Sunday, September 11, 2011

Moon over Majestic

It was ghost stories night at the Majestic Theatre in downtown Chillicothe, Ohio.


Friday night: clouds skittered across the sky as the moon rode, almost full, behind them.


Chillicothe is an old city, the first capital of Ohio, with a rich history and a tradition of ghostly tales that has been in place long before there were people called storytellers coming to tell tales. This year I was one of six tellers invited to share a ghost story during the Southern Ohio Storytelling Festival. There were other stories Thursday evening and all day Friday, of course, and on into Saturday. We got there in time to hear some of our favorite storytellers tell, greet friends and enjoy the lovely park setting at the Pump House by the river.

Then it was time to head over to the Majestic. I went early just to feel the history and the past of the place. The setting was perfect for ghost stories--a quiet street, an arching neon sign glowing red in the darkness, the moon flitting in and out of the clouds.


I watched her for some time, enjoying the juxtaposition of moon and neon and old buildings. Then I ventured inside.


The stage was lit up and ready for us--and the air, apparently, full of orbs. They certainly showed up in my camera anyway (click the photo to see it in a larger format; you should be able to see the orbs then). Some people believe that orbs indicate the presence of spirits. Whether you believe that or not, there are many stories about ghosts being sighted in the theater along with other odd occurrences. A man in top hat and tails, for instance, is said to stroll the isles from time to time.

(If you enlarge this photo, you can see some odd shadows in the seats to the left. Probably just a trick of the camera, right?)

I don't know if we disturbed any spirits, but we told some fine tales. There was an obligatory "vanishing hitchhiker" story, a jump tale with a funny ending, a strange tale of conjure and magic from the days of slavery, a literary tale by H.G. Wells, and one teller told an original story she had written. I sang a ballad and told the story of Big John, a coal miner who died in the mines and supposedly came back to save his brothers.

I learned during the evening that Chillicothe hosts a ghost walk and I do believe I might have to return to this pretty town and see what other spirits may linger in its historic buildings.

7 comments:

Nance said...

oh. my. my daughters and I always look for orbs and such. Let me know when you go back to Chillicothe for the ghost walk. I might want to go along for the tour! : )

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

An atmospheric old theatre, ghosts or no ghosts. I'm sure you conjured up some convincing ghosts with your stories.

JJM said...

Except that such orbs are a by-product of using a digital camera, specifically when using the flash. Has something to do with the image sensor and the depth of field, which means the flash catches dust particles close to the lens while keeping the background in focus. The effect is of large orbs, but the cause is small particles.--Mario

Granny Sue said...

Durn. I thought sure they were ghosties :l the place sure has tmosphere anyway.

Nance said...

okay Sue, sometimes, dust. Sometimes . . . not. Come to Iowa and we'll go take photos in a cemetery I know
.

Deborah Wilson said...

Sounds like a lot of fun, Sue...

But, I never hear that version about Big John - I thought that he saved the other miners before the mine crashed in on him - or maybe that was just the way the story was told in the musical/tv version [Jimmy Dean]?

I will send you an email this week end, lot's of things to tell you about...

Granny Sue said...

That's interesting, Deb. I never heard or saw the tv version--didn't even know there was one :)

I'll look for your email. I've gotta catch up again with all my blog friends.

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