Lore Report: “Curtain Call” (Episode 198)

Theater has long been the home of the unexpected. It’s a realm where ego and skill are put on full display, and where audiences are thrilled by scenes they might never experience anywhere else. To attend a show is to guarantee a certain amount of surprise and thrill. But there’s one truth above all others that’s proven itself time and again over the centuries. When it comes to those temples of performance and personality, the drama rarely ends just because the curtain has dropped.

The Lore podcast takes a dramatic turn in Episode 198, as host Aaron Mahnke focuses on the world of the London stage. The first half of the episode is devoted to the story of William Terriss, a star performer who was stabbed to death–by another, disgruntled actor–while entering the Adelphi Theater in 1897. A sensational crime at the time, for sure, but what makes the story Lore-worthy is the series of sightings of Terriss’s ghost at the scene over the next several decades. From here, Mahnke proceeds to catalogue various superstitions associated with stagecraft–a subject that’s as rich as it is interesting (and one I wish had been lingered on here). But the episode ends on a strong note by visiting the Theatre Royal of Drury Lane and exploring the building’s haunting by a mysterious figure dubbed the Man in Grey. “Curtain Call” isn’t the most substantive episode, but makes for a breezy listen and generates a satisfying bit of frisson.


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