Discovery Channel Investigates Reports of Ghost In Granbury, Tx Opera House

Photo Collage of Granbury Opera House from a Book Written by Joe L. Nutt

Granbury Opera House in the 1980's. Still looks pretty much the same today.
Granbury Opera House in the 1980s. Still looks pretty much the same today.
The Opera House Dorm in the 1980's. This now looks a bit different.
The Opera House Dorm in the 1980s. This now looks a bit different.
The "Green Room" from around the 1980's. It sits behind the Opera House.
The "Green Room" from around the 1980s. It sits behind the Opera House.
Construction being done inside the Opera House during the 1970's.
Construction being done inside the Opera House during the 1970's.
Photo of the location of the Opera House now, taken around the turn of the century.
Photo of the location of the Opera House now, taken around the turn of the century.

The Discovery Channel Film Crew Comes to Town

During the weekend before Aug. 19th, 2009, and until late the following Monday night, a 24 member film crew, including light and audio equipment operators, were in Granbury, Texas to investigate reports of a ghost at our beloved Opera House on Granbury's Historic square. Most of us who have lived here for a long time, especially people who have worked at the Opera House, have known about our ghost. My husband worked at the Opera House several years back, and he had a few "supernatural experiences" while he was there. The Discovery Channel was here gathering information, along with audio and visual "proof" for what was explained as a series of hour long episodes that will be shown on PBS, starting in October. The name of the show was not given, but the shows executive producer is Alan LaGarde of New York.

Along with the film crew, paranormal investigators from the San Antonio, Tx area were brought along, which is also where the recording crew is based, although LaGarde did say that the idea for the investigation, along with the idea for the the show itself, which will involve one or two sites per episode, was presented to him by paranormal investigators from all over the country. So it has been a group effort, involving others from New York and Louisiana. Granbury's Opera House "ghost" will be only one of several sites that are being investigated and filmed for the show. I can't wait until October, and will be watching PBS constantly, so I can record or watch the shows and see what all they picked up on at the Opera House. Seems that they hit "pay dirt" here, picking up some "unexplained shadows and sounds" that they couldn't explain with a logical explanation!

Many of the folks strolling around our historic square, enjoying the nifty boutiques and shopping downtown, noticed both the film crew and the sign placed outside the Opera House about the filming, and stopped to ask questions. Some were invited to be audience members for part of the filming and a chance to be on TV. So several of our hometown people got to be in on all the excitement.

While they were here, the Executive Producer, LaGarde also talked with several of the long-term employees of the Opera house, and they filled him in on their own personal encounters with the ghostly presence. Charlie McIlvaine, a member of the Granbury Convention and Visitors Bureau here, was quoted in the paper as saying that this is the first time that real "ghost hunters", as he called them, have ever come to visit our town for an investigation. Our local economy got a bit of a boost also, with the extra visitors in town, staying in our hotels and of course, they had to eat, and we have a lot of restaurants in town. Whether you want fast food, Chinese, or Mexican food, we have it here! We also have a wonderful, more upscale Japanese style restaurant in town called Miyako's that has wonderful sushi as well as the traditional cooking tables. A bit more pricey than some of the others, but well worth the money in my opinion. I digress, though. Happens when I think about food... I think after they finished filming here, they were going to head for the Fort Worth Stockyards, but I am not positive about that.

A Personal Experience With the Ghost Per My Husband

As I mentioned earlier, before getting side-tracked by food, my husband worked at the Opera House several years ago. I asked him if he had experienced any strange things while there, and sure enough, he had! He told me about cold spots in certain parts of the building, where they had not been cold moments before, plus, when he was there alone, the "last call" light would be left on, but when he would do his final walk through, the light would be off! Prop lights would go off and come back on by themselves, and more than once, while in the balcony alone, he would hear footsteps that sounded right behind him. He even says that the men's urinal would sometimes flush when no one was in the bathroom...odd! Once during a performance of "Dracula", of all things, the stage lights got particularly cranky, coming on and going off when they weren't supposed to, and the lighting guy got really upset and said the ghost wouldn't leave his lighting equipment alone during the show. Nothing bad ever happened, and they never felt like the presence was an evil one, but they would talk to it when things would happen out of the ordinary, and basically ask it to please leave things alone so they could get on with their show. The spookiest thing that my husband experienced happened on another night when he was there alone, closing up, and he swears he heard the ghost very clearly say his name! It only happened once, but he has of course never forgotten it. Every night when leaving the Opera House for the night, they usually told the "ghost" goodnight, and sometimes would ask it to look out for the place while they were gone. My husband and his co-workers had a lot of other things that occurred almost every night they were there. They couldn't tell if the presence was a male or female, even when it supposedly spoke to my husband, he just says it was a voice he had never heard before.

There is a ton of history behind the Opera House and that particular location. If I am not mistaken, I think in the "old days" it may have been a saloon, and I have heard there are still bullet holes in the rocks in the interior walls, so there is no telling what has happened there during it's long history. The Opera House itself was originally built in the 1800's, and like I said, I am a bit unsure of what exactly was there before, but looking at some of the old photos, it appears it either was a saloon, or one was right next door or a couple of doors down. Our whole square, and many of the older homes and bed and breakfast homes in town have Historical Markers. We also now have much newer accommodations here, including a Hilton with a conference center and a newly renovated city beach, complete with imported sand, palm trees and a tiki hut concession stand. So, if you decide to come to the Opera House, whether just to catch a great show (and they do a fantastic job there!), or just come to check out the square and maybe a ghost or two, this is a nice place come and relax.

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Comments 9 comments

Hailey Hatfield 3 years ago

There are quite a few haunted places along Granbury's square. I've dealt with all of it


a. anderson 5 years ago

The opera house seemed a little strange last time I was there, for a Christmas play.. I heard soft noise coming from the balcony and asked my friend which was sitting next to me if she had heard it too. And she said yes, but barely


vballkel profile image

vballkel 6 years ago from Michigan

My husband and I were just in Granbury this weekend and toured the prison. They said that the ghost hunters or something similar had just come and stayed the night to test for paranormal activity there as well. The prison had some very interesting stories, sounds like the town lives up to its motto of where Texas History lives.


Someone 6 years ago

Have been there many times and the only experience I had was I thought I saw a man with a hat in the second stall of the woman’s restroom while walking by from the theater. When I took a second look, there was no one there so I did not think much about it until I found out that others have seen the same thing in that stall. I don't think it was John Wilkes Booth. I think there is something there, but not John Wilkes Booth. I really think the Discovery Channel ghost hunters that were here were full of crap. I was in the audience of their show and they were very selective of what they showed on tv. They found nothing and mentioned nothing of the woman’s restroom. What was that space before it was a restroom? They only interviewed the Granbury locals, which are mostly crazy and want something to be there to put their town on the map. The current management, which is not Granbury locals, very business like, and professional were not interviewed. The tv crew claimed they found Booth, but then went to Oklahoma and found him there too. There needs to be real investigators to that can take an objective approach and not just wanting to make a good show.


Laura Thykeson profile image

Laura Thykeson 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

To everyone who left comments-I had no idea my responses weren't showing up! I had to switch computers for some reason to respond to your comments!

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed all of your comments, and love a good ghost story. I know the Opera house made a believer out of my husband and he is skeptical of everything!


Dona Rosa profile image

Dona Rosa 6 years ago from Tennessee

Love these kinds of reports!


Casey Curtiss 7 years ago

As a long time resident of Granbury, I too have had experiences in the Opera House as well as the Coffee Grinder next door (I am a former employee of the Coffee Grinder). I am so excited to see our town on TV, especially on a show that I absolutely love!


Jenna Brown  7 years ago

The house you speak of is the DL Nutt house. Everyone who has stayed in that home for any length of time has experienced the same apparition of a woman placing a comforting hand on them as well as the root cellar door being pushed on with significant force and slamming shut from the cellar side around 2 AM. Ask shelbiemiller@gmail.com also. She can confirm the same.


Stuart Kelley 7 years ago

They may wander the Opera House, but some of them live in our cellar and occasionally walk the stairs - especially when we have overnight guests. They're not a bother; we actually like having them around - some have been here probably since not long after the house was built in 1879.

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