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David Fisk (Lens of
Springfield, Missouri - Page 2
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The Landers Theater in
Kathy Weiser, February, 2005.
Route 66 Emporium
– Built in 1909, this four-story brick and terra cotta building has been
in continuous use since its inception. Once playing host to such
artists as Lillian Russell, John Philip Sousa, Lon Chaney and Fanny Brice,
it later became a motion picture house -- one of the first to acquire
In 1977, it was placed on the National
Register of Historic Places and in the 1980s the theatre underwent
major renovations to return it to its early 1900s elegance.
Today the theatre continues to entertain southwest
with plays, musicals, ballet, symphony and more.
But in addition to its many visitors who
come for the entertainment, this old "playhouse” is also called home
to several restless spirits. The one most often seen is that of
a janitor who died during a fire in the theatre in the early twentieth
century. On December 17, 1920, the Landers Theatre suffered a
major fire, taking the life of the janitor and effectively closing the
theatre for some time. Only an asbestos curtain and other
fireproofing precautions kept the theater from being a total loss.
According to reports, the old janitor is often seen up in the balcony
by actors on the stage.
is another story of a baby that was accidentally dropped from the
upper balcony on a night long ago. Today, when actors are practicing
on stage they often say that the baby repeats its fall over and over
again. Others have heard the baby crying, followed by comforting
words from its ghostly mother.
Another apparition, only seen from outside
the theatre, is said to peek from a fourth
floor window at passersby along the street. Described as tall
with long blonde hair and wearing Elizabethan clothing, this spirit
has never been seen inside the theatre.
at the theatre include unplugged spotlights that seemingly turn on and
off of their own accord, people who sense that they are being
followed, taps felt on people’s shoulders by unknown entities, and
apparitions glimpsed throughout the building.
The theatre is located at 311 E. Walnut.
The beautiful Lander Theater in
has two more ghosts to report. Having personally seen or heard all but the
actor on the fourth floor, I'd like to see the other two added to your
piece about the theater. One is called the Green Orb -- it is about five
feet tall and very bright. I have seen it on the landing of the west
stairs between the first and second balcony. The second addition is the
scariest thing I've ever seen. It is called the Black Void. As with the
Green Orb, the Black Void can be seen anywhere in the building. One
night as I was going into work backstage, I passed though the very tight
alley on the west side to the backstage door. Suddenly, I felt a
little uneasy and stopped to look around, but didn't see anything.
However, when I looked up to the fire escapes, I saw the Black Void
between the first and second balcony exits. It looked like a big
black hole and the red brick of the building was just gone! The Void
had replaced it with a BIG jet black spot that looked as if you could walk
right though it. Needless to say I quickly ran inside!! - R. Vestal,
Springfield National Cemetery –
This old cemetery was established in the 1860s and holds the remains of
several Civil War soldiers, some of which are apparently restless.
Visitors to the cemetery have reported seeing glowing gravestones in the
night and several others have walked away with photographs that include
strange apparition appearing subjects and dozens of orbs. The
cemetery is located at 1702 East Seminole Street in downtown
at the cross street of Glenstone Avenue (US 65).
University Plaza Hotel
- Unlike many quaint inns and motels, the Plaza Hotel is not proud of its
resident ghost. Touting itself as
premier meeting place and convention center, it fears that knowledge of
the spirit will hurt its business. However, "The Colonel,” as he has
become known, has been seen by most everyone who works at the Convention
Center. The towering hotel is built upon land that was once a large
plantation belonging to a well-decorated Civil War hero. This older
gentleman, dressed all in black is most often seen between midnight and
4:00 a.m. in the ballroom and in the back hallways of the hotel. The
University Plaza Hotel is located at South John Q. Hammons Pkwy at the
cross street of East Saint Louis Street.
of America, updated September, 2010.
Reader Update: I
read with interest regarding the decorated Civil War hero who supposedly
haunts our hotel. It almost has to be John Polk Campbell who at
one time owned almost all the land in what is now
Thought you might like to have a name for this man. - Mary,
Reader Update #2: I
have done further research into the founding fathers of
Springfield, and I now believe the ghost in the University Plaza
Hotel is instead, John S. Phelps, who was a very much decorated Civil
War veteran. Sorry for the earlier conjecture. Will try to
research further. Mary,
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