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Haunted Location: Melbourne, Australia

Frederick Federici’s Ghost

 


Welcome back to another Weird Wednesday where we explore all things spooky!

 

Today’s haunted location brings us to Melbourne, Australia and into the Princess Theatre.


The first show at the Princess Theatre was in 1854 and it continues to host musical performances to this day, making it the oldest surviving entertainment centre in Melbourne. As with many theatres of its kind – Phantom of the Opera anyone? – this venue has its own ghostly tale.

 

On March 3rd 1888, Italian opera singer Frederick Federici (Born Anatole Frederick Demidoff Baker) played the role of Mephistopheles, in a production of Faust. At the end of his performance, he is lowered under the stage through a trap door – signifying a decent into hell. The crowd applauded and the cast came back on stage for curtain call, bowing for their audience. When things settled down, Federici’s body was found under the trapdoor below the stage. He apparently suffered a heart attack, mere moments before he was lowered under the stage. The members of the cast were saddened but mostly incredulous, because they attested that Federici was on stage bowing for the audience during the curtain call.

 

It is said that ever since that night, the ghost of Frederici graces the hall with his presence. There have been multiple sightings by members of the audience at several shows over the years. In addition to that, many of the staff who work/worked in the theatre during its long history claim to have seen his ghost. He has mostly been spotted sitting in the audience watching the performances like a critic. For many years after his death, the staff at the Princess Theatre even reserved a seat in the third row for Frederici, on the off chance he wished to make an appearance.

 

We’ve all heard the saying, “The show must go on.” But this takes it to a whole other level. And can we talk about timing? What are the chances that this singer’s heart gave out at the exact moment he was being lowered into the pits of hell (theatrically speaking, of course).

 

So if you decide to attend a showing of Groundhog Day The Musical (the performance currently showing at the Princess Theatre), perhaps consider reserving an extra seat, in case Frederici feels inclined to join you and your party.

 

Thank you for joining me for this phantom-tastic issue of Haunted Locations. See you next week!

 

And as always, if you chose to go hunting, rememeber the rules:

 

RESPECT THE OWNERS

RESPECT THE PROPERTY

RESPECT THE RESIDENTS

 

And in this case, the audience – dead or alive.

 

References

 

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