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Yost Theater & Ritz Hotel is the fifth episode of Season 8 of Ghost Adventures. Zak, Nick and Aaron engage in a multi-part lockdown in Santa Ana, CA. Conflict arises when they find the Ritz Hotel under construction, so they add the Santa Ana Howe-Waffle House, another haunted location, to the night's lockdown.

Preliminary Investigation

The Yost first opened as The Auditorium in 1913. It then was renamed the Clunes the same year. It was not until Ed Yost purchased the theater that it acquired the name, Yost Theater. In 1950 the theater was leased to Luis Olivos, father of Louie Olivos Jr. The theater housed vaudeville, silent films, and talkies before it became a Mexican cinema house under the Olivos Family. Louie Olivos Jr. brought talent of Mexican cinema to the Yost including Antonio Aguilar, and Vicente Fernández to name some. He also brought Ike and Tina Turner and Sonny and Cher to the Yost.

The Chase Family, developers of the Fiesta Marketplace shopping district, purchased the Yost from the City of Santa Ana in 1986. After this purchase the theater became a church, and as a result of this, the structure suffered defacing and alteration of its interior. In 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Yost Theater would be reopened for the benefit of the community at large. Restoration and conversion to a live theatre was carried out by architect Thomas Berkes, and it reopened as a concert and live performance venue that same year. Following the reopening, the Centro Cultural de México (Mexican Cultural Center in Santa Ana) began programming concerts and related events, including an appearance of Dolores Huerta, Director of United Farm Workers, and a lecture on Frida Kahlo by Mexican art connoisseur Gregorio Luke.

Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle was one of the first female physicians in Orange County, California. Her thirty-eight years of practice started in 1886 after she graduated from Hahnemann Medical College in Chicago. Her dedication to her patients lasted until her very last day, as she died by the bed of a patient at the Santa Ana Community Hospital in 1924. She was seventy-four years old. Built in 1889 (the same year Orange County became a county), this Queen Anne style house was the home of Dr. Howe-Waffle until her death in 1924. In the early 1970s, the City of Santa Ana slated the home for demolition in order to widen a road, but concerned area citizens joined forces to preserve the house. Under the leadership of Adeline Walker, Friends of the Howe Waffle House formed. This group later became known as the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society. The organization worked hard to raise awareness, and in 1974 the City of Santa Ana agreed to pay to move the house if the Society would pay for the foundation and restoration work. Between March 27–29, 1975, the City moved the house to its present location on the corner of Civic Center and Sycamore. The Society worked tirelessly over the years to restore the home to how it would have looked during Dr. Howe-Waffle's time. The all volunteer Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society continues to run the home today as the Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle House and Medical Museum, and it is open for tours six times a year.


After the familiar opening in which Zak Bagans introduces the guys; Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin, we are shown the object of tonight’s investigation. The Yost Theatre and Ritz Hotel are side by side in Santa Ana, California and owned by the same man, Dave Leon. The Theatre opened in 1813 and was the place there Ernest Ball, famous composer died in his dressing room unexpectedly. The Ritz Hotel never really lived up to its name, becoming a health club and then a shabby hotel.

Some people have said that they’ve seen Ernie walking around the Theatre in the basement. The director of security, Art told the guys that there are certain places he won’t go in the building, which makes his job difficult. More than just seeing visions, he has heard voices. He said that once he heard a voice say, “hi dad”, sounding like a little girl, but then say it again much lower sounding more like a demon. The owner, Dave, said he and a buddy heard voices in the basement, low guttural voices loud and spooky and that they froze. Zak explained to us at home that this was common when spirits are around as they give off electromagnetic waves that can “freeze” humans temporarily. Ernie Vanlier, a local ghost hunter said that the site is extremely haunted and played a recording for the guys. He had captures a voice saying, “Dead, [pause] ghost”. Zak said that this was significant in that it was over many frequencies, paused and then on the same frequency said the second word. Zak and Nick got very excited listening to the voice and Ernie got goose bumps and started to feel weird.

As Zak headed toward the hotel he found that there were construction workers in the building and had torn down most of the walls they had seen in pictures just two days before. He was not happy about this and said as much to someone in charge, stating that he had paid to film there and now there were no walls. Nick did a good job of turning things around by suggesting that the tear down may actually “kick up” some spirits. The guys were told that in room 19 a black shadow was seen creeping up a wall and then a portal showed up and it crawled into it and disappeared. They discussed whether or not they should continue in light of the demolition and decided to press on.

The first order of business was to visit the local historian at the Waffle house. Not a regular Waffle house, this one was named after the former occupant, Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle. She and her husband were both Doctors and it was said that he had been in trouble for doing abortions there, at that time, 1889, completely illegal. Ernie Alonzo showed them some old pictures of things after the earthquake. Ernie said a women’s voice had been captured that said, “It’s hopeless here”. Zak and Nick tried to get something on the spirit box but nothing came for a while, so they headed to the attic. Zak asked multiple questions and finally got a response. He had asked, “Did your husband do abortions in this house?” to which the response came, “It’s haunting”. Zak asked “what did your husband do?” “In trouble” was the answer. Zak asked, “Why”? The answer came, “abortion”. After 30 minutes of nothing else they went downstairs. Zak went into the patient room alone and starting asking questions. He heard what sounded like dishes clinking together but didn’t capture any voices. Nick captured a small ball of light behind Zak as he was asking questions, but Zak wouldn’t know it until later.

The lock down was about to start and Zak had an idea to have Art walk back to the hotel from the nerve center where the guys were all gathered. Art agreed and headed out. Meanwhile Billy and Jay were monitoring the theatre with x cameras. Art headed to the back stage area by the green room and the dressing room where Ernie died. Right after he walked in we all heard, “Hey, can you hear me?”. Zak quickly ran out to where the doors were just outside of where Ernie was so he could debunk anyone outside saying anything. No one was there. Art walked out of camera shot so the guys in the nerve center had no way of talking to him. But, they could see what was happening by what Art could see with his camera. A ghostly figured suddenly walked between two curtains. It was played several times, but was very hard to make out. Art called out, “somebody there?” He tried talking to the guys, but didn’t realize that he was out of camera shot. Art became very cold and disoriented. Zak quickly went to him and told him that he thinks he, Art is an actual trigger object and took him back to the nerve center. Aaron was in the hotel and called out a few questions. He heard sounds as if someone was working, but no one was there. He asked more questions and his spirit box said, “haunting”. In the end Zak saw a rat on film and then most of the noises they had heard could be debunked as rats running around the buildings. All in all, lots of activity, but Art was the most successful of the night.


  • EMF Fluctuation: The EMF Detector starts going off on the second floor.
  • Spirit Box Voices: "it's haunting", "in trouble", "abortion",
  • Apparition: An anomaly appears which looks like it is coming out of the wall and up into the attic with the guys, and coincidentally, another spirit comes through the spirit box.
  • Physical Contact/Possession: Zak starts feeling sick when we feels that he needs to go in the patient's room and not leave.
  • Residual Noises: Glass hitting
  • Apparition: A bright ball of light manifests in direct command from Zak that moves quickly away from him.

  • Physical Contact: Billy and Jay report to Zak that after they shut off the X cameras in the Yost Theater and Ritz Hotel, the atmosphere shifted.
  • Disembodied Speaking: "hey...can you hear me?"
  • Apparition: A shadow appears in the shape of a cloaky mist, passes by a doorway where Art was.
  • Physical Contact: Art feels the atmosphere becoming very cold.
  • Residual Noises: Noises
  • Physical Harm: Zak feels as if something is pinching or stabbing his arm in the basement. Seconds later he looses all feeling in his arm.

  • Residual Noises: Construction noises
  • Spirit Box Voices: "haunting"

  • Notes

    Since the Ritz Hotel was under construction, the crew decide to investigate the Willella Howe-Waffle House.


    Season 8 Episodes
    Pioneer SaloonBlack Swan InnTuolumne General HospitalMissouri State PenitentiaryYost Theater & Ritz HotelHaunted Victorian MansionExorcist HouseAlcatrazMustang RanchThornhaven ManorBattle of Perryville