The Student Voice of Coastal Carolina University



Wheelwright Auditorium: More than stage fright

Ghosts rumored to haunt its halls, cause more delight than fright to guests
Trent Fitch
The “Ghost Lights” in Wheelwright auditorium.

Numerous plays, concerts and other performances have taken center stage at the Wheelwright Auditorium over the years; but occasionally, the performers and patrons who sometimes roam the building are of a spiritual nature. 


The Wheelwright Auditorium was dedicated to John Wheelwright in 1981, after being built in the late ‘70s by local architects, to help bring a performing arts center to Horry County. However, it has gone through multiple renovations since 1999 to upgrade the lighting, sound system and overall aesthetics and cosmetics. Still, a new coat of paint does not cover up the fact it has a small history of paranormal activity. 


A campus shuttle driver for 10 years, Thomas LaMore, has heard a lot about this activity from several students over the years while on his route. 


“I just know, you know, rumors. Not like anyone has seen ghosts or anything like that,” LaMore said, “just a weird hair standing on the back of the neck.” 


There is little lore and explanation to the story of the hauntings, but reports have stemmed from ghostly footsteps and coughing upstairs, the eyes in all the paintings eerily following people in the lobby and objects vanishing or being moved backstage. 


Marc McIntyre, director of scheduling and event services, has worked at Coastal Carolina University for 22 years and mentioned never having a paranormal or unexplainable experience, but still heard about the theater’s ghost stories. 


“I’m not surprised at all that people have those stories and have those thoughts,” he said. “If you’re not familiar with the space, you hear something and your imagination takes over. Especially theater folks, and I am guilty of being one myself, have fairly exact imaginations that are a little more fanciful then factual.” 


Most theaters, including Wheelwright, have supernatural traditions to prevent misfortune from befalling cast, crew and audience members. One is the ghost light, where a single lamp gets left on each night after closing, both to expel negative energy while also allowing positive energy to thrive. There is enough light for ghosts to put on their own productions in the dark. 


Sophomore political science major Kathryn Jackson worked for the theater’s event staff and recalls her memories. 


“We have happy ghosts who love the theater,” she said. 


Theaters also have all kinds of hidden places and any number of moving parts making noise, which the public do not fully get to see or recognize. 


“You’ll see a couple people coming in here that may have had other experiences,” Megan Archer, sophomore theatre major, said. “But, so far, so good for me. I haven’t had any things happen yet.” 


Noises in the dark can simply cause imagination to start filling in the blanks as a more fun substitution for reasoning, but that cannot always work when dealing with the paranormal. 

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