There’s this theatre in the park that is known to be haunted.
The stories are quite outrageous from wild zoo-type animals to a satanic cult frequenting the area. Most people discount this by saying “Nothing has been substantiated.” Of course they’re going to say that, they have made a substantial investment in the property with their outrageous homeowners association fees.
I get really strange vibrations from this area, even when I’m driving by a block or two away. Now, there I am right in the middle of the property getting ready to step onto the stage. They were putting on a melodrama and needed a honky-tonk piano player. I wanted to ask what happened to their regular piano player, but knew I wouldn’t receive a straight answer. I also wondered where was everyone. The place looked disserted and I wasn’t sure I had the time right.
What I found strange was all the sound equipment cluttering up the stage.
“Just start playing,” I heard over a loud speaker. “We want to get a sound check.”
I started playing Tiger Rag by Jelly Roll Morton. The speakers behind me started vibrating and bouncing a bit on the stage. I stopped playing and looked around.
“Why did you stop?” demanded the voice over the speaker.
“The vibration of –”
“You’re being paid to play, not talk.” I began playing Chopin’s Nocturn. I started out slowly then put the off beat into the tune to give it a ragtime feel.
“Stop tapping your foot,” the disembodied voice bellowed through the speaker above me.
I didn’t think I was tapping my foot. I felt something behind me. I looked back and all the sound equipment was stacked up. The cords were wound around the legs of the piano bench.
I stood up, walked off the stage and continued walking out of the park and to my car. My cell phone rang as I leaned against my car to calm down
“Why did you leave?”
I answered the question with a question of my own, “Have you looked at the stage?”
“Well, no . . .”
“Where are you?” I asked.
He said he was in a remote location, but could hear what was going on. He had a camera that didn’t have a very wide field of vision except the area where I sat before the piano keyboard and the open panel of the upright piano. Behind me and the floor were out of the camera’s view.
Needless to say I wasn’t pleased by this arrangement and I let him know that either someone was there or the rumors that the stage was haunted were true. This seemed to be typical poltergeist behavior. No way was I returning to that stage.
It was obvious that the spirits didn’t want me or anyone else on that stage playing the piano.
I never heard what happened to make the piano player quit or if this particular melodrama was performed there or at another venue. I didn’t even know why the sound man wasn’t at the park. My friend, Barbara, set this gig up for me — not that I wanted it or needed it. I needed to contact her once I calmed down to get all the particulars of this situation.
On my way home, I had this strange craving for a hamburger and fries. The place I liked was on the other side of town — not that it’s that large of a town, but I didn’t know if I wanted to go that far. There were some old houses I needed to pass by and there was always something strange going on in that part of town — with the spirits and the traffic.
I also had an uncomfortable feeling there was something, not someone, but something in the back seat of the car. I didn’t dare turn around. There was no refection in the rearview mirror.
I decided to call Barbara and have her meet me or just barge in on her at home. Fortunately, she was home and invited me to visit.
That was a relief. I wanted to get out of the car as soon as possible.
Barbara had a smudge stick ready when I arrived. We went through my whole car, including the trunk and even smudged me. I was sure I picked up something at the theatre.
My craving for fast food was gone. The uncomfortable feeling of being watched was also gone. I was no longer upset with Barbara for the fiasco at the park.
“How did it go at the rehearsal?” she asked innocently.
I explained that no one was there except someone giving orders through a loud speaker and poltergeists playing games.
“Alicia said there was a full dress rehearsal and they needed a piano player.”
“Well, during the hour lag time between your call and my arrival at the park, plans were changed.”
I could now feel irritation towards Alicia, but Barbara was ahead of me. She had her on the phone demanding an explanation.
Alicia claimed to not have called Barbara. They had a piano player and their rehearsals were in the evening.
Was this a prank?
I remembered a group of paranormal researchers who asked me a month earlier to help them investigate the park and the theatre in particular. I flatly refused. Could they be behind this?
I was on the phone, “Hi Bob, how’s your research going at the theatre?”
Bob hedged, but eventually came clean. “Stuff always happens around you,” was his lame excuse.
“How did you stack up the sound equipment and wrap the cords and cables around the piano bench?”
“I didn’t do that, I was in the van and Pete was locked in the bathroom, backstage.”
They used me to fish out the poltergeists they believed to be causing all the trouble at the theatre. Pete was to record things from backstage, but he followed the sound of footsteps into the bathroom and got locked in. They got nothing for their efforts.
I never did see the entity that was in my car. I was just glad it was gone. I imagine it’s back at the park hiding in the shrubbery scaring people who are dumb enough to be walking around there.