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The Yankee Express

The Boothbay Opera House

Jan 30, 2024 09:08AM ● By Thomas D’Agostino

The Boothbay Opera House in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, is widely considered the most haunted place in the quaint little coastal town and one of the most haunted in the state. The opera house is home to several spirits that seem to wander as they were around the building.

When the structure was built in 1894, it was the tallest building in the area. It became home to the government offices of Boothbay, overseeing the comings and goings of the local community members until the 1930s. Later on, the building was turned into a theater and has hosted every kind of entertainment imaginable for this small Maine town, including minstrel shows, plays, movies, town meetings, and even local sporting events. It once served as the meeting space for local fraternal organizations until the 1960s. One of the first of these was the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal order in line with the Freemasons. Because of this, it is often referred to as the Pythian Opera House. In 1977, The building was sold, and in 2005, it became solely a performance venue.

In a small room that once served as the meeting place for the Knights of Pythias, there is a window overlooking the street and a church. In that room, there is an old piano that was used during events held in the building.

Since 1949, even perhaps before, people have reported hearing the old piano playing by itself. The eerie sounds of the keys begin to echo throughout the building, but when investigated, there is no physical being in the room to manipulate the keys. Official reports of the ghostly music were documented in 1957 and then again in 1977 during a celebration held in the opera house. Both times, people in the building began to hear the sounds of the piano playing and went to see who was responsible for the concert. Upon entering the room, the music suddenly halted, and all was silent, with no one at the instrument.

No one is completely sure who the spirit responsible for ethereal music may be. Some say it is the spirit of Earl Cliff. Many believe Cliff, who played the piano for the theater program in the early 1900s, is now restless and angry over the many changes the house has gone through over the last century. He seems to return to relive the glory days of when the place was used for shows and he was the musician.

Cliff is not the only ghost roaming the opera house. There are others whose presence is often felt throughout the building. Those who have spent time in the place tell of a strange presence that often lurks about when they are alone after everyone else has gone home. Others feel the presence of the spirits even when there is a crowd in the theater. Although the spirits have been known to travel throughout the building, most of the disturbance is said to take place on the second floor.

Today, the theater serves as a performance space and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but that has not slowed down the paranormal activity. Perhaps the ghosts of the theater are remnants from glory days past, and the performers of many years ago continue to give an eternal encore. Maybe Cliff is in the wings, ever waiting for his cue to begin the songs that once made the place merry for the living but now turn it into a show for the long gone.