THE GUTHRIE THEATER
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Theaters are some of the most often haunted places in America. A theater seems to attract spirits for many reasons, one of which involves the extremes of human emotions that are left behind there. These residual emotions can sometimes attract spirits that are unrelated to the building, who come there because of the energy that is left behind. Other theater spirits are simply images of the past that have left an impression on the surroundings... acting out the same scenes for years to come and having no conscious thoughts.

Another type of theater ghost is that of the staff member or actor who stays behind... either because they have a deep love for the place, or because of some tragic event that causes them to linger.

This is the type of ghost who haunts the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. This old opera house has long been reportedly haunted by one of it's former staff members, an usher named Richard Miller. The awkward boy was a stranger and had few friends and eked out a lonely existence at the theater in the late 1960's. He attended the University of Minnesota but was something of a loner and a misfit. His many years of loneliness and despair came to an end in 1967. On Saturday, February 5, Miller walked to a local Sears store and purchased a pistol and shells. Then, he went to his car in the parking lot, put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. He died instantly but his body was not discovered until the following Monday morning.... no one had missed him.

Miller had been wearing his Guthrie Theater usher's uniform when he died and within a few weeks of his death, patrons in Miller's formerly assigned section of the theater began complaining to the management of an usher who walked constantly back and forth during the shows. The patrons described Miller right down to the large mole on his cheek.

Since then, dozens of patrons, other ushers, staff members, actors and custodians have seen Miller walking back and forth along Row 18, his assigned area. He has also been spotted in the catwalks of the theater, the section of seats called the Queen's Box and many other places.

The ghost is said to follow witnesses with his eyes or by moving his head but he has never spoken or made a sound. An exorcism was performed there in 1994 and it was said to have placated his spirit, but no one knows for sure. Apparently, the lonely and tragic young man simply had nowhere else to go.

The Guthrie Theater is located at 725 Vineland Place in Minneapolis, opposite the sculpture garden in the Loring Park area in the southwest part of the city. Richard Miller is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

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