Maui Arts & Entertainment

Maui’s ‘Iao Theater Stars in SYFY Ghost Story Episode

August 21, 2012, 9:51 AM HST
* Updated August 22, 6:42 AM
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‘Iao Theater, courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

Maui’s historic ‘Iao Theater will be featured in the final episode of the SYFY Channel’s cable series, “Haunted Collector.”

Producers of the series spent time filming on location last year, in an attempt to document paranormal activity and tell the story of “Emma” – the unknown actress of the ‘Iao Theater.

The “Haunted Iao Theater” episode explores the claims of theater employees, who over the years have said they have encountered a sweet, feminine, friendly ghost residing in the area.

This photo is thought to be Emma in life. Courtesy photo.

In 2011, Maui OnStage was contacted by the SYFY Channel to conduct a paranormal investigation of the building.


During the episode, the “Haunted Collector” investigating team opens a round concrete casing, believed to be a time capsule, with items from the early years of the Theater’s operations.


The chicken skin encounters as the crew unveils items contained within the capsule are said to be captured in the episode.

Items recovered include an 80-year-old piece of 16mm celluloid film, 2 postcards of Maui pineapple fields from the 1920s and a sterling silver barrette.

A debut screening of the episode, presented by the Maui County Film Office and Maui OnStage, will be simulcast before a live audience at the ‘Iao Theater on Wednesday, August 29, 2012.  Free limited seating is available for first 350 attendees.

‘Iao Theater 1940s. Courtesy photo.


The screening is being simulcast in coordination with the SYFY Channel, with Harmer Communications providing the live satellite feed for the Theater debut.

Doors open at 4 p.m., followed by an introduction by Michael Pulliam, Special Events Manager for Maui OnStage and Harry L. Donenfeld, Film Commissioner for Maui County at 4:30 p.m. A special blessing will be held to kick off the 5 p.m. screening.

Along with the ‘Iao Theater ghost stories, the broadcast debut will also feature a corresponding segment on the Lanai Island’s Social Hall and Carriage House.

For those who miss the special screening at ‘Iao Theater, Maui OnStage will host encore screenings of the episode several times during the Halloween festivities.

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