Interview: ‘Shorty’ has been Haunting the Capitol Theatre in Yakima for 80+ Years
Many have heard of Shorty, the ghost that haunts the Capitol Theatre. But how much do you actually know? What are some of the experiences? Well, I was lucky enough to have a chit chat with some of the crew (current and past) of the Capital Theatre, including CEO Charlie Robin.
As I sat down in Charlie’s office on the 7th floor of the Tower, the wind was howling, and made it a pretty good atmosphere to talk about Capitol Theatre’s longest resident. The history of Shorty that we know, is like his name sake, short. “Shorty” Michaud was a technician at the theatre, who hung himself sometime in the 30’s to 40’s. When I asked if Charlie knew why Shorty reportedly took his own life, “my understanding was that it was unrequited love.” As romantic as that may be, I had always heard that Shorty was a homeless person who died back in the fire that happened to the Capitol.
“My understanding is that Shorty’s story is WAY, way further back than ’75 when the fire occurred.” - Charlie Robin
The Reason For The Interview
The reason I wanted to do the interview with Charlie, is because in passing he had told me how he had finally had his own experience. “I’m a man of science, I’m a man who likes some evidence. Nothing has ever come across that we would ‘blame shorty’,” said Charlie when I asked about what he had seen. For the first time in the almost 8 years that Charlie has been with the Capitol Theatre, there is finally something that he can classify as a “Shorty Occurrence”.
The Latest Shorty Occurrence
“This was a Sunday morning in September. We came in on Monday morning and the lights to the theatre were on.” Charlie continues, “We hadn’t left the lights on and to prove such thing, we actually go through the security logs and we go through the video, because the building is well-wired.” According to what they found, no one had turned on or off the alarm system, and cameras showed no one was in the building. “At like 5:08 on Sunday morning in September, um… the house lights came on.” The conviction in Charlie’s voice, as well as his pauses, says more than I ever could with words. You can hear the full interview with Charlie Robin below.
Other Occurrences from Staff
Talking to some of the crew, I got stories. Some nice and helpful and some “creepy”. Josh Hammock told me of an incident over the course of a couple months where personal and work related reading material (novels, paperwork, etc.) kept disappearing. They went and looked in the former Organ Loft known as “Shorty’s Door” (you can hear more about Shorty’s door in the Charlie interview below) and found a nice pile of books and paperwork. He also told me of a time when trying to pull down rigging in the place where supposedly Shorty hung himself, and it would not budge after much effort. Then a quick break later, they tried again and it fell like it was never attached.
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Asencion Gonzalez spoke on how Shorty has been helpful for her and the staff on the front end in the box office. “Shorty loves to make sure we’re not cold in the box office. There’s an old heater that is not connected to anything and when it starts to get cold outside he turns it on to heat up the office. We always thank him too, so he knows that we appreciate his concern for us.”
Carlee Boob told me probably the creepier of the tales. “During Hairspray tech, I was laying on set and looking above at the grid (support structure). I see what looks like a human walking across the grid. Although it is misty greyish color that faded down without feet.” She saw the mist and its shadow walk along one of the channels where the blinds run, and then vanish behind an orchestra shelf. She’s also heard shuffling and knocking sounds with her co-workers who knew that there was no one else in the building. She also had someone calling her name in the basement when she was alone in the service elevator.
“If you ever go on stage alone… you just don’t ‘feel alone’. From the higher level of stage left, where he supposedly hung himself / fell from, you just don’t feel alone, you feel something watching you.” – Carlee Boob
Know Something? Say Something! Please Reach Out With Any Information
If you have any history or knowledge of Shorty from when he was alive, pictures, knowledge of family lineage, anything, please reach out to The Capitol Theatre. They’d love to know. Check out the full interview with Charlie Robin below.