Regina Patillo was in the concession area of the Orange Community Playhouse a couple of years ago during a performance of “Dearly Beloved” when she saw the front door open about a foot, but no one came in. It was the first time anyone had seen that happen, but was not the first occurrence of something strange.

It couldn’t have been the wind because the door opens to the outside.

John Hall, a member of the OCP board said there have been many instances when talking could be heard, or the sound of footsteps running across the stage, yet there was no one there.

Brook Doss has heard music before and thought she had locked someone in the building, but upon investigation, it was empty.

Activity picked up after both Hurricanes Rita and Ike when the playhouse needed extensive repairs.

Patillo says that some of the actors feel a presence at times, “Bridgett (her daughter) was in the wings and thought John was behind her, but when she turned around, no one was there.”

The Texas Society of Paranormal Investigators (TSPI) was invited to check things out.
TSPI arrived armed with video and voice recorders, EMF meters, K-2s, and other equipment including Digital Dowsing’s Ovulis and Paranormal Puck.

Video cameras were placed in strategic areas, along with other equipment to measure electromagnetic fields and voice recorders to capture electronic voice phenomenon (EVPs). Then the dark comes – the wait – and the questions.

Noises were heard in the lobby, but no one was in there. Some noises could be accounted for as the wind, but others couldn’t.

A male voice was heard by one investigator, but no one else. There were only two men in the building and neither was in that area of the theater.

The video recorder in the wings that was near the voices stopped recording for some reason 19 minutes after a fresh tape was installed. The stopped camera wasn’t discovered until later.

A snippet of visual evidence was captured in the lobby. A camera was placed facing the front door that had been seen to open on its own. Another camera was placed in front of the door, facing the hall; where a black mass had been observed previously.

While reviewing the tape in the camera facing the hall, the camera facing the door turned off. Initially it was thought the camera ran out of tape. Several minutes later; a mist passed in front of the camera by the door looking as if it came from outside. The camera facing the door then turned back on. The incident happened over a period of 16 minutes. Later, a car passing the door was recorded, clearly showing the mist was not car lights.

In a subsequent investigation, Mike McCaskill, of Upshur Paranormal, said one of the entities hanging out at the OCP is actually a resident of the Holland Hotel. McCaskill, also a medium, says the woman told him she died in her room and it took a few days for her to be found. She hangs around the theater because, “she likes to sing.” The spirit denies being the one that opens the door. According to her, a male spirit is the culprit.

A member of the team also got the impression of three young girls. An unusual picture taken in the past by a member of the theater did show three girls.

Several EVPs were recently received resulting from that session; both male and female. Results do seem to substantiate claims of paranormal activity.

Pay attention the next time you go to a show at the Orange Community Playhouse, you never know what you might hear or see.

In the video below the faint mist comes from the right of the screen. It moves very fast to the left almost as if running. The clip has been edited for time from the light on the camera located on the snack bar going off, then coming back on after the mist passes through the lobby.

Also below are a couple of the EVPs from the theater.

Happy Halloween!

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.