In addition to its superstitions, the Little Theatre is supposedly haunted by at least two ghosts. The first is Bernard Thomas, executive director for most of the 1960s and ’70s, affectionately known as “Bernie” at the theater. The second is believed to be Manuel Jaramillo, a custodian and master carpenter. In accordance with his final wishes, Manuel’s ashes were scattered under the
stage after his death.
Ronda Lewis, the theater’s resource development director, spoke with me about the unusual events that have happened in the building: “Everyone that I’ve talked to that has felt or experienced anything in the theater says that it has never been a malicious or threatening presence. It’s almost a protective sense that we get from these experiences. I feel like these spirits are still looking after things, and they’re still looking over us and making sure that we are keeping and holding the legacy and doing what we’re supposed to be doing so well.”
When asked if there were any other ghosts besides Manuel and Bernie, Ronda said it might be possible:
“It may be possible that there is another ghost. Here in Albuquerque, where there’s so much history in this area of town, it could be anything. I have heard a story, but I have not been able to verify this. This building was the first WPA project, and the construction was finished in 1936. Some stories say that someone fell from the scaffolding during construction. I have not been able to verify that story, so it is possible to guess where those other entities would come from. I don’t know, but I think anything is possible in this area. A newspaper article from 1993 also mentions that Manuel saw the ghost of Bernie Thomas. This was about a week after Bernie had passed. Manuel was walking the building doing his thing when he saw Bernie appear in the hallway. There’s actually been a lot of activity in this little space. It’s near a dressing room, and he saw Bernie walking by. He nodded to Manuel and vanished. Another active area is the rehearsal space,
which is where we rehearse a show when we have another one on stage. I was told by someone from our cast last night when they were rehearsing Amadeus that just a few weeks ago, they were in the rehearsal room when the heavy door at the bottom of the stairs slammed shut very loudly. As you can see, there’s nothing that would blow that door closed, so that was kind of unusual.”