Ghostly faces and strange noises are among the hauntings at Dayton’s historic theater

Throughout October, we’re going into the archives for some of our favorite stories of spooky places and famous tales around the area. Today, let’s turn attention to Waynesville with a story that first published in 2020.


A vanishing woman, mysterious noises and ghostly sightings are part of the history of Dayton’s Victoria Theatre.

The theatre, 138 N. Main St., opened Jan. 1, 1866, a year after the Civil War ended, so it’s not surprising spooky tales and rumors of ghosts would emerge through the decades.

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Take, for example, the story of Victoria, a touring actress in the early 1900s who went to her dressing room to change for the next scene.

Forgetting her fan, she returned to the dressing room and was never seen again, according to a story in the Haunted Ohio book series by Chris Woodyard.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

No trace of her was ever found, though fewer and fewer actors would use that dressing room, with reports that some would look into the mirror and see her face staring back again.

Staff members through the years have said they’ve heard strange noises like the rustling of satin or taffeta, or suddenly smelled the scent of roses in the air.

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Many of the historic theater’s long-time volunteers and staff like to blame these strange occurrences on “Miss Vicky.”

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

If that wasn’t enough spine-tingling fun, the theater also is believed to have a second ghost.

In the 1880s, a man committed suicide in the theater by wedging a knife into the seat in front of him and throwing himself upon it. Blood ran down the Victoria’s floor into the orchestra pit.

When the curtains around the left exit door are pulled, some people claim to see his face.

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