Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Paranormal Witness: Capitol Theater Haunting" EP 203

Police Officers recounting strange phenomena at Salt Lake City's Capitol Theatre. 

Officer Dave Murphy had always dreamed of being a police officer since he was a child. He finally fulfilled his life-long dream by becoming a police officer with the Salt Lake City County Sheriff’s Department.  His first assignment is to work in the Protective Service’s Division. His job was to watch over numerous county facilities. The location of his first assignment was the Capitol Theatre. On his first day on the job, Officer Murphy meets Officer Mathews, his training officer. 

Officer Mathews showed him the theater and Murphy said that he loved seeing the theater. Although he was rookie, he was eager to learn and to work. Mathews gives Murphy a tour of the theater and they start off in the control room containing all the surveillance footage of the theater.  Mathews shows Murphy the rest of the theater full of dressing rooms and maintenance rooms; there was also a basement room nicknamed “the catacombs”. Murphy’s job would be to check every room to make sure no one was in there, turn the lights off and to make sure all the doors were locked. Murphy sensed that there was something Mathews was holding back but didn’t think much of it and began his job. What he didn’t know was he was going to be opened up to a new world that they didn’t teach him at police academy….

AUG 9, 2006 (9:30PM) - Officer Murphy decided to go in by himself to secure the facility. Murphy was going upstairs on the 3rd floor of the west stairwell after the building had been locked down. Meanwhile, Officer Mathews was in the control room. Murphy made his way down to the rehearsal rooms and sticks his head in quickly to check the room. Everything was good. All the sudden, a door behind him slammed. Murphy ran into the mens’ bathroom to survey the place. Murphy recalls the door was on a hydraulic hinge, making it impossible to cause the door to slam. Murphy radios Mathews and tells him someone was still in the building. Mathews immediately rushes to Murphy’s location. Both men draw their weapon as they proceed to the restroom. As Murphy walks into the bathroom, he recalls getting a sickening feeling. Murphy experiences goosebumps and feels a freezing cold air overwhelm him. He recalls feeling a sense of evil in the air. Both officers think that the intruder is hiding in the bathroom stalls and standing on the toilet seats so their feet cannot be seen; the officers kick in the bathroom stalls but no one was in there. The officers then proceed to the second floor and notice that the doors are unlocked and the lights are turned on. Murphy explains to Mathews that he did secure all the rooms. After not seeing anyone in the bathroom and also seeing some of the rooms weren’t fully secured, Murphy felt like he messed up big time. However, Mathews was empathetic as he himself had experienced unexplained phenomena in the theater…although he didn’t let Murphy know that right away. “I didn’t tell him because I had to think about my credibility as his training officer,’ Mathews explained. 

Deputy Murphy, armed and ready for the unknown
AUG 11, 2006 (07:45PM) - Mathews is in the control room when he hears voices. He felt he heard conversations going on behind him, like people were whispering, wanting to keep it private. He turns around and there's no one there. He investigates and his adrenaline begins kicking in. He's convined something or someone is messing with him. He went into the basement and there are no more voices. There was no windows, no street access so it was like a cave. He then smells something. He smells smoke. He says it was a constant smell in the theatre. "You feel someone is playing mind tricks on you and you begin to question yourself," he says of his experiences.

Deputy Mathews, wondering who...or haunting the theater
 SEP. 04, 2006 (04:00PM) - Murphy arrives at the theater waiting for his shift to start. He sees a man standing at the hall talking to 2 women. Murphy hears the man say the word "ghost". This peeks Murphy's interest so Murphy approaches the man, introduces himself and asks if he can talk to the man. The man is Blair Fuller and he worked in one of the offices in the theater. Fuller invites him to the office and explains what happened to him one night. He's working around 9-10pm in the evening when he heard the elevator. "Just outside our main office is an elevator and the motor kicks's a pretty loud noise. I'm there in the building alone so I was surprisd to hear the elevator moving at night," Fuller explains. "The elevator reached to our floor and I hear the elevator alarm, which signals the door has been open a good 30-40 seconds."  Fuller decides to see what is going on and whose there. He saw no one blocking the elevator door. He thought it was an elevator malfunction so he goes in the elavator. All the sudden, the elevator door closes and the button pushes to the basement. He gets to the basement, the door opens and ther is no one in the hallway and further investigates. "I was very alone...and very nervous at that point in time". Fuller decides to go back to the elevator and go back up to this office. "It gets even stranger though" Fuller said. All the sudden, Fuller sees all the desk drawers in the other room open and close at the same time by themselves. Murphy felt comfortable talking to Fuller and hearing his experiences. "It was good talking to Fuller," Murphy said. "Because I thought I was going crazy!". Later on, when both Mathews and Murphy were on duty, Murphy gets the courage to ask Mathews if he’s experienced anything strange in the theatre. Mathew then confesses to Murphy that this strange activity has been going on since day one. 

Blair Fuller's scary night at the office
Murphy then remembers his good friend Greg, who Murphy said "could see things and people no one else can". Mathews approves of inviting Greg. Murphy then called up Greg and invited him to the theatre; However, Murphy didn't tell him anything about the place or the experiences. As the officers and Greg are investigating the theatre, Greg sees many people standing there. The officers were oblivious and couldn't see anything. Greg then tells the officers, "you didn't tell me this place was haunted". Greg and officers went into the dressing room and they notice one of the doors is open a good foot. All the sudden, the door slams. Both officers reach for their weapons. Then they witness the door handle starting to rattle. They all hear and see something physical happening. They survey the room and nothing is there. "They were both very rattled at that point" Greg says. Greg then hits the "hot spot" where Mathews always smells the smoke. Greg asks if there's been a fire in this building. They ask him why he asked. Greg said he smelled smoke. Greg then sees a young man in a corner. Both officers can't see anything. Despite not being able to see anything, both Mathews and Murphy felt validation after Greg's visit and knew that there was something there that was haunting them. 

SEP 16, 2006 (10:00PM) - Mathews is on duty. After Greg left, "things got more crazy". Interestingly enough, the county installed infrared security cameras so the officers can see what is going on in the dark. Mathews is in control and he notices there is something sitting in the rows. Mathew maximizes the screen and sees a figure sitting on the row, looking like "he's enjoying a show". All the sudden, the man disappears. There's nothing. As Mathews looks closer at the screen, the strange entity then shoots across the screen as he's "growling". From that point on, Mathews wouldn't work in the theatre for a fear that whatever was in there was demonic. “I didn’t want to deal with it anymore,” he said. Meanwhile, Murphy is now going to have to go to his duties solo. Murphy always felt comfortable with backup and knowing someone would come to his aid when he needed it. “Now at this point, I have no one to back me up,” Murphy said. When Murphy would conduct his duty, lights turned back on, doors would open. Murphy said his job was to feel secure but at that point, he didn't feel secure at all.

Don't look TOO closely...
Murphy is in the control room when he hears what he describes as "ragtime" music. He knows nothing is going on but once again, checks the building. The music wasn't coming from the auditorium. Murphy makes his way down to the east side stairwell and the music gets louder. Murphy comes around the corner and figured he would catch a prankster on the piano. But as Murphy goes in the room...there's no one there. He opens up the piano cover. Then, it shuts down by itself in front of Murphy's eyes. Murphy feels he sees more than he has to and decides he didn't want to see anymore. He went to his Sergeant and said that if he was assigned  there ever again, he will quit.

NOV 26, 2006 (09:00PM) - Officer Josh Thomas, with 5 years of service under his belt, was assigned to the protective services division. The first time he worked at the theater, he was working downstairs in the basement area and cleared the building. Murphy was out on patrol at night and called Thomas to check on him. Now at this point, Thomas can see the elevator moving. Murphy, immediately sensing what it was, races over to the theater. Meanwhile, the elevator one is inside. Murphy, although had no desire to go back in, meets Thomas at the exit door. Thomas, wide eyed, explains to Murphy no one was there. Both cops go in with guns draw to once again, survey the scene. Thomas looks in the mirror and sees something run by them. Both deputies decide to cover the stage doors. Thomas goes one one side of the stage door, Murphy the other. Thomas hears a whisper and thinks it's Murphy. Then as Thomas looks at Murphy, Thomas notices there's something behind Murphy. Murphy turns around slowly....nothing there. Thomas sees a what he describes as “a figure with deep sockets”. Murphy  then wants to find out what these beings are. Murphy tries to talk to the staff but got no information. As Murphy was leaving the theatre, a man came up to him. He handed him a piece of paper and said “contact this man if he's still alive” 

Doug Morgan telling Murphy of his days working as an usher
Doug showing a picture of the aftermath of the fire
The man is Doug Morgan, a stage hand who had worked there for 40 years. Murphy decides to contact Doug, visit him and explains to him all the stories about what happened to him and the other officers. Doug tells him of a new usher named Richard Duffin who went back into the building to help the survivors. Richard was trapped in the basement and lost his way. Sadly, Richard died in the fire. "He was overcome by smoke as he tried to help these people get out" Doug explained. "I think Duffin was a very brave man". It was then that Murphy truly felt Doug Morgan completely verified everything Murphy and the other officers saw and witnessed. 

Actual article about Richard Duffin...thanks, Google!
"I've been told by other officers to keep your mouth shut but no...I couldn't....,” Murphy said. “I had to prove them wrong. I know what I saw and felt. These things...they are a part of my life now".

Janes Notes: First off, my hat goes off to Officer Murphy, Officer Mathews, Officer Thomas and the rest of those that serve under the badge at the SLC County Sheriff's Department. Say what you want about the police but I respect what they do because they have an incredibly hard job that many few can do. Thank you, officers for your service! Now onto the recap....

I must say, this episode has been the best as far as "scare factor" goes. I actually jumped when they showed the recreated scene of the demonic face that popped on the surveillance camera. I also liked how they brought in Murphy's friend to help confirm their stories.I did a little google search and it turns out, there was a small fire backstage at the theater in 2010. The article for it can be found here. The security officer managed to put it out in time and prevented another fire disaster. According to the article, " Investigators say this fire was caused by curtain draped over a ladder that was leaning up against a light powered by a generator." Granted, the way the fire started is very logical. However, I wonder with the amount of paranormal activity that's gone on in the building because of a fire disaster that occurred in the 1940s, did the fire and smoke trigger even more paranormal activity? How would the fire and smoke trigger the spirit of Richard Duffin? 

Picture Credit: SyFy, Flickr 

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