It was a first-of-its kind investigation for the Rialto Theater.
Despite it being being introduced to Aransas Pass as a state-of-the-art movie theater in 1937, directors Russ and Suzy Walker said the area has never been the center of a paranormal investigation.
The couple lives right above the theater.
“As long as it stays downstairs, I’m alright — I think. We’ll see,” Suzy laughed. “I mean, it’s an old building. It’s 83 years old, this building, so who knows what might be in here.”
Though the Rialto faced closures due to the pandemic months ago, the theater now hosts rehearsals and has performances planned for the end of the year. But it’s during these rehearsals that cast members are seeing a problem that’s difficult to explain.
“Sometimes, we can all be on stage at one time and we know where every actor is and we can still hear creepy footsteps backstage,” Suzy said. “And every so often, things, people see him. Not just us, but, other actors on stage that are rehearsing they see lights flashing the bar or noises going off.”
That “him” was Bruce Covington, a friend of the Walkers. They say he died in September of last year.
“He used to be an actor here. So, he’s familiar with the theater,” Suzy said. “We had his wake here.”
Shawna Davis, an investigator with Corpus Christi Spook Central Paranormal said in the team’s 16 years, this was the first time they investigated a theater.
“I wanted something that was historic, and something that probably might need a little bit of attention. So we called the Rialto and they were welcoming and said, ‘Come on in,’” Davis said. “I would say that it’s a completely different scenario for investigating, just because of the different levels and history that comes along with it.”
The investigation itself began around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and lasted a little past midnight. Despite numerous attempts — there were no repeat instances of creaking floors or flashing lights.
“We can’t command them to see what we want to,” Davis said, adding that investigations often take a lot of patience.
There was one instance, however, when the team received an interesting word on their Ovilus, a device that takes readings from the environment and subsequently converts that information into words.
“We kept getting the word ‘Rabbit’ and evidently, on one of the plays (Bruce) actually acted here, there was a rabbit in that play,” Davis said. “That could’ve definitely been something that correlated with him being here, so I would say that is a huge possibility.”
Suzy and her husband braved through the night in the theater with CC Spook Central Paranormal. She said part of her would be completely OK if the team ended up finding nothing.
“But, the other half of me, it’s like — as long as it’s just Bruce — and nobody else — no scary ghosts, and they don’t bring anybody else in or leave them here when you leave — then I’m OK with that,” she said.