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Haunted History: The Grand Oshkosh celebrates 140 years with ghost tours

Haunted history
Posted at 10:15 PM, Oct 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-22 23:15:58-04
  • This is the second year The Grand Oshkosh has offered ghost tours
  • The theater opened in 1883 as Grand Opera House, and since then has become a performing arts center, then a movie theater and back to a performing arts center
  • In that time, employees have passed down stories of ghosts in the building
  • The story goes that there are four benevolent ghosts that roam the theater, each representing a former employee or patron
  • Video shows the theater through the years, and a guest enjoying the family-friendly ghost tour for the first time

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

The Grand theater in Oshkosh dates back 140 years. I'm Karl Winter, and in that long history, the stories have only grown — stories of how the ghosts of former employees and patrons continue to live, or maybe haunt, right here in the theater.

As The Grand Oshkosh transitioned from an opera house in 1883 to a movie theater to the performing arts center it is today, its many employees have passed on tales.

"Through that, the ghost stories have started in the 1980s, 1970s," Community Relations Manager Emma Beckman said.

Now, theater fans like Sam Klaske can learn about the stories on family-friendly ghosts tours of the building.

"I've heard my mom and my nana talking about the ghosts here," Klaske said. "So I really wanted to check it out for myself."

As Emma Beckman leads the tours, she takes Sam and others from the main stage, to the balcony seats, to the basement — each home to a ghost, as the story goes.

"We have a total of four prominent ghosts at The Grand," Beckman said.

Sam liked a story about a pet ghost, which employees claim they can hear in the theater.

"My favorite one was about the owner's dog," Klaske said. "I think that was pretty cool."

"You'll hear his little footsteps running back and forth," Beckman said.

The lights are a bit more eerie on the regular tour. But on this one, Sam says she wasn't worried.

"It wasn't too scary because I know they wouldn't hurt me," Klaske said. "Otherwise then I probably would've been scared."

The Grand has spooky events for the remainder of the month, including another family-friendly ghost tour day on Sunday, October 29.