ST. CLOUD -- The Paramount Theater building in downtown St. Cloud has been around for 100 years. So, is it possible that it could be haunted?

Derek Segerstrom is the Manager of the Visual Arts Department at the Paramount Center for the Arts.

He says most theaters have a Theater Ghost Light that is kept on all the time. The practical reason is that theaters are large dark rooms with no windows and it would easy to trip and fall. The other reason is the legend that all theaters are haunted by at least one ghost.

So to keep the restless spirits from causing mischief, or bringing bad luck to a production, the tech crew will leave a light on for after-hours poltergeist productions. Give the ghosts a chance to run through lines or scenes that they didn't get right during life.

He says while he's never personally experienced any paranormal activity in his 17 years working there, he certainly has heard the stories.

One of the more well-known encounters that happened prior to the 1998 renovation was when a lone member of the tech crew was working on some sets at about 2:30 a.m.

This person swears to have heard someone in a very loud and very clear voice say his name right next to his ear, and this happened not once, but twice.

That person was so shaken up that they went home, woke their family, and had them sit in the auditorium with them while they finished their work.

Pre-renovation dressing rooms

There are also other stories of props going missing during rehearsals.

And this was on a very regular basis for multiple productions.  A performer or a tech crew person would leave a prop piece in a particular spot and they would be absolutely certain that they left that prop piece in the location that it was supposed to be only to go back moments later and discover it missing.

Segerstrom says, just as mysteriously, the props would always return right where they were supposed to be on show night.

Multiple crew members have also witnessed shadows on stage that appeared to be a woman in a turn of the century outfit. Attempts to photograph the image were unsuccessful.

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Segerstrom says every ghost story is from pre-renovation times, and no one has come forward with a new ghost story since then.

Old Paramount Boilers

Coming up on Sunday, October 24th at 3:00 p.m. the Paramount will be showing the D.W. Griffith silent film "Way Down East", which was the very first show ever at the Paramount when it opened on Christmas Eve in 1921.

The series "Century in St. Cloud" is once a month on the News @ Noon Show on WJON where we learn about the history of the 100-year-old Paramount building in St. Cloud.

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