The Haunting Tale of Paramount Joe

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Who doesn’t love a good ghost story this time of the year? Especially when it involves a local landmark. We’re taking you inside a historic Kentucky theater, where the performances aren’t just limited to the characters on stage.

“It would be interesting to see if someone meant harm to the theater in someway how he would act toward that person,” said Tyson Compton, former marketing director of Paramount Theater.

He is talking about a local legend, simply known as Paramount Joe.

The Paramount Theater in Ashland, KY is known for its grandeur and amazing performances, in fact legend has it one fan enjoyed it so much he never left.

While Compton was marketing director at the theater, he found a unique way to communicate with its unofficial caretaker –  by enlisting a medium.

“He was telling her that did not have a good life otherwise,” said Compton, “and when he came to this theater he thought it was so beautiful, he didn’t ever want to leave.”

Legend has it Joe came with a work crew from Cincinnati back in the 1930’s, but one day his co-workers returned from lunch to a horrific sight. They found Joe hanging in the curtain rigging. The story has never been validated, but Tyson says that’s the story that’s the past long through the years.

Over the years school children have felt a phantom taps on their shoulders, an apparition of a man in vintage work overalls has been spotted in the audience only to disappear in the blink of an eye and mysterious lights and sounds have been the source of many ghost stories at the Paramount.

But, the most popular tale involves a performer who shot to fame after filming a music video at the theater in the 1990’s.

“Billy Ray Cyrus filmed his Achy Breaky Heart video here and an employee told him about Joe,” said Compton, “so in between tapings he would talk to him and claims he really felt his presence”

So much so, Billy Ray left an autographed picture for his phantom fan. But, when they ran out of room on the walls employees decided to pack up a few frames. They soon came to regret that decision.

“They took down the poster he had signed to Paramount Joe,” said Compton, “The next morning they came into the box office and every single picture on those walls was in the floor. It was almost like an arm maybe wiped them off the wall.”

Years later Billy Ray reconnected with Joe on stage during a performance.

“All of the sudden the sound went completely out for like five seconds and he just stopped and laughed and said good to see you too Joe,” said Compton, “That was pretty cool!”

And, most hope Joe will continue to feel at home at the Paramount.

“Actually I always felt pretty protective of him as well,” said Compton,” like a good friend in a way.”

For more on the paranormal side of The Paramount, check out their website by visiting here.

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