If you travel to East Second Street in Chillicothe, Ohio you’ll see a
black arch with a lit sign that reads “Majestic”. Next to it, you’ll see a building with stained glass
windows and a marquee advertising its latest events. A building that has witnessed the passage of the last 160 years and played a key role in one of the city’s most tragic events. This building is the Majestic Theatre.
“[The Majestic] actually became a temporary morgue. So, in the dressing rooms downstairs…they would
actually have bodies stacked like cordwood,” said Gene Betts, a board member for the Majestic and volunteer
since 2000. In another of Medert’s books titled Chillicothe, Ohio and the Great War 1914-1918, she writes
that the theater’s seats “were removed to make room for the coffins”. The stage of the theater was used for
the embalming process. Part of this process included draining the blood from the body and in this case, the
blood was drained into what was known then as “Bank Alley”. After this tragic event, it would become known
as “Blood Alley.”
Along with the theater’s other reported paranormal instances, such as clapping from a supposedly empty
balcony and the feeling of an unwelcoming presence in the dressing rooms, reports have been made of being
able to see the ghost of a soldier lying on the stage. However, neither these reports nor the building’s
past have deterred visitors to the theater. “I haven’t come across anybody that’s creeped out by it,” said
Betts. “It is definitely an intrigue of the building, so I think it actually helps get awareness out about
the Majestic, especially when we do our ghost walks…So we’ve embraced it.” The Ghost Walk is a fundraiser
that’s held once a year in Chillicothe, and the Majestic has been featured in the Walk for at least 10 of
the last 15 years.
Today, the Majestic Theatre is very active, hosting many tribute band events as well as comedy nights,
plays, and occasional movies and workshops. The grim role the theater played in the city’s past does not
seem to bother patrons, in fact, many believe it adds to their experience. So, the next time you are in Chillicothe, stop by and
enjoy one of the Majestic’s performances to experience the real history of the city, and see if you can spot
or sense the paranormal.