The Ghost of a Lion Haunts the Howell Theater
There’s a decades-old excuse that schoolkids had for not handing in their assignments: “a lion ate my homework”. In the case of students that went to school in Howell, maybe it was an easier lie to tell than most.
The title of this post sounds silly, but keep reading...it'll make more sense.....possibly.
The Howell Theater has been around since the 1920s. It was constructed on land that once held an infirmary for wounded soldiers during the Civil War. The theater opened in 1928 with vaudeville shows, followed by stage plays and eventually movies.
There are the usual rumors of ghosts haunting the building: former employees, former patrons, etc. Shadowy human forms have been seen lurking in dark area, doors slam shut, voices and footsteps that seem to come from nowhere, being touched by unseen hands, and more. Paranormal investigators have concluded there is definitely something supernatural going on in there.
People would pay for a ticket in the guise of wanting to see a movie, but in actuality they hoped to witness something paranormal.
The oddest thing about the hauntings is this: one of the ghosts is a lion.
Yes, a lion.
Back in the theater’s early vaudeville days, a circus arrived to perform all sorts of animal acts on stage. One of these animals was a lion named Pete. Unfortunately, and for circumstances unknown, Pete died while the circus was still in town. What should they do with a huge body of a dead lion? Why, bury it out behind the theater, of course!
To this day, Pete the Lion still lies in an unmarked grave behind the theater…but he evidently doesn’t stay in the ground.
Investigators have had run-ins with Pete. They’ve seen the dark shape of a four-legged cat-like beast running up & down the aisles; low, lion-like growls have been heard; an animal shape leapt at one of the team members and vanished immediately; and audio has been recorded. One team member parked herself in a section where the lion was known to hang out and sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” to him. According to someone who witnessed this, “I was with (her) during this ghost hunt and she had a link to Pete. She spoke to him, sang to him and he responded! It was lovely to see a human bond with an animal especially the spirit of a big cat”.
Of all the places this circus lion had been during his lifetime, why does his spirit hang out here? Maybe you can find out for yourself, as annual ghost hunts take place thanks to The Portal Paranormal Society.
Check out the theater’s webpage!