PHOENIX — The Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix has long had a presence in the Valley entertainment scene, but that presence may not be limited to the realm of the living.
The historic theater began offering ghost tours of the facility Monday. The tours run through Halloween.
“The Orpheum has had ghosts in it probably ever since its conception,” Joe Atredies, a tour guide with the theater, said, adding that as many as five ghosts may call the theater home.
One of the possible spirits is named Mattie. They don’t know anything about her, except that she seems to hang out in the balcony.
“She’s even chastised a few people that were up there trying to get to first base on a date or something like that,” Atredies said with a laugh. “A lot of patrons that come here have reported her.”
Not all of the ghosts are human. Atredies said there are newspaper accounts of a cat that hung around construction workers while they were building the theater in 1928. Several employees have reported seeing and hearing that same cat.
“It’s mainly the security guards,” he said. “They’ve heard the purring. They’ve heard the meows. There’s very cat-like behavior too, where they just jump up on your stuff and try to knock it over.”
Atredies said workers think it’s the ghost of the cat who was around during construction because they encounter it in places a living animal couldn’t possibly access.
Atredies said the goal of the tour isn’t to scare people, it’s to tell another part of the story of the Orpheum Theater.
“We want people to come and enjoy it. We’re not trying to convince anyone of anything. We want them to take pictures. We want them to explore and see what their experience can be like. We want them to enjoy this magnificent building.”
Proceeds from the tour admission go to the Friends of the Orpheum Theatre. The organization provides equipment and resources to preserve the theater.
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