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Friday, August 6, 2010

Is the Fresno Memorial Auditorium haunted?

The Fresno Memorial Auditorium in Downtown Fresno

There are rumors that the Fresno Memorial Auditorium, in downtown Fresno is haunted. Stories have been told since the early 1980's that one of the rehearsal areas was haunted.

Built between 1935 and 1936 and hosting everying from Broadway plays and musicals, concerts, and even the 1956 California Democratic Convention (the fact that a Democratic convention was even held in Fresno is weird enough given the staunch conservatism of the area), the auditorium was one of Fresno's most significant cultural facilities for over three decades until a new convention center was constructed. At that time changes were made to the auditorium and the most significant was a 500 seat theater (the original auditorium had rooms for 2000 people on the main floor and 1500 on the balcony). The new theater now occupied roughly two-thirds of the orignal space and the rest was used for rehearsal space.

It's this rehearsal area that is rumored to have some sort of paranormal activity. Not much is know really about the space except that people feel uneasy when they enter the rehearsal area. Perhaps there is some unseen presence that is there watching those that rehearse. Honestly it's hard to say and if I added anything more it would be pure speculation.

I believe the auditorium is open during the day. Perhaps I'll take a quick trip downtown one day and see if there is any truth to the rumors.


Bradley said...

I worked at Fresno Memorial Auditorium from 1988-92. Spent many late nights there working on lights and sets for Fresno Children's Playhouse. I would agree that the theater has paranormal activity. I was never fearful, but was quite unnerved by several experiences.

Anonymous said...

The theater doesn't really have any rehearsal rooms per se other than the main stage. Do they mean the small lobbies on either side of the main theater?

Steve said...

I LOVE this blog. But for historical political perspective, in the 1956 presidential election Fresno County voted 56% democrat to 43% Republican. Democrats were not always as liberal as they are today.
In the 1952, 56, 60, 64, and 68 elections, Democrats won in Fresno County. In San Francisco in 1956: Republican prevails. San Francisco was also the location of the Republican convention in 1956.

Michael said...

@Andy: Not sure what was meant. But according to when the auditorium was remodeled in 1966, the space that wasn't changed into the theater was used for rehearsal areas. I've never been, so I'm assuming this is the area you said are the lobbies?

@Steve: Thanks for the compliment. And for the history lesson. Interesting how things have changed since then.

Anonymous said...

The rear part of what had been the original theater audience area was used as rehearsal space (as well as storage space for the City of Fresno) before the Legion of Valor museum took it over sometime in the mid to late 90s. This area is behind where the lobby is now located. When I was involved with Children's Playhouse, we rehearsed in that area where the floor used to be, and above us was the old balcony, with all the seats gone and replaced by dozens of file boxes. Not creepy exactly, but certainly odd looking.


juliedegree33 said...

I rehearsed in those halls many a day & night. We wished something "paranormal" was amidst...