The Tragic Ghost of Olive Thomas

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In a golden time in the past in the 1900s lots of girls wanted to be a part of the famous Ziegfield Follies. Being part of these follies meant that you were a most lovely young girl and you became a dancer on the stage. One such girl was Olive Thomas who arrived in New York City about 1915 and had her dream come true when she became a dancer in the Ziegfield Follies. She was only 17 years old. At that time the Ziegfield Follies made its home in the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway.

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For Olive other magical things happened. The following year in 1916 she had caught the eye of the International Film Company and got herself a movie contract. So it was good-bye Broadway and California here I come. There she met and married Jack Pickford who was an American actor and director. Unfortunately for Olive when she went on her second honeymoon in 1920 to Paris it was not all romance and roses. She and Jack argued and Olive wound up ingesting a blue bottle of mercury bichloride meant to be used topically for Jack’s syphilis. It might have just been an accident but one way or another Jack stayed by her side till she died in a Paris hospital.

Her body was brought back to the states. Olive had been only 25 years old. It now appears that her spirit returned to where it was the happiest and that was at the New Amsterdam Theater when she was a Ziegfield girl. She has been seen in the theater in a green beaded dress with a blue bottle in her hand. A security guard working at this theater saw a woman in a green beaded dress walking about the stage and clutching a blue bottle. When he yelled at her and told her she wasn’t allowed there, she just glided through the wall and out onto 41st Street.

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So if you are ever in New York City and catch a play at the New Amsterdam Theater don’t forget to wave and say, “Hello, Olive!” I find the stories of haunted New York fascinating and will relate some more. There are times I might have something personal to add. When I lived in New York I went to the New Amsterdam Theater a few times. I never put two and two together until I wrote about the haunting of Olive Thomas. The time I was at the theater I remember winding up sitting next to an empty seat. I was with a friend and he was on the left side of me.

Usually, when I watch Broadway shows I get wrapped up in the magic onstage and I don’t notice who is around me. However, since I have kept diaries most of my life then I can relate this incident. Sitting there hypnotized by the music onstage I remarked that the woman next to me had an unusual fragrance and at one point I brushed up against her arm and excused myself as I continued watching the play. When it was over and the lights came on I suddenly returned to reality. The reality was that the seat on my right was still empty, yet I could have sworn for at least 15 minutes it was occupied. Now I ask myself, “Could it have been Olive Thomas?” If it had been a real person she would have still been sitting there and I could have apologized one more time for having brushed up against her arm. How I wish now that I had glanced over because I would have liked to see how she had once looked.


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