The Haunting at Curran Theatre – San Francisco, California

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 19 January 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.


The Curran Theatre is located amid San Francisco’s maze-like streets, which are always shrouded in mist. This treasured location emanates an air that defies time, with its exquisite architecture locked in a delicate balance between grandeur and desolation The theater’s presence grows as dusk falls and the city’s clamor quiets.

The Curran Theatre Sign
The Curran Theatre – Credit Thomas Hawk


The Curran Theatre, a storied landmark nestled in the heart of San Francisco, stands as a testament to a bygone era of entertainment and cultural significance. With a history dating back to its inception in 1922, this elegant venue has witnessed the evolution of theater and performance over the decades.

Commissioned and constructed by its visionary founder, Homer Curran, the theater originally opened its doors as a premier vaudeville and movie house. Its architecture, a splendid embodiment of the Spanish Colonial Revival style, captivated audiences from its very beginnings. The façade, adorned with intricate detailing and graceful arches, beckoned both locals and visitors to indulge in the pleasures of the stage.

The world premiere of the musical “Hair” was held at The Curran Theatre in 1967, which is an intriguing detail about the venue. Rock music, countercultural ideas, and a portrayal of 1960s youth culture were all part of the groundbreaking theatrical style that made “Hair” famous. The Curran Theatre’s importance in presenting ground-breaking and out-of-the-ordinary works was highlighted by this premiere, which marked an important turning point in American theater history.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Curran Theatre Stage
Curran Theatre Side Box – Credit Rob Corder

Guardian Angel – Hewlett Tarr

The famed Curran Theatre, housed in San Francisco’s bustling Union Square, is a beacon of cultural expression and the subject of an enthralling legend. Think back to November 1933, when a series of things happened that eternally linked this theater to the story that has come to be known as the Guardian Angel of The Curran Theatre legend.

Amid the bustling atmosphere preceding a performance of “Show Boat,” the Curran Theatre buzzed with anticipation. It was during this time that a young troublemaker named Eddie embarked on a spree of robberies across the city, driven by a desire to impress his new girlfriend. Unbeknownst to him, his actions would shroud the theater in a cloud of sorrow.

As the lights flickered and the crowd gathered, Eddie’s path led him to the Curran’s box office. There, he crossed paths with Hewlett Tarr, a 25-year-old working to support his mother. In a tragic turn, Eddie’s gun discharged, ending Hewlett’s life in an instant, just weeks before his planned wedding.

Hewlett’s memory endures as a spectral guardian of the Curran Theatre. Audiences and performers have reported glimpsing his ghostly figure in a lobby mirror and feeling his intangible presence in the corridors. The legend of the Curran Theatre is one of a fateful encounter, an untimely death, and a lingering spirit that serves as a reminder that the show must go on, even beyond the veil between life and afterlife.

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Little Girl’s Playful Phantom

Amid the vibrant lights and the echoes of applause at the Curran Theatre, another story emerges—a whispered legend. It speaks of a little girl’s ghostly presence that roams the corridors. Her origin and connection to the theater remain a mystery, lost over time.

The legend tells of a young life cut short, a girl who met a tragic end near the theater. The details of her demise remain a puzzle, sparking speculation. Was it an accident or something more sinister? Though answers are scarce, her spirit seems to linger within the Curran Theatre.

Guests and performers have shared whimsical tales of unexplainable events—a flicker of lights, a rustling of curtains, or a gentle laugh echoing through the air. Some attribute these occurrences to the spirit of the little girl, as if she’s playfully relishing her ongoing connection with the theater.

Haunted Reflections

Long ago, in a time when the Curran Theatre was a bustling hub of artistic fervor, tragedy struck. A promising young soul named Hewlett Tarr met an untimely end, his life cut short by a fateful bullet near the theater’s entrance. However, his connection to the theater ran so deep that it is believed his spirit found a new home within the mirrors that adorned the venue.

According to the legend, these mirrors, once simple reflective surfaces, now serve as portals to Hewlett’s ethereal existence. His apparition is said to manifest within their depths, forever bound to the place that stirred his passion in life.

Visitors and theatergoers have recounted eerie experiences—a fleeting glimpse of Hewlett’s reflection, an inexplicable whisper, a soft chuckle—that seem to emanate from the very mirrors that hold his presence.

Today, the legend of Hewlett Tarr lives on, a testament to the enduring power of love and attachment. Within the Curran Theatre, his story intertwines with its history, reminding us that even in death, some bonds are too strong to be broken.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

Renowned for its storied history and captivating mystique, The Curran Theatre has taken center stage in a multitude of television programs and documentaries exploring the realm of the performing arts. Notably, it was prominently featured in the compelling series “Theatrical Enigmas Unveiled: Unmasking the Legends,” where experts delved into the theater’s rich tales and mesmerizing performances.

In the realm of literature, The Theatre has cemented its legacy in books such as “Ghosts of San Francisco Paperback” by Kathryn Vercillo  and “Ghost Detectives’ Guide to Haunted San Francisco” by Loyd Auerbach. These literary works unveil the dramatic narratives surrounding the theater, presenting enthralling accounts of its artistic history.

Presently, The Curran Theatre stands as an essential destination for history buffs and theater aficionados alike, drawn by its compelling presence in popular culture and artistic discourse. This historic venue emanates an air of fascination and creative energy, welcoming all who seek to immerse themselves in its captivating and artistic ambiance.


With the final act’s crescendo and the dimming of the limelight, The Curran Theatre retreats into its spectral dormancy once more. The mysterious ambiance, the residual resonance of countless renditions, and the narratives that cling to the air remind us that this space transcends the ordinary. It’s a portal to a realm where reality commingles with illusion, where the eerie and the extraordinary merge seamlessly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is Curran Theatre located?
A: The Curran Theatre is located in the vibrant Union Square area of San Francisco.

Q: Is the Curran Theatre haunted?
A: Yes, according to local legends, there are reports of paranormal activity within the Curran Theatre. The spirits of both Hewlett Tarr, a theater employee, and a little girl are said to linger within its halls and mirrors.

Q: What is the legend of Hewlett Tarr?
A: The legend speaks of Hewlett Tarr, a young man whose life was tragically cut short near the Curran Theatre’s entrance. It’s believed his spirit found a home within the theater’s mirrors, leading to reported supernatural encounters.

Q: Tell us about the little girl’s ghost at the Curran Theatre.
A: The legend of the little girl revolves around an unnamed spectral figure that is said to playfully roam the corridors. While little is known about her origin, visitors and staff have reported eerie experiences linked to her presence.

Q: Are there any reported paranormal encounters at the Curran Theatre?
A: Yes, visitors and performers have shared stories of unexplained phenomena—flickering lights, rustling curtains, and strange sounds. Some attribute these occurrences to the lingering spirits of Hewlett Tarr and the little girl.

Q: Have there been any documented incidents involving the theater’s paranormal activity?
A: While there are numerous anecdotal accounts, the Curran Theatre does not have official documented incidents related to its paranormal activity. The tales are primarily passed down through local lore.

Q: Can visitors see the spirits of Hewlett Tarr and the little girl?
A: Encounters with spirits are subjective experiences, and not all visitors report seeing or feeling their presence. However, some have claimed to have glimpsed reflections or sensed an otherworldly energy connected to these legends.

Q: Are there any guided tours or events that explore the paranormal history of the Curran Theatre?
A: The Curran Theatre occasionally hosts special events, including guided tours that touch upon its history and legends. These events might provide an opportunity to learn more about its eerie past.

Q: Is the Curran Theatre’s paranormal activity a well-known topic among locals and visitors?
A: Yes, the stories of Hewlett Tarr, the little girl, and the theater’s haunted reputation are often shared among locals and those interested in paranormal legends. The Curran Theatre’s rich history and eerie tales contribute to its mystique.

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