200 South Kanawha Street
Beckley, West Virginia
In my very first Newsbyte, I covered this location in Beckley and recently, a little bit more information has been released about it. Briefly, the building is a theatre opened in 1931 as a memorial to veterans of World War I. During the opening ceremonies for the building, hastily erected bleachers collapsed with a few injuries but no deaths. Legend holds that one of those injured was a band member named Bob. For the remainder of his life, Bob suffered neck problems and was offered a small apartment in the basement of the building. After his death, his spirit has reportedly been encountered.
As I pointed out in the original newsbyte, the structure was investigated by Eastern States Paranormal who encountered a great deal of evidence. Patricia Marin, a writer on the paranormal for Examiner.com recently wrote an article about some of the evidence from that investigation that has recently been publicized by the group. The investigation began slowly, but when the group took a break they heard a sound similar to “a herd of elephants running across the stage.” After that, activity filled the space. Sounds included someone, possibly Bob, walking across the stage, response knocking and a sound akin to tap dancing. Some of this evidence has been posted to the website of Eastern States Paranormal, here.
Theresa Racer’s marvelous blog, Theresa’s Haunted History of the Tri-State, includes an entry on this location and provides a few more details on the history and the haunting of this structure. According to her, the building has served a variety of uses including a temporary courthouse, county library, YMCA and community center. After my last entry on the building, a good friend of mine who is from Beckley revealed that he had taught art classes in the building.
Racer includes the rumor that the building may be built near a Civil War era graveyard which was used by a local hospital during the war. She notes that two locations nearby, the old Beckley Junior High School (occupied by Mountain State University) and a radio station, may all be haunted by Civil War era spirits associated with the cemetery.
According to Marin’s Examiner article, the building will be taken over by Theatre West Virginia next month.
Marin, Patricia. “Eastern States Paranormal investigates
haunted theatre in West Virginia.” Examiner.com. 6
Powell, Lewis IV. “Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building
(Newsbyte).” Southern Spirit Guide. 8 November 2010.
Racer, Theresa. “Soldier’s Memorial Theater, Beckley.”
Theresa’s Haunted History of the Tri-State. 2 March 2011.