2019, September 16: Alone in the Concert Hall

Pianist Chad Lawson had just completed a sound check at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, USA. He was providing the music to accompany a live episode of the Lore Podcast that was being presented in the theatre later that night. It was Monday, September 16, 2019.

        Lawson took three quick pictures of his piano setup from the stage of the theatre looking out onto the empty seats, then posted one to Instagram for his followers, inviting them to attend the podcast later: "Austin! Let's have some fun."


The theatre. [Larger version here]

        But by the next day, Lawson was having less fun with the picture. After he had returned to his hotel the night previous and reviewed the post to Instagram, he noticed that the picture included a figure standing up in the mezzanine in one of the stairwells... but he was sure he had been alone in the theatre at the time of the picture. He had taken three quick shots of the stage at the time, so Lawson reviewed the other two photos; the picture he had posted had been the second of the three, and the figure was not in the stairwell in the first or third photo.

        Lawson immediately searched the internet to see if the theatre was haunted; and on the 17th, he posted a revised version of the photo along with his findings.

Circled.The unknown figure, circled. [Larger version here]

As you can see, the picture has been brightened to help bring the figure into better view (and of course, it's been generously circled). Lawson had found a site that not only stated that the Paramount Theatre was haunted, but also stated that: "People said they've seen a woman, dressed in a white dress, roaming the aisles on the Mezzanine floor." On the 18th, he followed up with a post that showed the mezzanine area from all three of the photos he took.

ComparisonsComparisons. [Larger version here]

Was It a Ghost?

        Based on the evidence provided by Lawson, this is a question. Though many of the comments on his posts were fairly convinced it was something spooky in the photos, the photos themselves seem to clearly show a simple story: a woman walks up into the mezzanine area, turns to her right and keeps walking. In the third shot there is an illusion of her being partially transparent caused by the camera having moved slightly, which causes the images of the lights to drag to the side and go up... so the light next to the woman was also skewed visually across her body, which some people interpreted as being lights seen through her body. So, on the basis of the photos, there is no reason to think we're looking at a ghost. I sent a question to Lawson on the third posts, asking how long time-wise the photos had been taken apart, but haven't seen a response.

        The main evidence that this might be a paranormal figure is simply Lawson's word that he was alone in the theatre, and that the figure should not be in the pictures. Given that he was on a tour with a podcast at the time and operating out of a hotel, would the staff of the Paramount Theatre really just leave him alone in the building? After all, someone was going to need to lock up and turn out the lights after he left.