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Media Monday: Phantom of the Opera & Haunted French Theatres

Mysterious Phantom Mens Adult Costume

Mysterious Phantom Mens Adult Costume

This past Friday May 25, 2012 the musical Phantom of the Opera celebrated it’s 25th anniversary. It might be a pretty obscure anniversary to some (okay, most), but it was something I wanted to write about. But how to tie it in to a travel blog about haunted places?

I like to write my Movie Monday posts, and there was a movie version too. I could’ve reminisced about going to see Phantom the musical when we lived in Phoenix back in the Nineties. It was the hottest ticket in town. My husband scored a couple for us and we went after work one night.

He hated it. I wasn’t smitten with it myself. Not like so many others were. I thought the music was haunting but…it didn’t capture me. Not like it was captivating everyone else. (Although, the chandelier crashing down was pretty impressive. Even Wayne perked up at that part.) It wasn’t until the movie version that I caught Phantom Phever. Loved it. I finally got it.

Yet, that wasn’t much to write about. I wanted something else. Something about phantoms haunting theatres.

In a weird twist of fate, or kismet, or serendipitous luck, out of the blue Andrea from Ghost Stories (who had no idea I wanted to write about any of this, we hadn’t discussed it at all), sent me a link last Thursday to a post called The Haunted Clubs of 1890s Paris, which then led me to The awesomely insane Heaven and Hell nightclubs of 1890s Paris.

It gave me chills. I wrote her as soon as I saw it explaining how she was an answer to a prayer and asking if she’d read my mind. How on earth had she known such a link was exactly what I was looking for?

She hadn’t. But she had been compelled to share it with me. Hooray for gut feelings!

The article described some seriously twisted cabarets operating in Paris before the turn of the Twentieth Century. What’s even more interesting, the clubs were described in a book called Bohemian Paris of To-Day by William Chambers Morrow and Edouard Cucuel. Sort of a guide to Paris’s macabre hot spots. (Note: you can read the book for free via

Cabaret de l'Enfer - Photo from Guest of a Guest

Among the crazy cabarets the articles described were:

  • Cabaret du Netant (The Cabaret of Death) – “…where guests drank while sitting on coffins and drinks were served by monks and funeral attendees.”
  • Cabaret de l’Enfer (The Cabaret of the Inferno) – “…a Satanically themed club where drinkers gathered around a cauldron and were serenaded by ‘devil musicians.'” (Both this quote and the one above are from The Haunted Clubs of 1890s Paris, but the pic of the “Devil Musician,” below, is from The awesomely insane Heaven and Hell nightclubs of 1890s Paris.)

    Devil Musician from IO9

Both articles are a lot of fun and a wealth of information. I highly recommend checking both out. If for nothing else, to see the images from some of these clubs. Goes to show Goths and the Goth spirit have been around for a quite a while.


The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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4 thoughts on “Media Monday: Phantom of the Opera & Haunted French Theatres

  1. I WOULD love to go there,would I be stupid for asking if its still there>< I would love to even stay [over night]in a place like that ,or any place that would be haunted.the reason is,IM afraid to live and afraid to live,,any tours like that in the greater vancouver BC canada area

  2. Twisted, indeed! But oh, so interesting. I’ll have to read those articles. About Phantom – we saw it in San Francisco when it was really hot — loved it. Never saw the movie.

  3. If you loved Phantom the musical, Cathy, you might not like the movie as much. That’s how it seemed to be for a lot of people. It’s a little weak, I’ll admit, but the music and costumes alone make up for it all. Love, love, love it!!!!

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