Monday, October 31, 2016
Staff members share UIS Sangamon Auditorium ghost stories
Is Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield haunted by a ghost named “Ruby”? The answer depends on who you ask.
According to stage foreman Joe Taylor, the ghost stories started in 1986 when a patron named “Ruby” died from natural causes inside the auditorium. Since that time, there have been several close encounters witnessed by multiple individuals.
Taylor and a co-worker were working near “the rail” at the top of the auditorium stage when they witnessed a “ball of light” or “cloud”, which moved down a stairway and entered the auditorium.
“No evilness, nothing bad ever happened,” said Taylor. “Nothing has ever happened during a show or during the day. It’s always late at night when we were ready to lock up.”
Another sighting occurred when five workers were standing on stage and one person left to turn off the light board.
“He came running up the stairs and that’s where the light actually hit him and he just stopped,” said Taylor. “He knew he ran into somebody. He kept saying he ran into a person.” “One of the other guys said, you ran into ‘Ruby’. It was a bright light and she ran right into you.”
Event Administrator Elise Robertson claims to have had a close encounter with “Ruby” when she was resting in between graduation ceremonies, before becoming a full-time employee.
“Rather than drive back to Riverton between graduation ceremonies, I went up to the (5th floor) lobby to lay down,” said Robertson. “I woke up to someone touching my ribs.”
She felt a cold wave move over her body before she felt a second hand move over her ribs.
“That was ‘Ruby’. I know it was,” said Robertson.
Taylor says his final encounter with the suspected ghost happened when The Flying Karamazov Brothers were practicing for a show inside the auditorium.
“They had a little boy. I’d say he’s four or five-years-old,” said Taylor. “The little boy was playing right there next to where she had passed away and the little kid was talking to somebody. The dad was on stage working and he asked him who he was talking to. He said ‘this lady’.”
Although there have been a number of spooky experiences witnessed inside the auditorium, “Ruby” has been keeping a lower profile lately and hasn’t been spotted in years.
“We don’t want to scare anyone away from Sangamon Auditorium,” said Robertson. “Ruby’ is not a scary ghost. She won’t harm anyone. We need something interesting here, besides all of the acts we bring in.”