Paranormal Happenings Fuel Local Ghost Story
Upon entering the Henderson Civic Theater, the spookiness is almost unmistakable. With the crumbling brick forming the walls and the creaky floorboards making up the stage, the performance area seemed like the perfect setting for a horror film from my first steps into the building as a six-year-old on a tour with Full Armor Christian Academy. Years passed, and soon I became involved in my first production, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, and the night of one of the first practices was close to Halloween. The entire cast and crew gathered around for board president Jason Martin to tell the story of Daphne, the ghost of the Henderson Civic Theatre.
As the story goes, Henderson Civic Theatre was once not a theatre at all, but a business building. Prominent figures in town such as an OB/GYN held office floors in the building. This particular doctor worked on the third floor, and a pregnant patient of his named Daphne was scheduled for an appointment. She made it to the third floor for her appointment and waited patiently for her time. Eventually, the doctor was ready and they all walked into the office on the third floor. And, according to legend, the floor caved, and Daphne, her unborn child and the doctor crashed through every floor, landing at the base of what is now the theater’s stage. Daphne, her child and the doctor all perished and haunt the theatre to this day.
Daphne most often appears in a white dress and usually gets blamed for whatever goes wrong with productions at HCT.
“During Little Women, a broach went missing and Talon and her friend asked Daphne if she would please give it back,” local actress April Pettigrew said. “Not two minutes later, they found the broach in the jewelry bag after they had looked in it twice before.”
If anything breaks in a weird way, it was obviously Daphne.
“I was in rehearsal for a melodrama, and I was leaning up against the wall built on the stage and there were some wood planks to make it seem like a cabin,” local actress and director Taylor Baxter said. “I walked away from the wall towards the middle of the stage. One of the planks of wood near where I was just standing flew off the wall. It didn’t just fall; it flew several feet towards me and landed next to me.”
Any creepy whispers heard while alone in the theater late at night? Clearly Daphne.
“I heard someone whisper my name in my ear, but I was the only person in the 4 person cast that wasn’t on stage so I turned expecting to see the stage manager,” local actress Michelle King said. “When I turned, no one was there. A few seconds later, I heard it again, but a little louder. Still no one. I heard that whisper in my ear 5 more times before my entrance. When I went on stage, I whispered, ‘Bye, Daphne’ and I heard a giggle as I walked on stage.”
I, as someone who has spent plenty of time at the theater, am probably a bit biased toward a belief in Daphne, but whether you believe in her or not, Henderson’s own spooky season ghost story makes for an interesting twist on the history of our little town. I’d say that if things get too out of hand with her that the theater personnel should consider doing something, but…
Who ya gonna call?