This ghost story takes Carthage readers across the state line to the historic Fox Theatre in Pittsburg, Kan.
There have been countless stories told of strange happenings at the theater. Some of which have been experienced by Sarah Jensen, public relations and marketing director for the Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation. Dedicated to the restoration of the theater, she helps with the daily process of its refurbishment and organizes events. Throughout the year, the theater hosts movie events, and there is a vision to restore the establishment to an art film house which would bring daily shows of independent, classic and foreign entertainment. Utilizing the small stage, the theater could also host live concerts.
For the past six years around the Halloween season, Jasper Haunts, a paranormal investigation group originally based out of Joplin, has guided many willing (living) souls through the theater and communicated with spirits – some living, some not, under the direction of Carthage resident Nick Cory.
“It is understood in the theater community that all theaters have ghosts,” Jensen said. “Everyone has a different experience when they come here. We are very committed that this isn't a spook house. And our experience with Nick is that people are impressed with his professionalism and the position he takes to bring a positive experience to everyone. It makes it all the more enjoyable and interesting.”
The evening starts with some storytelling. Jensen and Cory told guests, who had traveled from all across the area, of the theater's history, then its enchanting reputation.
“I come for the channeling, and to support my brother, Nick, and it raises funds for the theater,” said Jaime Cory, of Carthage, who held a video camera for most of the evening. “I enjoy it – it's fun. It shows us sometimes that there really are ghosts and there is life after death.”
Cory and Jensen told guests that during the last year's event, everyone heard footsteps and objects moved across the stage when no one was there. Vonnie Corsini, executive director of the foundation, said some visitors of the theater were not so entertained.
“The electrical workers who were down in the basement were terrified,” she said. “One man came up to the office and said 'we'd prefer to just tell you that we're leaving and have you shut off the light when we're done.'”
Even though ghostly encounters aren't for everyone, Corsini said theater leaders feel just fine.
“I think the spirits are thrilled that we're here and restoring the theater,” she said. “They have seen the theater neglected for so long – I think they want it to succeed.”
About Fox Theatre
Page 2 of 2 - In 1920, The Colonial was conceived, owned, and operated by the Pittsburg Amusement Company, which also operated the Mystic and Klock theatres in Pittsburg. Local architects designed the building in accordance to styles established in large cities. According to The Pittsburg Daily Headlight, the Colonial Theatre is "constructed along the same lines as the Isis in Kansas City." Six years later, the theater was remodeled. In 1930, the Pittsburg Amusement Company leased the Midland and Colonial to the Fox Kansas Theatre Company.
A fire damaged the theater in 1942, forcing the doors to close for renovations for two months.
After more additions through the 1950s, the Colonial becomes known as the Fox Theatre.
In 1983, the Fox Theatre closed and remained vacant for more than 20 years.
Finally, in 2007, the theatre was purchased by the Colonial Fox Theatre Foundation and was accepted to the Register of Historic Kansas Places. Renovations are continuing this day.
For more information, or to contact the theater, visit www.colonialfox.org, and, or find the establishment on Facebook.