What is it? You Tell Us: The Little Theater Phenomenon

Watch the video below that was taken by the Rutgers Rarities Team when investigating an old theater on the New Brunswick campus one night. The video you are seeing is 100% unaltered, untouched and completely for real. Look near the top of the clip for motion and you will see a circular, softly glowing object moving and sort of swaying back & forth quickly in the dark. This is not a reflection or a light given off by any type of equipment (we had no equipment except for our camcorder and a tape recorder-we didn’t even have a weak flashlight!). This is in fact something captured on film that the Team did not even catch until reviewing the film after the investigation and we are honestly baffled. This footage occurred when we walked down the stairs into the dark basement of the supposedly haunted theater (please read the full account below & investigation for the complete story and history) and Co-Investigator Ray began filming the deep basement room before any lights were turned on. We were simply walking down stairs into an open area with our guide fumbling for the lights behind us. Please note the strange, almost fluid motion of this spectre as it sort of sashays out of sight at our approach. The RR Team is seeking an answer for this amazing instance of real phenomena caught on tape. We welcome all and any explanations or comments- again, we are simply trying to figure out what we may have unintentionally captured. Please examine the footage as it replays and give us your thoughts.

E-mail Rutgers Rarities & Unexplained Phenomena at rutgersrarities@rutgersrarities.com


Possible orb videotaped in basement of Little Theater.


The Best Little Theater in Rutgers - Douglass Little Theater

By Jessica Teal

The Little Theater was originally investigated by the RR team in the dead heat of summer, when the building was locked up and there was no sign of anything going on. We had read all the reports of the ghost of “Jane” a little old lady who purportedly haunts the place she loved so much during her long-term stint as director of the theater. The RR Team heard about one of Jane’s latest pranks from correspondent Brent who told us that the ghost knocked over some of his band’s equipment when they were playing there a few months back. Recently Ray, guest investigator Ava Gascer of the Home News Tribune, and I decided to check out some of Jane’s latest exploits on a late rainy evening when we suspected that the building was in use by some Mason Gross students.

Upon our initial entrance to the building Ava pointed out to us that the theater contains a brightly lit attic-loft area directly above the stage area, near the roof, that seems impossible to access. We later learned that there is a ladder outside that provides access, although the way in is boarded up, which is strange. Stranger yet, this loft light never goes out and is left on all night by the theater’s users who are very careful to turn off all lights and do a thorough lock-down upon exit. As anyone can imagine, many odd shadows are created by this remote light near the ceiling which filters down through wooden planks into the stage area. Could this light/shadow effect be the cause of the many ghost stories surrounding this place? Anyway, as we correctly surmised, some theater students were in fact wrapping up their rehearsal for the evening and this gave us the opportunity to ask them about any interesting experiences they might have had during their practices. The ghost of Jane was not unheard of to the group and one student told us that she felt that there were two separate spirits in the theater, Jane, who haunts the stage area and a mischievous little girl spirit who haunts the basement level. The little girl spirit was a new one to us and we were eager to examine this basement area where the little girl spirit purportedly “turned on a water faucet in the ladies room” while the group was rehearsing upstairs. One of the theater students was so frightened by the water faucet incident that she mentioned it to a Douglass facilities person who assured her that the faucet most likely went on because of water pressure issues. It should be noted however that when we actually examined the faucet in the reported bathroom the handle was an old-fashioned “turn-style” faucet handle that took some effort to turn and amazingly didn’t leak even slightly.

The basement of Little Theater is actually a rather scary place as there are two narrow stairways into a long narrow room that contains four single-stall bathrooms, a dusty old kitchenette/pantry area and a large sub room filled with stacks of victorian-type furniture everywhere. There were also many bundles of dirty clothes in piles on the floor. Just to cover all bases I always bring my audio recorder which has recorded normally at nearly every location Ray and I have been to with the exception of the amazing University Inn Investigation, and much like our University Inn experience where unexplainable happenings were recorded, my trusty audio recorder, with fresh batteries and a new tape, began to work erratically in one section of the basement where I had proceeded to sit down on a dusty old settee that might have belonged to Jane. My recorder went off and on of its own accord in this spot three times and upon review of the tape there is nothing on it but blank spots with no recorded background noise. Could I have accidentally been agitating Jane’s spirit by sitting on her settee? Could my recorder pick up on some electrical forces or charged atmospheric conditions that I was unaware of? I have no idea, but the theater students who were kind enough to let us poke around while they were wrapping up seemed a little scared when I explained what I experienced and were eager to simply shut things down.

After exiting the theater, Ray, Ava and I agreed that the place needed further investigating and more thorough background search on Jane and her one-time home needs to be done.

Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena would like to extend our warmest thanks to the steadfast Ava Gascer who patiently stood in the rain with us and trudged uncomplainingly through the muddy footpaths of Douglass College on this investigation. Please be sure to check back for the Rutgers Rarities update of our forthcoming Home News Tribune article by Ava, who is a Douglass alumnus herself.


Interior of the Little Theater on Nichol Avenue with closeup of mysterious room hanging over front doorway.

Opening to upper room with permanent light on that is only accessible from outside ladder (now sealed shut) Strange shadows have been seen coming from this upper attic-style room.

Some of the many basement rooms containing scattered junk and debris.

One of the many storage areas and the basement sink that was found to be running though no one had left it on.


Supplement by Ray Brennan

While reviewing the footage taken in the Little Theater, there was one clip that stood out from the rest. During filming in the basement, there was a strange reflection that was moving around before disappearing. As mentioned in the St. Andrew's Account, there have been many reports of pictures and footage of orbs, or representations of the souls of the departed. The opinions on orbs are all over the map, with some RR affiliates believing that they are genuine phenomena that represent spirits, and other RR affiliates believing that the whole idea is nonsense. While the RR team leans more toward the skeptical side, the jury is still out. The clip in which the reflection is present is shown above, and we will leave it to you to make your own judgement. If you have any insight into the artifact in this clip, please contact us at rutgersrarities@rutgersrarities.com.


©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005