The Haunted Lakeland Theatre

Posted by junketseo in Charlotte Ghost Tours
The Haunted Lakeland Theatre - Photo

If you find yourself traveling the busy I-95 corridor along the East Coast, take a brief respite and turn towards the exit for the town of Littleton. A mere shadow of itself when it was founded as a canal and factory town in 1877, the persistent hauntings within “The Little Town with the Big Heart” draw many visitors to investigate the various paranormal locations within the city limits.

There was a history here; the ghosts remind you of this reality. One of the most active sites for ghostly happenings in Littletown is the Lakeland Theater.

Let’s investigate, shall we?


A Humble Beginning to Community Gem


Lakeland Theater was first an old school building and a high school auditorium, built in the early 1900s, that was renovated for use as a community theater in the past few decades.

The obsolete seating was recently replaced with comfortable theater seats with ample space for performers and audience members. Similarly, the theatre’s high-tech sound and lighting systems give the impression that you are in a big city rather than a rural town with less than 700 residents.

But not only does the audience marvel at the renovations, but the resident ghosts seem quite pleased as well!


The Ghosts of the Lakeland Theater


The Lakeland Theater is home to more than a few ghosts, but this site is so interesting that most hauntings have their origin only as far back as the late 1970s. These aren’t ghosts stirred out of the dust of antiquity, but rather the souls of the departed who loved this place and continue to linger within its walls.

The most prominent ghost that haunts the theater is the spirit of Mark Taylor, the founder of Lakeland Cultural Arts Center, who provided the funding to realize the building’s renaissance in 1978. It was Mr. Taylor’s vision that saw this dilapidated school as the skeleton for the theater that is in operation today.

In fact, an oil painting of Mr. Taylor greets those in attendance as they enter the building. Sometimes the ghost of Mr. Taylor will greet you himself!

He manifests as a human apparition dressed in fine clothes, although a bit avant-garde for this quiet North Carolina town. Some witnesses have reported that his apparition is so real that you can even smell his cologne.

An Attachment to Clothes


Also emanating from the same time as the ghost of Mr. Taylor is the spirit of Maggie, a costume designer who dotted over her work with pride and love. She put so much of herself into the clothing that she made for the actors and actresses that a bit of her soul was imprinted on them.

But make no mistake; Maggie is not a simple residual haunt. Like Mr. Taylor, Maggie is also an intelligent haunting. She has been known to be quite helpful, from putting away clothing to organizing the costume department.

There are also rumors that she has been known to fix and alter clothing right before a performance to ensure everyone looks their respective part.

The Ghosts in the Seats


Not every audience member needs a ticket at the Lakeland Theater. Megan Keim, an audio and visual technician who works from the soundbox that overlooks the stage, had reported that, on several occasions, when the theater was empty deep in the night and she had just finished her lighting cues, a vaporous figure could be seen wafting through the seats.

Sometimes, that gaseous entity would congeal and take the form of a person, not completely realized, but a translucent figure nonetheless.
During performances, Megan has witnessed other figures materializing in various open seats within the theater, becoming full-bodied apparitions before dissolving into nothingness after a few moments.

It appears these entities have come to watch the show. There is no fear attached to these particular ghosts, nothing scary or frightening. They’ve simply returned from the afterlife to catch a play, and this theater plays an important part in their earthly life.


The Curtain Draws to a Close


Not all ghosts are frightening; indeed, most spiritual encounters are quite reassuring to the witness and even enlightening to the observer. The spirits that inhabit the Lakeland Theater are like ghosts that haunt other theatrical venues.

In life, whether actors or prop makers, benefactors or audience members, there was a love for the drama that was created under the spotlight. Death is a mere inconvenience, and the love for the arts transcends the grave. It was under the theater roof that many people realized their potential. It was on the stage that creativity was sowed and came to fruition during every performance. In a way, the theater is a living organism that makes us human.

Even when we shuffle off this mortal coil, the stage is still the place where we find ourselves. The theater is where art lives and breathes. And it is within this vibrant expression that even ghosts feel alive.

So, as you travel down I-95, take a quick 10-mile detour and catch a show at the Lakeland Theater in Littleton, North Carolina. You may be surprised by who you meet when you enter the building or who may be sitting next to you as the curtain closes on the final act.

But rest assured, you are not alone.