Haunted: Albert Taylor Theatre

Haunted: Albert Taylor Theatre

Bayleigh Williams, Writer

We all know that Millikin is haunted, but some of us don’t know which places are teeming with ghosts. One place in particular that is known to be quite haunted is the Albert-Taylor Theatre located on the second floor of Shilling Hall.

As the story goes, there is a vengeful ghost known as “Rail Girl” who haunts the theatre. All who don’t take her seriously pay for their mistakes. Due to Rail Girl’s spiteful nature, production crews make sure to put three pieces of candy on the rail for her.

However, most people still don’t know why she chooses this theatre in particular as her home. One theory is that she died there, falling from the box seats that used to be where the rail is today, crashing down into the seats below.

“She apparently was the daughter of a construction worker when they were renovating Albert-Taylor Theatre. I guess she was playing on the balcony and fell,” sophomore theatre major Annie Magan said.

Today, the rail holds lights for the shows. Most of those who encounter Rail Girl are crew members who have to work with the lighting and sound. Sophomore theatre major Blake Murphy was one of those crew members who dealt with Rail Girl’s wrath.

“The run crew for Blood Wedding [last year] was talking about Rail Girl stories, and when I went to turn the sound board on, all the cues were exed off,” he said.

Clearly, people can’t talk ill about Rail Girl or talk about her for very long at all. In the past, theatre students have seen tools and props disappear and levitate, heard a girl crying, and witnessed malfunctions during the show.

Rail Girl is also known to be rather territorial and will do just about anything to get students’ attention if need be. Magan and another student experienced this last year as they were organizing Albert-Taylor’s lighting booth.

“We started hearing this music box and we were a little freaked out, because we were the only ones in the theatre,” Magan said. “The other girl put on some music from her phone and we kept working and just ignored it.”

After that, it was silent save for their music and talking. The door to the lighting booth was closed and the stairs leading up to the booth were noisy enough to let them know if someone was approaching.

Suddenly, as they were preparing to leave, they heard something.

“We heard really loud creaking, as if someone was walking up the steps of the booth. We were the only ones in the theatre, so we were like, ‘Okay, time to leave,’” Magan said.

Then, when she opened the door, there was no one there. Magan said rushed to her backpack in fear.

“I don’t know if Rail Girl can read minds or whatever, but as soon as I thought, ‘I need to get out,’ there was this giant slam or stomp right behind me and then I bolted out,” she said.

Not only is Rail Girl territorial and vengeful, she is aggressive. Magan’s encounter was not the first time that a student had been threatened.

In 1999, one theatre student and Rail Girl skeptic got the breath knocked out of her. According to an account from “Haunted Decatur,” she was walking down the lighting booth stairs when her ankles were grabbed by hands that seemed to come out of the staircase.

“I distinctly felt someone’s hands and fingers, and I immediately looked down. I assumed that it was someone’s bad idea of a joke… But there was no one there,” she said.

So, what does Rail Girl even look like? “Haunted Decatur” reports that the first sighting of her was by a theatre student in 1998.

“She was a small girl with brown hair, and she was wearing a white dress with a pink tie around it,” she said. “I couldn’t begin to say how old she was, but I would guess somewhere around 7 or 8 years old.”

As the Halloween percussion concert is coming up in the Albert-Taylor Theatre, be on the lookout for anything suspicious… Like a little girl in a white dress.