The Haunting of Sterling Opera House – Derby, Connecticut

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 8 December 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Introduction of Sterling Opera House

The Sterling Opera House, located in the center of Derby, Connecticut, acts as a silent sentinel for both the opulence of the past and the perplexing riddles that surround it. This famous building has a long history that dates back to the 19th century. It has hosted innumerable performances, but what makes it truly chilling and unforgettable are the tales that are told in its dark crevices.

History of Sterling Opera House

The Sterling Opera House, an architectural gem nestled in Derby, Connecticut, has a rich and storied history that spans over a century. Its construction dates back to the late 19th century when it first opened its doors in 1889. Designed by the renowned architect H. Edwards Ficken, the opera house was a testament to the opulence and cultural vibrancy of its era.

The Sterling Opera House has a reputation for being haunted, and eerie encounters have only added to that reputation. These notions have been fed by stories of dark figures lurking in the building’s dimly lighted hallways and the unsettling appearance of kid-sized handprints on its walls. Photographs shot inside its historic walls have revealed mysterious orbs and persons dressed in Victorian attire, prompting concerns about any lingering energy that may exist inside.

A significant turning point in the opera house’s history occurred in 1968 when it achieved the distinction of being the first building in Connecticut to earn a place on the National Register of Historic Places. This recognition highlighted its architectural significance and historical value, reigniting hopes for its restoration and revitalization.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Playful Spirit – Andy

Sterling Opera House is a location where the strange and otherworldly occur. An entity known as “Andy,” which is thought to be the ghost of a little child, is at the center of these unexplained incidents. The opera theatre, where bizarre and unusual happenings have been experienced by those who dare to enter, has the unmistakable imprint of this spirit.

Throughout the opera house, signs of Andy’s presence are evident. Toys and balls have been strategically placed for Andy to interact with, and in the back of the main hall, a peculiar setup awaits him – balls arranged on empty cardboard tubes, ready to be knocked off. But Andy’s playful antics go beyond the setup; those who have crossed paths with this mischievous spirit have experienced a series of extraordinary episodes.

Rich, a custodian at the opera house, has been a witness to some of these inexplicable occurrences. He recalls a time when he saw a handprint materialize in the dusty surface of a chair, as though Andy was leaving his mark for all to see. But that was just the beginning. Rich has also seen balls move of their own accord, defying the laws of physics and leaving him in awe of the unseen presence of Andy.

The legend of Sterling Opera House continues to fascinate and bewilder, with Andy at the center of it all. Whether it’s the toys and balls set up for his amusement or the inexplicable events witnessed by those like Rich, the spirit of the young boy seems to linger in the old opera house. And as long as the legend endures, so too will the belief in Andy’s playful and enigmatic spirit, forever making Sterling Opera House a place where the ordinary meets the extraordinary.

Interior of the Opera House
Interior of the Opera House – Credit interludephotography

Haunting Spirit of a Women and Child

Sterling Opera House is known for its spine-tingling encounters with the paranormal. It’s said that this place is a haven for spirits, particularly children, leaving behind a trail of ghostly evidence. Paranormal investigators exploring the Opera House have uncovered some eerie findings. They’ve recorded Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) featuring the eerie voices of children, sending chills down the spines of those who’ve listened.

In addition, investigators have captured photos showing mysterious spirit mists and orbs, adding to the eerie ambiance of the opera house. Witnesses have reported sightings of shadowy figures and other ghostly apparitions, leaving spectators in a state of fear and fascination.

One striking photograph even reveals what appears to be the spirits of a woman in Victorian-era clothing and a child. It stands as a haunting testament to the unearthly occupants of Sterling Opera House. Furthermore, witnesses have claimed to see child-sized handprints appear in various spots, as if a ghostly presence is making its presence felt in the physical world.

The legend of Sterling Opera House, with its chilling tales of ghostly encounters, continues to captivate those who hear it. From the eerie voices of children caught in EVPs to the unsettling images of spirit mists and orbs, as well as the spine-tingling sightings of shadowy figures and Victorian-era apparitions, this place holds onto its mysteries. The appearance of child-sized handprints only adds to the enigma surrounding this historic site. Sterling Opera House remains a place where the line between the living and the departed blurs, beckoning the brave to explore the world of the supernatural within its haunted walls.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of Sterling Opera House

The Sterling Opera House has been featured prominently in various television shows and documentaries exploring the paranormal because of its illustrious past and eerie aura. The opera house was most notably featured in the suspenseful series “Phantoms of the Past: Unearthing Haunted Histories,” when detectives looked into the building’s spectral tales and terrifying encounters.

In the world of literature, the Sterling Opera House has cemented its presence in works such as “Haunted Derby” by Solomon and “Connecticut Ghost Stories and Legends” by Thomas D’Agostino. These literary creations unravel the supernatural tales that envelop the opera house, offering enthralling accounts of its ghostly past.

Due to its mystifying standing in media and popular culture, the Opera House is still a must-visit destination for history buffs and people who are interested in the paranormal. With its alluring and ethereal ambiance, this historical gem draws in anybody looking for an immersive experience. It exudes an aura of mystery and the strange.


As we say goodbye to the Sterling Opera House, we leave behind a location where the mysteries of the past and the ghosts of bygone eras still intrigue and mystify. Derby, Connecticut can be proud of this historical treasure, where the echoes of previous performances blend with rumors of paranormal experiences. The Opera House unquestionably made an indelible impression on your experience, whether you came looking for history, the paranormal, or just a taste of both. As you return to the present, keep in mind that this scary and alluring location will always be a gateway to the mysterious, a location where the ghosts of the past remain and wait for those who dare to investigate its spooky past.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is Sterling Opera House located?

A: Sterling Opera House is located in Derby, Connecticut.

Q: Is Sterling Opera House open to the public?

A: Yes, Sterling Opera House is open to the public for guided tours and special events. However, please check the schedule for specific visiting hours.

Q: Are there any ghostly encounters reported at Sterling Opera House?

A: Yes, numerous ghostly encounters have been reported at Sterling Opera House. Visitors and investigators have documented EVPs, shadow figures, apparitions, and even mysterious handprints believed to be of ghostly origin.

Q: Can I participate in a paranormal investigation at the Opera House?

A: Yes, Sterling Opera House occasionally hosts paranormal investigations and events. Keep an eye on their official website or social media for upcoming opportunities.

Q: Are there any specific legends or stories associated with the Opera House?

A: Yes, one prominent legend is that of “Andy,” the spirit of a young boy believed to inhabit the opera house. His playful antics with toys, mysterious voices, and eerie apparitions make for intriguing tales.

Q: Can I take photographs or record videos during my visit?

A: Yes, visitors are generally allowed to take photographs and videos for personal use. However, please be respectful and follow any specific guidelines provided during your visit.

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