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Biddeford Theatre Ghost

January 2004

A previous writer told the story of the "Ghost of City Hall." Currently, the Biddeford City Theatre -with the help of very generous local and government grants and donations, is undergoing a major restoration. I hope our ghosts approve of the efforts! As the Technical Director at City Theatre, I can attest to, or at least help clarify, the legend of Eva.

I spend an awful lot of late nights/early mornings working at the theatre alone. Well, maybe not exactly all alone... During my first month in the building, I was working on the stage at around 3:00am on Oct.31,. Halloween, as it turned out. I'd opened the upstage and center travelers (curtains) in order to finish painting the stage floor, offering a fairly unobstructed view of the stage from apron to backcloth. I was startled at least three times when I thought I saw something moving along the backstage-right wings, near one of the first-floor dressing rooms. As I'm not much for the spooky mumbo-jumbo, I pretty much blew it off as my being over-tired and with Halloween encroaching, I figured my psyche was just a little bit primed for this kind of thing. When the second floor dressing room lights flicked on and off, and on and off again, I took enough notice to check the breakers to the dressing rooms... they were, off. Of this, I am positive.

It was later that morning that I learned about Eva. As I understand it, Eva was an opera singer and at the close of her performance on Halloween in 191? she collapsed on stage and was carried to the first floor dressing room. As the story goes, she felt well enough to return to the stage to recieve accolades, but after returning to the dressing room, she died. She left behind a young daughter. Sometimes stories of Eva's hauntings include the voice of a young girl, wandering backstage, calling for her mother. I'm pretty sure that Eva died in one of the first floor (stage-level) dressing rooms, rather than a room upstairs. Eva's territory is surely backstage. She's acknowledged out of the corner of many a stagehand's eye, though I've never heard of her actually scaring anyone. That's not her style.

Our other ghost seems to be Mr. Murphy. He ran the Place when it became a movie theatre during the 30's and 40's..and he ran a tight ship. As An Arc-Light projectionist -and a man of his generation- he may still be a bit uneasy about "wimmenfolk" messing with the electrical. Mr. Murphy has been recognized at the front of the house, leaning over shoulders, when electrical breakers are turned on or off.. particularly when a woman is flipping the switches.

City Theatre is a wonderous old building, being returned to it's original turn-of-the-century opera-house splendor. And we love our ghosts!

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