Home to a grand total of FOUR ghostly beings, the Gaiety Theatre is said to be one of the most haunted places on the Isle of Man. The Theatre first opened its doors in 1900 and is one of the finest remaining examples of work from the legendary architect, Frank Matcham. And although the theatre may have undergone extensive restoration throughout the 90’s, the ghosts have long remained.So who are these four mystery residents of the theatre? Read on to find out.
The Woman in Black
Sassy AF, she lingers in the stairwells and corridors waiting to scare the bejeebies out of anyone who finds themselves alone in one of her favourite spots. The Woman in Black is your typical ghostly being who disappears through walls, wears dark clothing and lingers in the shadows.You really don’t want to get on the wrong side of her though, because who knows what she’s capable of? The next time you’re backstage and get that feeling of being watched when no one is around, it’s probably her.
The Man in Grey
Woman in Black, Man in Grey. We’re sensing a pattern here. Say hello to ghost number two. He is often seen sitting in one of the boxes, occasionally smoking with not a care in the world about who sees him.He’s often seen when actors or crew step out on the stage during rehearsals. When they look up they would suddenly notice a lone figure sitting in the box, watching them intently. At first, you might think he was just another crew member checking on the sound and view from the box, until he disappears through the wall…
The Helping Hands
Ghost number three is so creepy, it doesn’t even have a body. Yep, it’s just a pair of hands waiting to guide you in the dark. The ‘helping hands’ have been reported by many thespians and crew who claim to have been passed misplaced props or pushed onto stage when they’ve missed their cue.The shadowy presence in the wings is thought to be more of a protector than a threat. They’ll play little pranks here and there but, for the most part, the Helping Hands are there to ensure the show goes as smoothly as possible with no props or persons gone AWOL.
The Lady in B14
And finally, the infamous Lady in seat B14. Probably the most well-known of the Gaiety Ghosts, the elderly woman seen in her favourite seat is thought to have lost her husband in the war. She has supposedly been seen by many and is reported to look like an unassuming grandmother.B14 was her favourite seat in the theatre and it’s often left unoccupied on the off chance she’ll turn up. She’s said to watch the shows she loved so much while she was living, the old ‘classics’, and will turn up for the duration of the show, or just appear for her favourite scenes.
Can the paranormal stories doing the rounds be blamed on highly strung thesps wanting to add to the drama of showbiz? Or is something altogether spookier going on?Seamus Shea, Production Manager of the Gaiety Theatre, is one of the few members of staff who hasn’t had a ghostly encounter and claims the ghostly goings-on are but a figment of people’s imaginations.What do you think? Do you believe the Gaiety Theatre is haunted? Have you had a spooky experience in there? We’d love to hear your story!