Wednesday, 26 October 2016 13:45

Lyric Theatre a great place for Halloween-type stories

Written by  Joey Donnelly
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As the harvest season draws to a close and the darker half of the year begins, the boundary of this world and the next can be easily crossed, according to ancient lore.


I recently met a young university student from Ron Toles’ class interested in ghost stories at the Lyric Theatre.
Of course, tales of spirits and hauntings are common in old playhouses. Even last year, Canadian singer and songwriter Basia Bulat told the Lyric audience, “You can feel the ghosts here.”
While I have yet to encounter a genuine apparition, I told the student that there have been several reports of strange occurrences over the years.
This usually happens late at night when the audience has gone home and you’re the only one left in the theatre.
Many claim of hearing sounds of footsteps coming from the second floor and a worker recently swore she heard a pleading woman’s voice coming from upstairs.
For many decades, the second floor of the building was known as the Lyric apartments.
In October 1918, the city health department converted the floor into an isolation hospital during the Spanish Flu pandemic.
The outbreak had forced the closure of all public buildings and schools in Swift Current.
A nurse, Mrs. Lapp, was forced to care for all of the sick and dying families at the Lyric.
 “The city council is doing its best to cope with transient cases, and those families without nursing help — and the Lyric was filled yesterday, twenty six cases in bed,” wrote The Sun reporter in October 29, 1918.
“One or two families are confined here, which seems overdoing it. Mrs. Lapp certainly has her hands full but she’s getting along very well under the circumstances.”
The 1918 flu pandemic infected 500 million people worldwide, resulting in the deaths of 50 to 100 million, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.
If there are any tortured souls at the Lyric, they may linger from this period.
When I’m alone at the Lyric and I hear things go bump in the night, I think of Mrs. Lapp and her restless patients from 1918.
Perhaps she still roams the hallway, making sure everyone is sound asleep.
UPCOMING EVENTS:
Blenders has a set of incredible concerts in store for the Lyric starting with a special presentation of the Great Lake Swimmers with Megan Bonnell on Saturday, Oct. 29.
April Verch plays Blenders on Nov. 4, followed by Jayme Stone on Friday, Nov. 11 (blendermusic.ca).
On Nov. 12, Creek City releases their new CD, Chronicles.
The Lyric Theatre presents A British Pub Night on Nov. 26 and YukYuk’s on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Joey Donnelly is a journalist, folklorist and Lyric board member.

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