Ghost Hunt

The public is invited to join members of Del Rio’s Silent Society of the Paranormal as they conduct a “ghost hunt” at the historic Paul Poag Theatre, 746 S Main St., in Del Rio, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. The site of the theatre has been in continuous use as an entertainment venue since at least the 1920s, which means there is nearly 100 years of history here. A number of strange events have occurred at this site, including a mysterious fire that destroyed the theatre in 1943.

The original structure at this site was a theater called “The Strand,” which served Del Rio in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1941, the Strand was torn down, re-built, and renamed the “Rita Theatre.” The Rita opened on December 12, 1941.

On February 26, 1943, the Rita was destroyed by a mysterious fire that reportedly started in a storage room.

Rita Burns

The Rita Theatre Burns

The Rita, which was renovated several times, remained in operation as a movie theater until 1981 when it was donated to the city by John and Evelyn Prude and became a community auditorium. The city has done further renovations and it continues to be used today.

The Rita Theater in the 1970s (Courtesy Portal to Texas History)

The Rita Theater in the 1970s (Courtesy Portal to Texas History)

The theater is rumored to have experienced a number of paranormal occurrences over its many years of existence. Below is a video showing the Silent Society of the Paranormal in action: