If the "ghost meters" in the room were any measure, the spirits that haunt the Rialto Square Theatre liked the Ghost Hunters investigation of their digs almost as much as the humans watching their show did.
The devices were lit for almost the entire duration of the Syfy Channel program, which the Rialto's Technical Director Lori Carmine and Events Coordinator Trish Stoner watched on a tiny TV in the cozy confines of the theater's dressing room surrounded by folks who were in the middle of a paranormal tour of the old vaudeville/movie house.
Almost if on cue, the energy-sensing devices picking up the presence of other worldly apparitions would blink on and off when one of the ghost hunters would say, "Did you hear that?" or "I think I saw something."
They've been well-trained by Colleen Carroll, one of the tour leaders, and her All Seeing Paranormal partner Jim "Specter" Prewitt Jr. Blink the meter lights three times for "yes" and two times for "no."
Carroll was astounded by what she was seeing as she watched the show and kept an eye on the electronic equipment.
"I've never seen this kind of action on this light," she said to Prewitt via a walkie-talkie. "I'm loving the reaction on our meters."
The Ghost Hunters investigators seemed just as amazed by what they found. The crew was invited to spend the night at the Rialto by Carmine, who was hoping to confirm things that employees and guests have routinely said they've witnessed.
Among the most active of the spirits are Colin, a young boy who may or may not have been hit by a car outside the Rialto and died inside the theater, and the White Bride, who's most often seen walking along the promenade that looks down on the Joliet theater's rotunda.
Both made appearances on the show, much to the excitement of the investigators.
Colin was not seen but his tell-tale laugh, which was confirmed by Carmine, turned up on tape, as did his words, "My name is not Kevin," which the hunters called him throughout the half-hour program.
He's made it known to Prewitt and Carroll that he doesn't like being called by the wrong name, which he was given by a band crew member who was one of the first to see him as he was unloading equipment for the show, Prewitt said.
Even more exciting for the Ghost Hunters, however, was the physical appearance of the bride, who can be glimpsed for a few seconds moving along the theater's second-level walkway.
"From the standpoint (of ghost hunters), that's the holy grail to capture an apparition on film," investigator Steve Gonsalves said on the show. "It's what we live and breathe for."
From Carmine's perspective, it was nice to have the things that have been reported over the years be confirmed by experts.
And while there may have been a few liberties taken -- for example, it's never been confirmed that any child died at the Rialto and no employee has actually refused to come back to work after having an encounter with the paranormal there -- she and Stoner were thrilled with the show itself. Boiling down hours of audio and video tape to capture the highlights of an all-night investigation is no easy fete, Carmine said.
"I think they're doing a good job," Carmine said during a commercial break, "and they're showing the theater really well."