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
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
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
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:
at 135 N. Second St.,
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.
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
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.
girl is thought to be between the ages of 10-12 according to psychics and is
often seen clairvoyantly riding a tricycle.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Meagher: The investigation began on Jan 6,
2018 and concluded early in the morning on Jan 7, 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
photos of the theatre were taken by this investigator and analyzed with no
Sucha: Equipment I used: Digital Camera,
FLIR, Rook EMF meter, Olympus Digital Recorder.
was a cold Saturday. The temperature
in Rockford that day was high 11 degrees / low minus 16 degrees.
arrived at the theater around 8:30 PM. After
settling in we were given a tour of the theater.
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.
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.
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.
Theater was a great place to investigate.
Para: Members of GRS present at this
investigation were: Mikey, Barb, Mike, Dale, Marge, Kat, Greg, Jim, Kylie and
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
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.
also spent some time in the basement joining in on a group EVP session in the
dressing room area that I found nothing extraordinary.
and I spent a little time in the women’s bathroom in the basement, again
spent so much time on the stage that I never got to the balcony.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
theater has some beautiful details and architecture I hope that I have another
opportunity to investigate the building.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
had a great time at this very beautiful theater and perhaps the third time will
be the charm.
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
© 2018 Dale Kaczmarek. All rights reserved.
Web site created by Dale Kaczmarek