Meridian Star

Local News

October 15, 2012

Enter if you dare: Haunted Temple Tours kick off tonight

MERIDIAN —     One of the popular stories that has survived many years of telling is that of the group of workers who while staying inside the Temple Theater in downtown Meridian, were run out in the middle of the night by strange apparitions and ghostly sounds.

    Beginning today, those who dare to tempt the spirits of long dead workers, performers and property custodians, can slink through the massive, Moorish masterpiece and experience for themselves the mysteries and wonders of the theater.

    In February 2009, a deal was struck between the Shriners and a semi-retired business man from Dallas, Roger Smith, who stepped forward — and has purchased the entire facility — Theater and Ballroom — and has committed to not only bringing the Temple back to it’s former splendor, but to create and present a rich and full calendar of events and entertainment.

    "One of those events is the tour we have leading up to Halloween," said Smith. "It really is an event with two objectives. One is to show off the Temple Theater, which is one of the most elegant buildings in the entire South. Secondly, to provide a little scary entertainment for those who are brave enough to take the tour. It will be more fun than in previous years. I promise."

    Then Smith lets out a sinister laugh that echoes through the stage area.

    The Haunted Temple Tours are open to groups of all sizes or to the intrepid individual. The admission fee is $5 per person. The tours begin at 8 p.m. and go on until there are no more victims ... uh patrons ... left. The tours will go on Monday through Saturday until Oct. 31.

    Architect Emile Weil was engaged to design the building — as he was already well known for his grand designs. Weil delivered a plan that met the Shrine’s expectations — and perhaps even more. Construction began in 1923, with the Grand Ballroom being completed in November 1924.

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