24 Nov 2014
Ghost said to inhabit Powers Auditorium
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) - Last Monday, WYTV 33 News anchor Stan Boney toured Powers Auditorium in downtown Youngstown.
During the visit, he was told that a ghost can often be felt throughout the building. His name is Roy and his spirit can be traced back to a Saturday in 1969. Terry Fetchet has felt him.
Fetchet has spent most of his life working in theaters, including 20 years at Powers Auditorium, with the last eight years spent as operations manager. Set off to the side of the stage is what is called a ghost light. It is to make sure no one falls off the stage, but it also has a secondary purpose.
“We always say that the ghosts don’t like to be in the dark as well, so every theater, wherever you go, has one,” Fetchet said.
So if there is a ghost light at Powers Auditorium, does that mean the theater has a ghost?
“Yeah actually, Roy, who died I think in 1966 on stage. And he floats around,” Fetchet said.
Fetchet had two of the three facts right. There was a man named Roy who died on stage, but it was on Sept. 6, 1969. Newspaper reports at the time said his name was Roy E. Dennis, 36, of Belmont, W. Va.
In February 1968, what was then the Warner Theater was closed. A $250,000 donation by Edward Powers saved the theater from demolition, but before it could reopen an extensive renovation was undertaken. Two weeks before opening night was when Roy Dennis was killed.
“He fell from the grid, which is 75 feet in the air, and plummeted on stage,” Fetchet said.
Two companies were working on the renovation and neither would claim Roy Dennis as an employee. Someone one the scene said “I don’t know what he was doing there,” according to a newspaper article.
But Fetchet said Roy has never left.
He is not a scary ghost. But you can feel his presence late at night, especially if you are up in the spotlight areas. Or working by yourself. You can just, you get that, you can feel that cool breeze kind of thing,” he said.
In the spotlight area of Powers, among the theater graffiti, there is an outline of a ghost. It could be Roy.
There is a picture of his tombstone at Willow Island Baptist Church Cemetery in Pleasants County, W. Va. So we can now put a face to the man who lives on as a ghost at Youngstown’s Powers Auditorium.