The Princess Theatre

February 20th, 2009

The Princess Theatre is located in the town of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. The current theatre was built in 1886, replacing the original theatre that was built in 1854. The Princess Theatre is actually the oldest theatre in all of Melbourne, and in 1922 there were renovations done, making it a lavish and extravagant place to view a show. The most unique design to the Princess Theatre was the installation of a sliding roof that slides open to provide ventilation during a show. The theatre has seen its share of famous performers and shows, but there is also a ghost that has been appearing nightly for many years.

On March 3rd, 1888, the final act of the show Faust was playing at the Princess Theatre. A baritone by the name of Frederick Baker was playing the role of Mephistopheles. During one of the scenes, Baker had to descend through a trapdoor in the stage while the character of Mephistopheles was going down to hell. During the descent, Baker suffered from a massive heart attack as he disappeared under the stage. The audience did not even realize what had happened at the time. Some of the staff brought him into the boardroom in hopes of stabilizing him, but there was nothing they could do.

Since that fateful night, the ghost of Frederick Baker has been seen in the Princess Theatre quite often. The staff of the theatre calls him Federici, since that was his nickname while he was alive. Some of the most often paranormal experiences of Baker’s ghost are the sight of a strange light hanging above the stage and dress circle, strange noises in the long and dark corridors, and constant accidents that include electronic malfunctions. Performers also report paranormal incidents, as they claim seeing the apparition of Frederick Baker walking passed them as they walk through the halls.

Federici is most often seen in the dress circle. He is seen dressed in nice clothes with a cloak and top-hat. He appears to be either sitting or standing, depending on the sighting, and always staring at the stage. It seems as though he is getting mentally prepared for another performance. On certain occasions, the ghost is seen sitting or standing for minutes on end, giving plenty of time for people to observe the spirit. Amongst the performance and staff of the Princess Theatre, the sight of Federici on the opening night of a show is taken as good luck. Therefore, there is always an empty seat in the dress circle for the ghost of Mr. Frederick Baker.

(Source: Belanger, Jeff. Encyclopedia of Haunted Places. 2005.)

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