Renaissance Theater

The Renaissance opened on January 19, 1928 (during a blizzard), as the Ohio Theater. It showed movies for decades, and hosted performers such as Will Rogers. It closed down for a while, then re-opened in the 70s as a porno theater which was shut down by outraged Mansfield citizens. In 1991 a non-profit used a large anonymous gift to purchase the decrepit theater, restore it, and rechristen it the Renaissance Theater.

Ghost stories at the Renaissance have a number of supposed origins, but the most shocking episode in the history of the theater is definitely the murder that happened there on All Hallows' Eve, 1929. Theater manager Edward Rafter was shot when the theater was robbed during a showing of The Green Murder Case. He lived long enough to describe his assailant, who was presumably there for the $700 in the safe, as a black man who wore a mask. Other witnesses described something very weird: a man in women's clothing, wearing a fox fur piece around his neck. The murder was never solved.

Cold spots and banging noises plague the theater and scare employees who have to be there late at night. Sometimes a ghostly piano is heard--perhaps a leftover from the days when live music accompanied silent films. A girl's giggle has been heard, and a woman in black has been seen crossing the stage with her head down.

Renaissance Theater - Official Site