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Haunted Lafayette: The history of paranormal activity at the Fowler Theater

This small town of a little more than 2,000 brings curious visitors from all across the world to experience one of its main attractions.

Posted: Oct 30, 2019 6:55 AM

You can watch the full special report above.

FOWLER, Ind. (WLFI) — Some places just look haunted.

Thirty miles west of Lafayette sits the town of Fowler, home to a little more than 2,000 people. It may be small, but this town brings curious visitors from all across the world to experience one of its main attractions.

This News 18 "Haunted Lafayette" story takes us outside Tippecanoe County, to Benton County's own Fowler Theater.

"There's something about this town that I think is just haunted," said Dwight Snethen, President of the Prairie Preservation Guild. 

The 200+ seat theater was built in 1940 and has been a major part of the community over the years. However in the 1990s, the theater started to fall into disrepair.

"Prior to what you see now, it was in bad shape," said Snethen. "They spent about 10 years renovating the theater and repainting it."

That's when the unexplained phenomenon began. 

"From top to bottom, we have similar experiences just about every time we come here," said Travis Farney, investigator with 765 Paranormal. "Some nights, it's more active than others."

"Lights flashing, doors opening, voices, sounds," listed Snethen. "We've had three what I'll call 'entities' stand out here. One is the man in the trench coat and fedora. Some locals believe that it might the the original owner coming to make sure we are taking good care of the theater. The other, there was a manager who killed himself in 1968. Not in the theater, but some believe that based on some of the interactions we've had, that it might be his spirit returning. And the last one is a kid."

Snethen said the kid has been the most common phenomena experienced. 

"One group came in out of Chicago and they put their camera up next to our camera. They sent me the video and audio later and said 'What do you think this is?' It is clearly a kid saying (soft) 'mom.' I'm like, 'Lets see if they were tricking us or not. So I play back our camera. I don't hear (soft) 'mom' but I hear (aggressive) 'mom' at the same time."

Investigators say you can't always experience it with the human ear or eye. 

"An EVP is an Electronic Voice Phenomena. So it is basically capturing something that you and I might not hear, but you hear it on a recording," explained Snethen. "I had one group come in and they picked up a lot of voices. But they were upstairs and they said, 'Were you a projectionist here?' Nothing happened. They said 'What was your name?' Nothing happened. They played it back and you heard 'Russ.' Well I post that up on Facebook and I got a message immediately from someone who is the daughter of a projectionist, who worked for the original owner whose father's name was Russ."

The stories don't stop there. 

"We were having a board meeting, and we are all up front. It's all the board members, about six or seven of us, and we are debating on what to have as a Christmas movie. The debate wasn't so much what to have as was 'Die Hard' a Christmas movie or not," said Snethen. "So as soon as we said, 'Yeah we think it's a Christmas movie we should show it,' the lights on the side turned green and the spotlights came on. So whoever was here was approving 'Die Hard' as a Christmas movie.

"No ghost has come up and tapped me on the shoulder and said 'Hey Dwight, I'm here.' But enough weird stuff has happened to make you go, 'What the heck was that?'"

The Fowler Theater shows new movies every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They also allow open paranormal investigations.

Thursday's 'Haunted Lafayette' will take us back to the Civil War-era. In northern Tippecanoe County, there's an old cemetery that paranormal investigators say is haunted. We will tell you the stories of the Pierce Cemetery, Thursday on News 18 This Morning.

Watch previous stories below:

New York Street Murder (2018)

Amelia Earhart and Hangar Number One (2018)

The Pythian Home (2018)

The Tippecanoe County Triple Execution (2017)

The Lahr House Guillotine (2017)

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