Woodland Opera House Documentary

Strange Phenomenon: Woodland Opera House from Rob Blake on Vimeo.

I was contacted by Rob Blake who put together the above documentary with friend Ray Tarara about the Woodland Opera House in Woodland, California.

The Opera House was designed in 1885 by Thomas J. Welsh for $28,000. It was the first opera house to serve the Sacramento Valley. Seven years later, a fire destroyed much of what is now the Downtown Woodland Historic District, including the Opera House. A fireman named William Porter died in this fire when a back wall collapsed on him. David N. Hershey purchased the site and the Opera House was rebuilt between 1895 and 1896 using many of the materials from the original building were used including some of the partially standing walls.

Over 300 touring companies had appeared on its stage. However, the growing popularity of motion pictures and a lawsuit filed by an event attendee who mistook a loading door for an exit, falling three feet and broke their arm, forced them to close its doors in 1913. It remained unused for many years, despite efforts made by some, until going through a $2 million restoration project. Woodland Opera House reopened its doors in 1989 and is still in operation today despite the ghost stories.

The above 40-min long documentary goes in depth about the Opera House's history and paranormal activity and includes a paranormal investigation done by Blake and a couple of friends. The information portion is done rather well. The background music compliments the stories being told.

However, it loses stride upon entering the investigation stage. It started with an evidence reveal to the Opera House employees from investigations two years prior. Two years seems a long time to sit on evidence, but their explanation of "disorganized" seems to quite fit. Their third night in Woodland wasn't so much of an investigation as it was attempts to experiment with Paranormal stimuli.

The first and second one was geared more toward a female performer known as the woman in white. They labeled her a Helena Modjeska only because a psychic who visited Woodland gave a name similar to this Polish stage actress and she is seen wearing white in some photos. Hundreds of touring companies performed at the Opera House. The "Woman in White" could be any number of actresses who once stood on that stage.

They set up a guitar, as musical instruments are known to play on their own, to see if any of the spirits might want to play it. Of course, they did hear like two notes coming from a guitar but don't show anyone checking the one they brought. Overall, I just think this could have been sooo much better. Hopefully, their documentary on the Gibson Mansion will be a step up from this one.


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