Mission: To seek and share inspiration

CODA | October 2015

Chris Pinelo


Is Music Hall haunted?

Last year the team from SyFy Channel’s popular Ghost Hunters sent the T.A.P.S. (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) to investigate, and that exploration was documented for the show’s 200th episode, titled “Phantoms of the Opera,” and premiered last Halloween. Did they find anything conclusive? I have no doubt the program will be aired again, and excerpts are also available on the SyFy Channel website. You can watch it and judge for yourself.

According to Ghost Hunters, “musicians aren’t the only performers found in this building. The landmark is built on the site of an asylum locals called The Pest House, an old orphanage, and a potter’s field with thousands of unmarked graves. Excavation and additions on the building continually turn up the remains of those who have been buried and forgotten.”

They certainly got the history right about where Music Hall was built and it’s true that excavations have turned up remains.

I’ve worked in this historic building for 14 years and have attended numerous events at Music Hall for considerably longer than that. I have never witnessed anything to definitively confirm the existence of ghosts here, but haunted or not, I’ve always enjoyed how we as a community embrace and celebrate the lore.

Back in 1996, I had the honor and privilege to be my late grandmother’s date for the taping of Cincinnati Pops Holiday: Erich Kunzel’s Halloween Spooktacular, a television special that aired nationally only days later on PBS. It was a fun, whimsical nod to Halloween of course, but also to “haunted” Music Hall, and that fun tradition lives on with our Lollipops Family Concert this month, Symphony Spooktacular conducted by Keitaro Harada on Oct. 31. I encourage you to bring your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews and neighbors—dressed up of course—for a musical Halloween celebration right here at Music Hall. 

What has all this talking of haunting gotten us? Well, Ghost Hunters draws up to 2.8 million viewers across the country, so a whole lot of people learned about Music Hall’s history and its extraordinary tenant organizations, and marveled at its beauty. As we approach this critically important renovation project that will close Music Hall for a season starting in June, I can only imagine interest in the haunting lore will be heightened. I wonder if the ghosts will wear hard hats.

—Chris Pinelo