Annie Russell Theater at Rollins College Winter Park, Florida
opera house


In 1883 by the age of 19 Annie Russell was the darling of both British and American stages. She retired to Winter Park in 1918 and by the urging of her good friend Mary Curtis Bok Zimbalist convinced her to become involved in the nascent dramatic arts program at Rollins College. The most beautiful architectural structures in Central Florida, the Annie Russell Theatre was built in 1931.
The "Annie" serves as the heart of the oldest theatre program in Florida and one of the most prestigious in America.. In 1998, the National Parks Service named the theater to the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its architecture and its role in education and the performing arts.
Duration - 8:00pm-3:00am
Present - Scott, Sprout, Stacy, Lori, Toni, Tom, the house manager Adam, and guest Cathy.
Meter Readings
Temp - 57 to 72
Tools -5 IR cameras
Hi-8 video cameras
digital cameras
35mm cameras
gauss meter
tri-field meter
audio recorders

History of Haunting: Kevin explained to us some of the strange occurrences within the theater:

* It has been witnessed that the 1st seat in the third row closest to the stage has been seen like someone was sitting in it the chair is down (they are the fold up seats like in a movie theater) and no reason for that particular chair to be down.
A man wearing clothes from the 30’s or 40’s has been seen walking down the center aisle of the auditorium with a bouquet of flowers as if he was going to deliver them to someone on stage. The center isle was filled in with seats in 1977 to try and stop the spirit from upsetting the guest.
It has been said that people have seen an apparition coming from the bust of Annie that is sitting on the LH staircase and then crosses the lobby. Actors practicing on stage have also seen an apparition crossing the lobby.
The picture of Annie next to the late arrivals door where she is portraying Puck has been noticed crooked at several occasions when someone has been talking about her.
A man has been seen in the trap room yelling at students to “Stop”….It could be the spirit of an old security officer that was thought to have committed suicide.
A student who fell asleep in the green room while studying woke up the next morning with a chair pulled up next to her and I believe they said that she was even covered up.
Witnessed by security was the doors rattling.….First the front entrance doors then each of the side doors and then all of them at the same time.
There is a door on the stage that is about 20 feet up and has no access stairs to it. Some have thought that this could have been Annie’s private dressing room but there are no written facts to justify it. One thing that is noticed is sometimes the door is found open, when this happens it’s a sign that the show will be a hit.
* A room behind the stage is called the electronics room. One evening a man was working in the room when banging started on the walls. When the banging continued on the ceiling he ran out.
A young man was on a ladder on stage doing some electrical work. He kept feeling a tug on his pant leg and paid no mind to it. Unfortunately he got electrocuted and fell to the floor. A few moments latter another person came in saw the man on the floor and proceeded to call 911. 911 dispatcher said that they had already gotten a call and the ambulance was on its way. It has been thought that Annie herself made the call and because of the quickness the young man lived.
Other occurrences nearby told to us by a security guard: In the chapel late at night voices, murmurs and a sneeze have been heard. In the back pipe organ balcony what sounded like someone clearing their throat was heard when no one else was there.
In the Crumner building next door there was a late night cleaning crew that has seen a woman in white in the hallway.
Personal Experiences:
* The Annie Russell was a wonderful investigation and we experienced some great stuff. Unfortunately we had a very long weekend doing two investigations and by accident the theater video/audio evidence was deleted. The following evidence is taken from our camera notes and individual team members experiences.
As listed above on past haunted history, Annie’s seat was noted at 8:20pm that it was in the down position (all others are up). Scott tried to make the seat stay up and it would not. At 11:21 it was noticed that the seat was up. At 2:18 Scott noticed seat was down. During the time we were breaking down the equipment near 3am, Stacy noticed the seat was up.
Our trifield (EMF) meter was sitting on the armrest Annie’s seat. Between 9:45 -10:00 during set up, Scott, Sprout and Ulen heard the meter register a EMF spike with sounding a alarm, it was also heard again at 2:30. The third time we did not get a exact time.
At 1:31, 1:43, and 1:45 on camera 2 which faces the auditorium, Stacy and Sprout saw on the monitor what looked like mist passing in front of the camera. During this time, Scott, Lori, Chris and Ulen were sitting in seats trying to make contact with any spirits.
At 12:45 while in the green room(our command post) Kevin and Patrick heard what sounded like shuffling feet in the hallway outside the green room in the hall. They were the closest to the door.
* While reviewing our photos we did get one photo with a green anomaly and also what appears to be an apparition in the lobby. The unusual green at the bottom of the photo is the same area in which we saw mist on the camera but then again this could be only camera flare. In the back (lobby) there seems to be a person standing by a pole. You can see a profile and to me it looks like a small woman with a high collared dress/blouse on. I reviewed my notes and the video that Lori had in the lobby and was not able to come up with anyone being in that area at the time of the photo. But with the zooming in of the picture and then the pixelation, we can't be a 100% sure that it is a apparition.
Annie Russell Ghost
Cropped and lightened
Annie Russell Crop