Theatre Royal Public House, Douglas
Now long demolished, the Theatre Royal Public House stood on Wellington Street. This pub had a reputation of once being haunted and the following article was published in the Isle of Man Times, 20 January 1956.
“Pubs” can be fascinating places—old ones, even more fascinating. One of the oldest in Douglas, and certainly one of the most interesting, is the Theatre Royal in Wellington Street ( writes a “Times” reporter). Yes. the “Theatre” has quite a history—it also has a ghost!
Perhaps we should say it “had” a ghost, for all has been quiet on the phantom front just recently. Time was when mystery footsteps were regularly heard in the passageway of the old pub. Customers, barmaid and licensee had all heard them, but lately — not even the creak of a floorboard. By the fireside in the “Theatre’s”‘ cosy bar the other day, manageress Mrs “Ma” MeCaitin talked of the ghost. ‘When we first came here,” said Mrs McCartin, popular hostess at the “Theatre” lor 23 years, “the postmen told us they had often heard it. We heard it too, quite soon alter we moved injust at odd times, once or twice in the year.” A “regular” who had been quietly listening, plated his drink on the wide mantlepiece, thoughtfully wiped his lips, and announced, “I’ve heard it too.” “it was 20 years ago,” he went on, “I was sitting in here chatting to the barmaid, when we heard the door shut and footsteps in the passage. No one came in, and she asked me if I would go and take a look. “This is no lie,” said he, taking another sip, “I searched right through, but there was no sign of anyone. 1 heard it a second time, some years later.” He went back to his drink, and his paper, and the conversation lapsed. But not before some interesting ghostly details had ce-me to light. The ghost had regular habits. His (or her) practice was to walk in through the front door, and along the passageway leading to the rear of the building. The footfalls were quite light, and they never retraced their path — “they would go very quietly, but would never come back.”‘ It was only during the afternoon, usually iate afternoon, that tepsi were heard. And only at quiet periods, when there weren’t many customers at the bar. The ghost has never become famous, probably because it has not startled anyone, and no one has ever seen it. Mrs McCartin, “It has never worried us.” No one, it seems, has even put forward a theory as to the maker of the mystery footfalls. I suggested an actor or actress from the old theatre across the way, a theatre that was prosperous in the days when horse-drawn cabs clattered down Wellington Street, the town’s main thoroughfare and shopping centre. It was a possible explanation, agreed Mrs McCartin, adding that the stars from the shows always lodged at the “Theatre,” but she had not heard the theory before. However there, was an explanation for the ghost’s apparent inactivity recently. The “regular” explained, “If there were many customers at the bar, you wouldn’t hear anything.” Could be, then, that the lightly stepping phantom still pads along the passageway at the old “pat.” Indeed, only a few days ago Mrs McCartin heard footsteps, and no one came into the bar. Was it the ghost? Mrs McCartin smiled, but she wasn’t saying.
[Isle of Man Times, 20 January 1956]