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By Kassie Barron
Special to the Citizen
It was several Christmases ago when I first knew there really was something to all the rumors that the Chief Theatre in Chiefland was haunted. It was during a rehearsal for A Little Christmas Spirit, in which I, Kassie Barron, played the daughter of the main character, as portrayed by Andy Kidd. I was waiting to go on stage, alongside Peggy Rowe and Michael Zubler, when Peggy turned around and said to me “Kassie, I didn’t know you used tobacco”. It was then that I smelled what seemed like a huge puff of tobacco smoke in my face. I told Peggy, “But I don’t use tobacco!” But then the smell was gone as soon as it came. There wasn’t anyone in the building at the time who used tobacco. It was at this time I became convinced that there is something to the rumors.
The history of the Chief Theatre is quite remarkable, having been opened as a movie theatre in the late 40s only to close in 1983 and go on to be used as a church, office space and then finally hosting the Suwannee Valley Players in 1998. Many of our local residents have fond memories of the theatre, having seen such greats as The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind there.
But just because a building is old, does that necessarily mean that it is haunted? According to Northeast Florida Paranormal Investigations team says the Chief Theatre is, in fact, haunted. The team certified it as haunted during the summer of 2011.
During its overnight investigation, NEFLPI determined that multiple spirits do reside in the theatre, which comes as no surprise to many of the volunteers. Over the years, volunteers have noticed many unexplained events, such as lights coming on by themselves and items being moved from one area to another.
Do you believe in hauntings? Please join us during the performance of The Haunting of Hill House October 25-27 and Oct 31 and Nov. 1 - 2. All performances begin at 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and the Sunday matinee is on Oct. 27 at 2:30 p.m. There will be no Sunday matinee the second week. On Halloween, audience members in full costume will receive a $1 discount on the their ticket price. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $8 for senior-youth (through 12th grade)-military. Tickets may be purchased in advance from Suwannee Valley Internet in Chiefland and Point of View in Fanning Springs. Seating may also be reserved through Becky Gill, who can be reached at 352-443-9096.
Shows are performed at the Chief Theatre 25 East Park Avenue. For more information you can leave a message by calling 352-493-ARTS or email us at SuwanneeValleyPlayers@gmail.com. You can also get information from our website SVPlayers.org or follow us on Facebook.