Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Falk Theatre

Tampa's historic Falk Theatre, located at 428 W Kennedy Blvd, has more going for it than just being a cool old building and a still-thriving performance venue operated by the University of Tampa. It's also the alleged home of the ghost of Bessie Snavely, an actress who, it's said, committed suicide by hanging herself here in a dressing room on the third floor, way back in the day when this was a vaudeville hall called the Park Theatre.

As is customary for such legends, everyone who has a ghostly anecdote of their own to tell about the theatre is convinced that it simply must be Bessie - if for no other reason than it "fits in" with the now-established mythology. It's the sort of reverse-engineered ghostbusting that occurs when someone first thinks a place is haunted, then sets about consulting the historical record until a story of some past tragedy on the premises is found, and then the inevitable "aha! that explains it!" sets in and takes root, spreading and thriving in the rich soil provided by the naivete of each subsequent generation.

Unfortunately, not only have I been unable to find any valid reason why any hauntings of this building should absolutely be ascribed to the ghost of Bessie Snavely, I can't even find any evidence that an actress by this name ever existed, let alone killed herself in the 1930s. If there is indeed a ghost in the Falk Theatre, try not to piss it off any more than it already is by crediting its spooky deeds to the wrong person.

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