A ghost nicknamed “Bob”, a funeral home and a brothel all are part of the story of the building that once was the Rogers Theater.
“Bob” has been known to turn off projectors while movies are showing, rock auditorium seats back and forth and flip lights on and off. It’s unclear how long “Bob” has been hanging around the building, but he does like to make his presence known.
I have investigated this building twice. Once, after the Rogers closed and was being renovated and once after it became the Fillmor. During our first investigation, I captured an EVP of 2 women that very clearly said “Go in the kitchen Dorothy, I’m there.” and the response “OK”. EVP stands for ‘Electronic Voice Phenomenon”, voices caught on tape that were not heard by the naked ear. We did not experience “Bob”, but heard he had scared workmen from the building while they were removing the old theater seats by making them all rock back and forth.
When the building became the Fillmor, we investigated it again. The main floor was completely redone into a beautiful music venue, but the upstairs and basement theaters had been left gutted. This time.. we captured this interesting orb in one of the photos and one of our meters went off several times when we asked “Bob” to set it off. I also got an evp that seemed to be mocking me! I was helping set up equipment and started looking for my camera..which ended up being around my neck. I laughed and mentioned it to another investigator.. and picked up a raspy voice on my recorder that said “Oh, Dear God”.
The owners of the Fillmor had kept one of the original theater chairs in one of the old upstairs projection rooms and they swear they’ve seen the ghost of a woman sitting in it. We did capture what sounded like a woman’s voice near that chair.
The site of the Rogers Theater has a very interesting history. Until the 1920’s the Rogers site was home to the Ammenthorp Tire Shop, with apartments above. There are unconfirmed stories of a murder taking place in one of these apartments during this time. During the renovation for the Fillmor the owners found an old knife hidden upstairs and kept it on display over the bar. Could this have been the murder weapon?
In 1926 Charles Helke, who ran a furniture store and funeral parlor across the street purchased the property, which then became Helke’s Funeral Home until 1939.
From 1940 – 1944 the building was known to be a brothel. In 1945 the property changed hands again and started it’s theatrical history as the Hollywood Theater. In 1960 the name changed to the New Wausau Theater and in 1979 the Rogers Theater.
So who is “Bob”? An old projectionist from the theaters past? Could it be Charles Helke who started Wausau’s longest operating funeral home? Were the voices of the women one of the murder victims, or women from the brothel days? That’s the problem with ghosts.. they don’t often give you specific answers to these haunting questions.
To hear the Rogers Theater EVP go to my website’s evp page and click “Haunted Theater”.