would be a good night there and investigation. When we first entered the building we got a tour guide by the name of Alex who showed us around the entire theatre and gave us a little background knowledge that he knew of about the theatre and the spirits who still are there. When we finally got to investigating about a half hour after being there, most of the group broke off into groups going to different spots in the theatre. I stayed with Dale and Marge for about forty five minutes downstairs in the dressing room where it is supposedly the most haunted in the theatre. We were trying out Dale’s new piece of equipment which was connected to a spirit box so the spirits could communicate with us. I set up my EVP recorder during this time to capture anything I could that was coming through. There was not too much coming through but we did get the name of Irv the ghost who is known for being around the theatre still. We did not get to much more after that so we decided to head up stairs and go on to the stage with some other members of the group. They were doing an EVP session of their own with some K-II Meters set up. They had gotten some numbers and the word seat come up on their Spirit boxes so Mikey a member of the group looked for this seat that the spirit was telling us about and it ended up being very close to where one of the spirits who is known around there used to sit at. I brought my small Polaroid camera with me and took 5 photos with it. I did not capture anything on it but the way the theatre is inside gave the photos an old timey affect with them. Since I am very new to the group I don’t have much equipment yet so I mainly only took pictures, videos and EVPS. Before we were leaving I decided I wanted to go on to the stage alone and take pictures since this is where most of the group was getting their responses from the spirits. I had my camera on flash and was just taking some random pictures not looking through my lens at all. It was very dark up there, and the last photo I took I saw a giant black shadow in the corner by the ropes for the curtains of the stage. I thought this was very interesting for my first experience investigating. That was the only time I went by myself in the theatre that night being that this was my first time on an investigation I wanted to learn as much as I could from the group and their techniques. Dale was a huge help showing me some of the equipment he brought with him and how it all worked and the purpose of it.  I wish myself and the group could have caught more evidence here since it is such a huge facility there were a lot of spots to work with here. Overall I really enjoyed my time at the Egyptian theatre and I already cannot wait for my next investigation with the group.

Katherine Meagher: Theaters are great place to ghost hunt and the Egyptian Theater is no exception.  

Dale Kaczmarek had a few new gadgets to investigate with. He always has something new in his bag to try and entice spirit to converse with us. It's always a pleasure to investigate with GRS.  

I do not claim to be any kind of psychic or clairvoyant but I do feel unnerved in certain places we have been. The Egyptian Theater is not one of them. The only place that was a little uncomfortable was in the dressing room and probably only because others said they were and the power of suggestion invaded my brain.   

I set up trap cams in the balcony and on the stage of the theater, a camcorder in the dressing room, and with recorder and K-II meter in hand, I and a few others of the set off in search for paranormal evidence.   

Greg Kos: GRS Members present: Dale, Marge, Kathie, Kylie, Mike, Kat, Barb, Jim and Greg

Equipment used EDI+ meter and K-II My IR camera shorted out during set up.

During the investigation Kathie and I were on the stage conducting an EVP session and communicated with what we believe were a stage hand and also an actor. The questions that we asked were answered by lighting up the lights on the K-II. Temperature changes and vibrations were also noted at the time by using the EDI+

I would consider going back to this location with the use of an IR camera.  

Michael Wright: The evening started with a brief walk through, while on the main floor I started taking pictures with my Samsung phone. There was a moving ball of light that was moving through the upper portion of the theater, this was only visible through the screen of the phone, I tried to take a picture of the anomaly but the phone kept freezing this only happened while the light was present.

In a EVP session in the basement there were slight fluctuations with the K-II meters but it could have been the electrical system. The dowsing rods were responding to questions during the EVP sessions in the basement, balcony and main stage.  Listened to the recordings but did not pick up anything significant.

The theater has some beautiful details and architecture I hope that I have another opportunity to investigate the building.

Dale Kaczmarek: This was the second time that I’ve investigated this building. The first was a public investigation hosted by the Illinois Ghost Society, led by Willy Adkins. Most of the evidence that evening was collected in the downstairs dressing rooms.

However during this investigation I left forgot to bring one of my suitcases that included the Ovilus, Ghost Box and my digital recorder, so I depended on others during EVP sessions to be able to pick up some responses. This was the first such time that I’ve ever forgotten to bring certain equipment.

I was helping Jim Piscopo with camera angles and IR illuminators and also assisting Greg Kos with his IR camera which failed to function later on. This was also Kylie O’Connell’s first investigation with the GRS, so I was showing her some equipment and observing her as well.

Evidence collected:

Stage return Egyptian.MPG – while concluding an Ovilus X session on the stage area, a comment was made about enjoying talking with them and that the spirits would do more when the Ovilus said, “Return.”

What’s your name Egyptian.MPG – while conducting an EVP session on the stage area, a question was asked, “My name is Marge. What’s your name?” A response came through that sounded like, “Beth.”

Conclusions: It was a pretty quiet evening here at the theater even though our team hit all the hotspots throughout. This is a perfect example that evidence is not automatic even when visiting a location that has been very active in the past. Communication depends on a number of varying factors but most importantly if the spirits are actually willing to make a connection with those asking questions.

Everyone had a great time at this very beautiful theater and perhaps the third time will be the charm.

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