The threat of losing the historic Ritz Theater has garnered much attention throughout town with several fundraisers already taking place to raise money for a digital projector. However, it has also struck a chord with many groups outside the Upson County lines who want to help keep the landmark open. One of the most unique groups that has reached out is the Pike County-based Ladies of the Paranormal, a small all women paranormal investigation team. They have planned fund-raising events at The Ritz,such as ghost hunting classes, a celebrity and public ghost hunt, a paranormal team meet and greet and a 1920’s themed murder mystery night, between now and October.
Ritz owner Malcolm Neal didn’t exactly know what to think when he was first contacted by Cassie Reagan of the Ladies of the Paranormal, but he was touched that others were reaching out to help keep the theater open.
“The fact that people have rallied around this so much, and not just in Thomaston, it really means a lot,” said Neal. “I was a little apprehensive at first about the Ladies of the Paranormal coming, but once I found out they are a purely scientific based group and they use their equipment to scientifically prove if anything is there, I was very pleased.”
Like many couples throughout town, The Ritz Theater was the place that Reagan’s husband took her on a date and it is very near and dear to her, as well as to her family. It was those memories that drove her to want to do her part to help out.
“I’ve always thought it was such a beautiful old building,” said Reagan, “and it is just too important to lose. Not just for me and my family, but to so many others in Thomaston and surrounding counties.”
Due to its history and the age of the building, Reagan and the rest of her crew have always wanted to do an investigation there to see if it had any paranormal activity. As part of their investigations, they film the event for their website and the one from The Ritz will be available to view online in July. However, those who come to the Ghost Hunting 101 Class on June 30 will get a sneak peek.
“We went into the investigation blind, because we didn’t want to find out too much that might hinder it,” said Reagan. “We also were able to find some compelling evidence, which Malcolm seemed really excited about.”
Neal stated that seeing their evidence was really remarkable in an unexplainable sort of way; however he was very glad that everything pointed to there only being friendly spirits in the establishment. He also wanted to assure everyone that they are not doing anything taboo with the ghost hunts that will be taking place at The Ritz.
“These events are things that can be serious for those who want it to be, but can also just be a fun event for others,” said Neal.
The first event will be a Ghost Hunting 101 class on June 30 at the theater from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. which will explain the pieces of the equipment and how they use them. Tickets are $10 per person. This event also works hand in hand with the Public Ghost Hunt on October 25 at The Ritz; however it is not required to attend the class in order to go on the hunt. The Public Ghost Hunt will give citizens the chance to go in small groups with an actual investigator and use their equipment for a hands-on learning experience. The same premise is used for the Celebrity Ghost Hunt which will take place on September 28 and Reagan promises there will be some big name horror movie actors on hand to take part in the hunt. Twenty tickets will be available for the celebrity hunt and will be auctioned on Ebay starting at $50 each in August.
The biggest event of the series though will likely be the Murder Mystery Night held at Phoenix Rising on August 11. The night will be a “who done it” type of event set in a 1920’s speakeasy and patrons will have the opportunity to take part as a character in the story or just sit back and watch the mystery unfold. There will also be a costume contest, silent auction and “paparazzi” taking pictures throughout the night. Tickets for the event are $50 per person or $75 a couple and will be available online later this summer.
Neal is very excited about all of the upcoming events and hopes that everyone in town will come out for several evenings of fun.
“I think that it is good to bring in different groups so that we can do a variety of activities, because not everyone likes to do the same things,” said Neal, “and we have people from all walks of life who want to help. We are very thankful that the Ladies of the Paranormal chose us and think these events will be fun for all.”
The Ladies of the Paranormal are looking for donations of any kind for the silent auction and volunteers who would like to help with the events. If you are interested in helping or would like more information about the events view their website at www.ladiesoftheparanormal.com or call Cassie Reagan at 404-576-6547 or email email@example.com.