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March 4, 1896: Hundreds gather to see a ghost

On this day in Duluth in 1896, 300 people showed up at the ruins of the Temple Opera House hoping to see the apparition of a beautiful young woman. On the first of March the Duluth News Tribune had reported that “the ghost of a young a beautiful woman haunts the ruins of the Temple Opera House.” The ghost had first been reported two weeks earlier by a man returning home from a meeting at the Odd Fellows’ Hall. He happened to look toward the ruins as he walked up Second Avenue East and saw something he at first thought was paper blowing in the wind but then approached the vision and “could distinctly see the figure of the woman. She was apparently young and rather good looking. Her long hair was unparted and streamed down her back. She was dressed in a long night robe and had appeared of having just been awakened from slumber.” But when he approached her, she vanished. The next night his sons visited the ruins and saw the same thing. Their story was corroborated by “several businessmen and a doctor” who would not allow their names to be printed even though they were “of unimpeachable veracity.” Neighborhood viewing parties soon formed, and the apparition was spotted twice on the previous Friday and Tuesday—and a police officer even said he had seen it on the Friday night. Some speculated it was a ghost of a woman who died in the fire that destroyed the Opera House, but no one was killed in the conflagration. When the crowd of 300 gathered at the ruins on Tuesday, March 4, she did not appear.

The Temple Opera House. (Image: Duluth Public Library)