The Haunting of the Albert Taylor Theatre 

Photo courtesy of Millikin University

Photo courtesy of Millikin University

Decatur, Illinois has a book about it titled, “Haunted Decatur.” It is dedicated to unraveling and sharing the mysterious paranormal activity that seems to be plaguing the small town, and if you ask anyone on Millikin’s campus, that be teachers, upperclassmen and any other faculty, they’ll admit that the university has not escaped the town’s paranormal reputation.

Stories of strange occurrences and unexplainable events are riddled in the school’s history, but one place in particular seems to be the most haunted; The Albert Taylor Theatre.  

 The story goes that a young girl died while playing on the railings in the theatre, which would be the reason for her later being called “Rail Girl,” and that ever since then the theatre has been haunted.

A while after the girl’s unfortunate death, mishaps began occurring during performances and rehearsals, such as actors being pushed off of the stage and lighting not executing properly.

Because of this, a tradition has been formed that still holds true to this day. In order to appease the young girl’s spirit, those using the theatre must put out a bowl of candy. 

 That’s the story we’re told, but do you know the origins of the girl, or how she looks? Well, let’s dive into that.

The Albert Taylor Theatre has been remodeled a multitude of times, spanning from 1939 to 2006. However, according to “Haunted Decatur,” the first sighting of Rail Girl was made by a theater student in 1998, so we can assume the incident I’m about to talk about occurred between 1939 to 1998.  

 We know that a young girl between the ages of 8 and 9 was the daughter of a construction worker who was helping to renovate the theatre. While her parent wasn’t looking, the young girl made her way up to the railings and fell to her death. The student who claimed to have seen the girl said that Rail Girl “was a small girl with brown hair, and she was wearing a white dress with a pink tie around it.”  

 While her story is among the many ghost stories that Millikin hosts, hers seems to stand out the most and captivate every class to come through Millikin’s halls. The only advice I can give this spooky season is, if you’re entering the Albert Taylor Theatre make sure you bring a “housewarming gift.”