10th Avenue Theater Arts Center Ghost


10th Tenth Avenue Theater Arts Center Ghost Haunt Paranormal, previously the First Baptist Church of San Diego.

Fair use 100 years newspaper article – History of San Diego, 1542-1908: The modern city By William Ellsworth Smythe

We encourage our readers to read the specifics from the source first, 10thavenuetheatre.com 

The 10th Tenth Avenue Theater Arts Center is currently located at 930 10th Avenue, San Diego, California 92101, a parcel that once housed part of the First Baptist Church of San Diego, Ca (a great sized complex). The Church was conceived in the mid 1800’s however, the original church building on Tenth and E Streets was not completed, until 1888. First Baptist Church eventually sold the property and moved to a new location in 1997. First Baptist Church of San Diego (FBCSD) is still in operation almost 127 years later, and is now located at, 5055 Governor Drive San Diego, CA.
Claims of the paranormal or ghosts at the current 10th Tenth Avenue Theater Arts Center:
According to the 10th avenue theaters website, four ghosts are suspected to haunt various portions of the building. Of the four, three of those haunts are intensely specific.

  • The ghost of a British Lieutenant
  • The falling death of a girl named Missy
  • A suicidal grief stricken Baptist Pastor

The specifics behind each ghost can be found at the 10th avenue website. www.10thavenuetheatre.com
The suspected Ghost hauntings at the The 10th Tenth Avenue Theater Arts Center gained public attention after a short interview with Association of Paranormal Studies (APS) founder, Alex Matsuo, on the local KPBS back in October 2012. Since then the owners of the theater have invited several local paranormal groups out to the location, possibly in an attempt to offer guided ghost tours of the location in the near future.
So is the 10th avenue theater haunted, and are the historic stories accurate or just urban legends?
San Diego Haunted contacted Jeff Cotta from the 10th avenue theater website to learn more about the stories posted on their website. This was the response, “The stories were passed on to us from some of the First Baptist Church folks as they were hauling their stuff out of the building back in ’97 (when we purchased the property).” SDH then attempted to contact the current Congregation officials for First Baptist Church, unfortunately every attempt has failed, other than basic cordiality.
We then turned back to the specific stories of Missy and the grief stricken priest to find any records to validate the claims. A young girl named Linda Jo “Missy” Holterhaus did die in San Diego in the correct time frame. However, it was unlikely she was the person of interest in the story (death records are pending). We were also unable to turn up any news stories about suicidal priests and or persons falling to death at the First Baptist Church building.
Neither of the two Head pastors from First Baptist Church 10th Ave and E streets, 1958-70, killed themselves. Both men lived to be 85 (John Bunyan Smith) and 94 (Pieter Smit). The story of the inspirational speech rings true, but it was given by Pieter Smit and it was on the fly as he had already published his planned sermon for the week in the Evening Tribune. The fact that the story links his secretary and sermon together draws the obvious conclusion that the story refers to Pieter himself and not another lower pastor, deacon, or entity.
In all our efforts San Diego Haunted is left with nothing more than verbal stories passed from one owner to the next. We will continue to look into the stories and if anyone has any written documentation to support these claims, please contact us.
Here are some great personal experiences from the local paranormal community:
Association of Paranormal Studies (APS) founder Alex Matsuo:
“I feel there have been numerous unexplainable events at the 10th Avenue Theatre that leads me to believe that it is haunted. In my times at the 10th Avenue Theatre as an actor, playwright, and audience member, I’ve had the experience of being watched as well as feeling as though something touched me. While at the 10th as an investigator, my team has captured audio of a little girl’s voice saying, “Mommy” and I have been aggressively touched on the leg on the 4th floor.
San Diego Paranormal Eye (SDPE) founder Stan Thompson:
“In my opinion yes the location is haunted. I don’t read into any of the stories before I go into a location. I don’t want to be influenced by my readings. While walking up the stairs between the 2nd & 3rd floor, I remember turning to Bryon &told him that a female died here. I heard a child’s voice. There actually was two females present but I only saw one that had died in that stairway. According to one of the stories there was a young girl that had died on the stairs. I didn’t know that until after the investigation. When I entered the 2nd floor I remember turning to the person that was letting us in & told him this building used to be something else. I was seeing religious artifacts but also something to do with a school or school children. I also heard a growl on the 2nd story. There was a curtain that was hiding a dressing room by a stage on the 2nd floor, I turned to the group and said there was more to this room than what we were seeing. I didn’t know at that time that behind the curtain was a dressing room. When I entered the room there was a male spirit there. He stated that he had killed a female. Later, when fellow investigators Marilee & Katherine were in the room they saw a man’s head peeking thru the curtains. They thought it was one of our team members.They told him to get out, that he was messing with the investigation. He said something they couldn’t make out. It was captured as an EVP on their recorder. One of them screamed after realizing it was just a head and no body. They went out of the room and asked the rest of the team if anyone had gone in the room. We had a camera pointed on the room and there was no one that had approached the curtain. also in the basement. There is a door that has been walled up that used to lead to the building next door. This is a passageway they travel to and from, it felt like a portal. I saw them going thru and coming through the wall. There were other things that happened but those are the things I documented in my notes from that night.”
Spirit Solutions Founder Cassandra Stoneking: 
“Do I believe there are souls still wandering around the 10th? Yes. But here’s the catch. Did I catch any solid non-questionable evidence there to be able to prove that? No. Theaters have a way of super charging the energy in a place. Some more than others. The 10th is one of those places. Walking in I can feel the surges of energy in different rooms. So much so, that in one area it felt like a really bad case of vertigo. We did get responses on a Spirit Box….but that can’t be corroborated with other evidence. Which makes it not viable as proof. The majority of what I found, at it’s core, is only personal experience. But personal experience doesn’t a public haunted venue make, you really should bank on solid evidence instead.”

One thought on “10th Avenue Theater Arts Center Ghost

  1. Hello! I’ve been at the Tenth Ave Arts Center all this week creating a set for The Cat Lady Play and I can vouch that the theater is in fact haunted. I didn’t know that this was a thing but 10 minutes into walking into theater alone, I saw the ghost of a girl or young woman, around 5 feet tall. There have been extremely strange and wonderful things that have happened this week. Anyway, I can always tell you more but I thought I’d share! -David Vaughn, co-director and co-writer of The Cat Lady Play

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