Un­ex­plained

Could a mur­dered ac­tor still be haunt­ing the theatre where he died..?

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One of Vic­to­rian Eng­land’s most beloved ac­tors – Wil­liam Ter­riss –was dash­ing, charis­matic, and adored by the pub­lic.

He was also well known for his gen­eros­ity to­wards his fel­low thes­pi­ans.

Richard Arthur Prince was a strug­gling ac­tor who’d been re­peat­edly fired from plays be­cause of his er­ratic be­hav­iour.

De­spite this, Ter­riss helped Prince find roles, and sup­ported him through the Ac­tors’ Benev­o­lent Fund.

But even Ter­riss’ pa­tience wore thin in 1885…

Ap­pear­ing to­gether in a play, Prince’s be­hav­iour was so ap­palling that Ter­riss, re­gret­fully, had him sacked.

But Prince didn’t take it well – and, on the evening of 16 De­cem­ber 1897, he ar­rived at the Adel­phi Theatre, where Ter­riss was star­ring in the

play Se­cret Ser­vice. Prince sneaked up be­hind Ter­riss and vi­o­lently plunged a knife into his bene­fac­tor three times. Jessie Mill­ward, Ter­riss’ lover and lead­ing lady, heard the com­mo­tion and rushed to the scene, where he died in her arms. But not be­fore he’d whis­pered his fi­nal words… I will come back.

Ap­pre­hended, Prince ad­mit­ted mur­der­ing Wil­liam Ter­riss for re­venge.

De­clared in­sane, he spent the rest of his life locked away in a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion. But what of Wil­liam Ter­riss? The cur­tain may have fallen, but the slaugh­tered ac­tor hadn’t taken his fi­nal bow…

In 1928, an ac­tress called June was in her dress­ing room at the Adel­phi Theatre when the couch on which she was sit­ting be­gan to shake.

A green mist ap­peared, and June’s arms felt as if they’d been vi­o­lently seized by in­vis­i­ble hands.

Fi­nally, she heard two knocks on her dress­ing room door – the same dress­ing room reg­u­larly used by Jessie Mill­ward. Be­fore his death, Wil­liam had been in the habit of knock­ing twice on her door with his cane when pass­ing.

There were more bizarre in­ci­dents ahead.

Stage­hands saw a hu­man shape, shrouded in green mist, hov­er­ing above the stage, and re­ported un­ex­plained sounds com­ing from Wil­liam’s old dress­ing room. Per­for­mances were also plagued by tech­ni­cal hitches, while theatre work­ers heard dis­em­bod­ied foot­steps, and felt

It seems the slaugh­tered ac­tor hadn’t taken his fi­nal bow…

a sin­is­ter pres­ence in empty rooms. One wit­ness even said a ghostly fig­ure had passed straight through a door. Had Wil­liam Ter­riss made good on his dy­ing prom­ise?

The most re­cent sight­ing oc­curred in 2012, when co­me­dian Ja­son Man­ford was speak­ing to his daugh­ter over Skype from his dress­ing room at the Adel­phi...

‘Daddy, who’s that man be­hind you?’ she asked.

Turn­ing and find­ing no-one there, Man­ford asked his daugh­ter what the man looked like, and she de­scribed him as ‘a sad sol­dier’.

The theatre man­ager told Man­ford how Ter­riss had been mur­dered just be­fore a per­for­mance of Se­cret Ser­vice, in which he played an army lieu­tenant.

So it seems Wil­liam Ter­riss is still mak­ing an im­pres­sion, even in death, just as he did in life.

Ter­riss off-stage… …and … in cos­tume

Au­to­graph , please!

Ja­son Man­ford Daugh­ter saw a spec­tre over Skype

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