The building was built in 1893
as a monument to a Civil War Veteran and founded by the Grand Army of the
Republic. They used to hold meetings here and was used as a community hall. As
the GAR was dying out, they formed the Sons of the Union Vets that still meet
here once a month. 2018 marked the building’s 125th anniversary.
Scott “Stretch” Miller has been the technical director for about seven years
at the time of this investigation.
Celebrities who visited here
include: Beulah Bondi, 1888-1981), (James Stewart mother in “It’s
a Wonderful Life”. Her very first play was on this stage and her father
was the business director and mother worked in the box office. They lived in
nearby Chesterton, Indiana. The Marx Brothers, John Phillip Sousa and probably
Theodore Roosevelt also came to the theater.
In the past funerals were held here as this location was originally a
Originally the theater held some
860 people but now only holds 360. Along the walls of the auditorium there were
four rows of seats that were eventually removed, henceforth the reduction in
seating capacity. The balcony once went all the way back to the back wall and
seats were much smaller back then. Part of the original ceiling has been framed
in the foyer. The building is considered nice and sound. Future renovation plans
include an atrium and elevator to the balcony floor. In 1957 the Community
Theatre Guild was formed with the express purpose the renovation and
preservation of the Opera House. There were some major renovations in 1967 at a
cost of around $250,000.
In the lounge within the foyer is a mural of past
celebrities with the theater pictured on stage. There is also a picture of a
woman who had designed hundreds of costumes. She passed away a few years ago.
There is a “ghost light” on the stage as is
customary for almost all theaters and movie houses. A ghost
light is an electric light that is left energized on the stage of a
theater when the theater is unoccupied and would otherwise be completely dark.
It typically consists of an exposed incandescent bulb, CFL lamp, or LED lamp
mounted in a wire cage on a portable light stand. It is usually placed near
center stage. Ghost lights are also sometimes known as equity lights or equity
lamps, possibly indicating their use was originally mandated by the Actors'
The practical use of a ghost light is mainly for
safety. A ghost light enables one to navigate the theater to find the lighting
control console and to avoid accidents such as falling into the orchestra pit
and stepping on or tripping over set pieces. Aside from its obvious practical
purpose, there are a number of superstitions associated with the origin and
purpose of ghost lights. The superstitious have various justifications
for the ghost light in relation to the supernatural. A popular theatrical
superstition holds that every theater has a ghost, and some theaters have
traditions to appease ghosts that reach far back into their history.
Similar superstitions hold that
ghost lights provide opportunities for ghosts to perform onstage, thus appeasing
them and preventing them from cursing the theater or sabotaging the set or
production. This is also used to explain the traditional one day a week that
theaters are closed.
No operas, only plays and
musicals and some operettas are performed. An operetta had at least one spoken
sentence different from that of an opera. Where the brick wall is today,
everything beyond it used to belong to the museum next door and also part of the
original jail, now a costume room. The top part was added on later. The Garage
Shop downstairs from the costume room was also belonged to the jail.
The downstairs area consists of
Dressing Rooms, Green Room, men & women restrooms, Paint Room, a
sub-basement with a tunnel that used to connect the buildings, the Prop Room;
often called “The Blair Witch Room”
due to creepy feelings that used to have an old coal chute, a Boiler Room,
Maintenance Room, Orchestra pits and a dirty crawlspace. In the 1960s the Prop
Room used to be the administrator’s office. This is just about as far back as
you can walk in the building.
The Balcony area is where the
GAR meets and lounge area. In 2016, this area was only a few desks and with a
ceiling that was almost caving in. The theater fixed up this area and turned it
into a usable space.
In the early to mid-1970s, a man
died of a heart attack while watching a show.
Address: 104 Indiana Ave., Valparaiso, Indiana 46383
Contact person: Scott “Stretch” Miller
Lots of whisperings in the corners of the room that you can’t quite
make out what is being said. Activity in the hallways behind the box seats.
Some students were here recently
with their teacher. A girl went inside there and was in there for a few minutes
when she called for her teacher. When she was lit up by a flashlight, she was
bleeding out of one nostril. She apparently was somewhat sensitive and when she
walked into the hallway, later recordings reported a female voice that said,
“Hello.” She apparently didn’t hear that because it was a true EVP and
never answered it. A few seconds later, you hear a male voice say, “Get
out!” It was after that, she acquired a nosebleed.
Those were expensive seats that
probably had an usher there and one possible scenario is that the ghostly usher
said, “Hello” to her when she entered that area and then said, “Get
out!” when she didn’t reply.
There is a trapdoor by the stage
that leads to downstairs room where an orchestra pit is located. In that
basement room other investigators have picked up some evidence in the past. They
closed the doors and asked if they like plays and musical events performed here
and a voice replied with, “Nope!”
At stage left was a small desk.
Miller heard whispering coming from that area and there was nobody there. Nobody
was out in the parking lot. He continued his chores and heard several metal
clanks coming from that area along with whispers.
Graffiti on the back stage walls are from a lot of plays performed here.
Eventually they ran out of space, so they discontinued that practice.
A little girl has been seen
around the opera house as well as the nearby jail. The Paint Room has been the
scene of lights and things acting weird in here and the faucet turning on by
itself while someone was in here putting stuff away. Nearby there is a wall
outside of a wall and a window here that you just see the bricks of the other
wall. The trap door to the stage is close and still works to this day.
Some recordings have been made
in the Orchestra Pit area by past investigators. This is where the “nope”
response was recorded along with some X-Cam SLS hits of stick figures.
In the Balcony area, some
students did get some recordings here along with SLS hits.
When turns off the lights to the
main building and one walks outside, the lights come back on again. This is
constant phenomena to the theater. There is even surveillance video that shows
the lights going on and off.
County Museum Executive Director Kevin Pazour said he was working alone inside
the 157-year-old building one Sunday evening early last month when he heard a
little girl laugh. A
week later, Scot MacDonald, executive director at neighboring Porter County
Memorial Opera House, was at his office when someone mentioned seeing a young
girl with long curly hair and formal clothing peering out of an upper floor
window at the county museum.
seeing the drapes moving in an upper level window at the museum later that same
day, MacDonald said he sent a text message to Pazour, who was baffled since the
building was closed. He told MacDonald there is also no forced-air heating or
cooling system in the building and the motion-detector security system was never
working in his office, he has heard footsteps in an above loft area that only
can be reached by a 15-foot ladder.
no way anyone could access it without me knowing,' MacDonald said.
and thanks to:
- Bob Kasarda, The Times of Northwest Indiana
The Ghost Research Society investigated the Memorial Opera House on March 22, 2019 and the team members included: Charles, Williams Michael Rosario and Dale Kaczmarek with help from Len Novak from The Illinois Ghost Society and Mike McGarahan from Ghost Head Soup.
hand-held equipment was used and transported from location to location within
the building. This included: X-Cam SLS device, digital recorders and camcorders,
Phasma Box, Ovilus X, Melmeter, Tri-Field Natural EM Meter, REM Epod, and a
Geophone placed on the Stage area.
Ovilus X, Phasma Box and Armenia sessions were conducted around the Stage,
Balcony area and downstairs in the Dressing Room.
McGarahan: On March 22nd I was in Valparaiso, Indiana to
investigate the Memorial Opera House with Dale.
I arrived earlier in the day and got pictures and did a walk around the
building. It was a very intriguing
place with a lot of history. The
short tour before our investigation was filled with architecture, history and
claims of the paranormal. Our
investigation led to many instances of evidence from the Phasma Box and the
Ovilus X. Batteries from multiple
devices were also being depleted at a very fast pace, which leads me to believe
spirits were drawing a lot of energy from our gear to make contact with us.
It was a great night and a great experience.
investigation of the Memorial Opera House was somewhat eventful. The auditorium
produced some results; the Phasma Box produced some interesting results. My
camera kept getting shut off and the battery drained after a short time. I
received no EVPs there. Up in the stage right balcony was in my opinion the most
active spot. The Phasma Box gave some replies and got some swear words thrown at
us even to say F you. While asking for someone to talk to us thru the K-II, I
got several responses but nothing on the EVPs. The basement dressing room I kept
having my camera shut down and the battery drained even though the battery was
fully charged and a second battery drained.
a great experience during our investigation at the famous Memorial Opera House
located in Valparaiso, IN. Many occurrences have been prevalent in and
around the theatre, including shadow figures, apparitions of men, women, and
children; voices (even whispers), all sorts of noises on stage, faucets and
lights being turned on and off, sounds of instruments being played, and many
apparitions in the balcony area at times as well.
Equipment and Initial Investigation: Our
investigation took off at approximately 8:15pm on Friday, March 22, 2019. Weather
was quite cold out, around 30°, but with
clear skies – unlimited visibility. Equipment used was my K-II meter, a
Philips Digital Voice Recorder, a Sony Night Shot Handy-Cam DCR-TRV13 NTSC 560
Digital-8 20X Optical Zoom Video Camcorder, 198-IR Light Module, a Green Laser
Grid, and a Police Security Elite Blackout 615 Lumen Hands-free Heavy-Duty
Head Strap Flashlight. We were actually together as one whole group, so
there was not any pairing into separate groups that night. We first began
sweeping the entire Atrium
area using our K-II meters looking for any types of fluctuation of the
electromagnetic frequency in the area. This room received an approximate
reading of 1.9-13.5mG. Next, I set up my night shot camera down in the Atrium
area. I believe the lens was looking west of the building,
right directly towards the Stage area,
where numerous apparitions have been seen, and other various sounds have
been heard. We then began doing an EVP session in this area afterwards.
We then made our way towards the Stage
Left Balcony area to conduct another EVP session. Finally, we
made our way towards the Basement/Dressing
Room area to conduct another EVP session. K-II reading in this area
was approximately 2.3-5.5mG. We wanted to investigate many more rooms after
this, but we were only allowed a certain amount of time. But, overall, we did
have a great experience with the rooms we did investigate in.
Investigation Wrap-Up: The
investigation ended approximately around 12:05am on Saturday, March 23, 2019.
reviewing all of my evidence, it’s sad to note that nothing appeared out of
the ordinary, image-wise, on my night-shot camcorder (except for some light
refraction on a piece of metal on a chair in the atrium); and also nothing
really audio-wise, on my digital voice recorder.
always, I thought it was a very good investigation, and ‘twas very well
conducted. Would love to come again and investigate more rooms, and do some more
EVP sessions regarding the old jail/holding cells that were once located/used on
the property. So much history has been involved here. Many Civil War attributes
are here as well, including the 125th Encampment of the Sons of the Union
Veteran's League are present for meetings here. The Marx Brothers, Beulah Bondi
(the mother from It's a Wonderful Life),
John P. Sousa, and even the former president of the United States, Theodore
R. 'Teddy' Roosevelt, made appearances inside this very theatre. Simply amazing!
Again, I am totally looking forward to coming again sometime!
amazingly beautiful theater with a lot of history and some past investigations.
A Facebook live was presented in the Balcony area. I used the X-Cam SLS device
down in the Dressing Room and momentarily captured a “stick figure” standing
next to Rosario by the entrance to the room. This room was full of mirrors as it
is a working dressing room and there are theories about mirrors facing
themselves that can perhaps create a “vortex” effect. Many early
spiritualists and before funeral homes were popular used to cover up mirrors or
turn them to the wall because of the superstition that souls could become
trapped in mirrors.
Novak’s camera began to malfunction in the
Dressing Room and I did have a bit of a problem running the SLS for a time.
Ain’t nothing memorial.MPG – William’s static
IR camera positioned in the auditorium picked up a whispery voice that said,
Boo memorial.MPG – while conducting an EVP
session in the basement Dressing Room, a voice was heard that said, “Boo!”
Bullshit memorial.MPG – while conducting a Phasma
Box session in the Balcony area, a question was asked, “Would you rather talk
with us instead?” The device responded with a deep male voice that said,
Careful memorial.MPG - while conducting a Phasma
Box session in the in the basement Dressing Room, a comment was made, “Maybe
she thinks Dale’s being too forward and flirting.” The device responds with,
Casket memorial.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus
X session in dictionary mode in the basement Dressing Room, the device blurted
out, “Casket.” (Funerals had been conducted here in the past.)
Cheerful memorial.MPG – while conducting an
Armenia session in the basement Dressing Room, a question was asked, “Can you
tell me if you’re happy or sad?” The device responds with, “Yeah”
followed by “Cheerful.”
Cheerleaders memorial.MPG - while conducting a
Phasma Box session in the Balcony area, the device said, “Cheerleader.”
(Were any of the past students who visited the theater, cheerleaders?)
Closed space memorial.MPG – while conducting a
Phasma Box session in the Balcony area, a question was asked, “Which John
Philip Sousa song really got the house rocking?” The device responds with,
Dark memorial.MPG – while conducting an Ovilus X
session in the Dressing Room, a question was asked, “Are you playing with my
camera?” The device responded with, “Dark.”
David memorial.MPG – while conducting an EVP
session in the basement Dressing Room, a question was asked, “Who are we
speaking to? What is your first name?” A subtle voice was recorded that
responded with, “David.”
Don’t turn around memorial.MPG - while conducting
a Phasma Box session in the basement Dressing Room, a question was asked, “Can
you say something to us like hello?” The device responded with, “Don’t
Found a picture memorial.MPG – while conducting
an EVP session in the basement Dressing Room, a female voice said, “Found a
Fuck you honkey memorial.MPG - while conducting a
Phasma Box session in the Balcony area, the device blurted out what sounds like,
“Fuck you honkey.”
Fuck you1 memorial.MPG - while conducting a Phasma
Box session in the Balcony area, the device said, “Fuck you!”
Fuck you2 memorial.MPG - while conducting a Phasma
Box session in the basement Dressing Room, the device suddenly and clearly said,
Get out memorial.MPG – while conducting a Phasma
Box session in the Dressing Room, the device blurts out, “Get out.”
He just went out memorial.MPG - while conducting a
Phasma Box session near the Stage, a question was asked, “Who was that?” The
device replied with, “He just went out.”
Hi memorial.MPG - while conducting a Phasma Box
session near the Stage area, a question was asked, “Can you say hello to
everyone?” The device responded with, “Hi.”
High-pitched child’s voice memorial.MPG - while
conducting a Phasma Box session in the Balcony area, a question was asked,
“What was the last show you’d seen here from the balcony?” The device
produced a very high-pitched response that could not be made out.
I am memorial.MPG - while conducting a Phasma Box
session in the basement Dressing Room, a question was asked, “Are you still
here?” The device responded with, “I am.”
I don’t want to memorial.MPG - while conducting a
Phasma Box session in the basement Dressing Room, a comment was made, “Say
goodbye.” The device responded with, “I don’t want to.”
I was a prisoner memorial.MPG - while conducting a
Phasma Box session near the Stage, the device shouted out, “I was a
I’ll kill you memorial.MPG - while conducting a
Phasma Box session in the Balcony, a low voice comes through that says,
“I’ll kill you!”
I’m not sure memorial.MPG – while conducting a Phasma Box session in
the Dressing Room, a question was asked, “Tell us what room you’re in and
we’ll go there.” The device responded with, “I’m not sure.”
K memorial.MPG - while conducting a Phasma Box
session in the Balcony, a comment was made, “We’ll probably go to the
basement next.” The device says, “K.”
Let me out memorial.MPG – while conducting a Phasma Box session in the
Dressing Room, a creep sounding voice comes through that says, “Let me out.”
No memorial.MPG - while conducting a Phasma Box
session in the Balcony, a comment was made, “There’s supposed to be some
children here.” The device said, “No.”
Over here memorial.MPG – while conducting an EVP session in the Balcony
area, Williams asks a question from the main auditorium, “Does anyone seen the
little kid that’s walking around?” A childish voice replies with what sounds
like, “Over here.”
Perhaps the summer stock memorial.MPG - while
conducting a Phasma Box session near the Stage when the device blurted out,
“Perhaps the summer stock.”
Research memorial.MPG - while conducting a Phasma
Box session in the Balcony, the device said, “Research.”
Slut memorial.MPG – while conducting a Phasma Box session in the
Dressing Room, a comment was made about a play or operetta when a low voice
comes through that sounds like, “Slut.”
Strange sound memorial.MPG - while conducting an
Ovilus X session in the Balcony, McGarahan had his recorder on a window sill on
the stairway. There is a sound that sounds like a tape recording playing right
before the Ovilus X produced the word “knot.”
That’s a bitch memorial.MPG - while conducting a
Phasma Box session in the Balcony, a question was asked, “Who said
bullshit?” The device replies with, “That’s a bitch.”
The best memorial.MPG - while conducting a Phasma
Box session in the Balcony, a comment was made during a live Facebook video,
“We got Len over here.” Len says, ‘hi” and the device called him, “The
Who tried us memorial.MPG - while conducting a
Phasma Box session in the basement Dressing Room, the device said, “Who tried
Why we got you memorial.MPG - while conducting a
Phasma Box session in the basement Dressing Room, a comment was made, “Touch
that and we’ll know you’re here.” The device responded with, “Why.” A
follow-up question asked, “Can you do that?” The device further replied
with, “We got you.”
spoken by the Ovilus X in dictionary mode: Stage
area; direct, wagon, together, beer, judge, slave, sunset, voice, tried, M,
vowel and myself. Balcony area; battery, hipidho, mission, often, slight,
southern, joke, linger, month, stand, wear, psychic, chain, remote, money, age,
knot, congruous, bread and prop. Dressing Room; speed, triangle, cause, money,
dark, give, September, bed, erase, shove, middle, casket, condition, snap,
solid, interest, temperature, cheat, poverty, voice, age, ago and ring.
spoken by the Ovilus X in phonetic mode: Stage
area; do it.
spoken by the Phasma Box: Balcony
area; changing, got it now and batteries.
spoken by the Armenia application: Dressing
Room; cheerful and individualist.
were quite a lot of what I call “random words” that were spoken by both the
Ovilus X and the Phasma Box without any questions being asked. Many of these
words had to bearing to where in the theater we were at the time or any past
history or hauntings. However, some single words did reflect on the theater
including in the Stage area; judge (as the jail is located nearby), the letter M
(we were investigating the Memorial Opera House); Dressing Room, casket
(funerals were once held here) but perhaps the strangest word that I have never
seen come through the Ovilus X was “hipidho” which I could not find a
We didn’t have enough time to thoroughly investigate other locations within building that were interesting such as the Orchestra Pit, where recordings had been made in the past and deeper into the sub-basement. We got somewhat of a late start due to traffic on route to the theater. Stretch Miller was a very gracious host and very knowledgeable about the history and hauntings and our small group enjoyed the time that we were allotted.
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
© 2019 Dale Kaczmarek. All rights reserved.
Web site created by Dale Kaczmarek