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Take the State Theatre's "Psycho Tour," Hear Bay City's Eeriest Crime Tales

If You Liked the "Ghost Tour," You'll Love this Scary Trip, and the Movie

October 8, 2004       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Dave Skinner, local attorney, goes back several decades in time reviewing slides of the evidence in the trial of John Woos, alleged slayer of theatre manager Floyd Ackerman in 1943.

      What connection does Bay City have with the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock movie, "Psycho."

      You need to take the State Theatre's new "Psycho Tour" to find out.

      The Psycho Tour is a new Halloween production of the State Theatre's Carolyn White and her story-telling team of tour guides.
br>      They're prepared to shock and scare the wits out of you with some tales dredged up out of Bay City's sordid and crime-ridden past.

      If you wake up in a cold sweat the next day on Halloween morning, you'll know the connection for sure.

      The ghosts on the Ghost Tour will seem like Caspar the Friendly Ghost after you hear of the activities of the South End gang that wreaked havoc and death along Broadway and elsewhere in the city in the 1920s.

      Some of the crimes in that spree are still unsolved.

      Perhaps the most mysterious tale is that of the young musician actually frightened to death in the basement of a historic building along one of the main South End routes. Nobody knows the details, because nobody involved with the discovery of the body will talk. They are worried that the frightening apparition might still be around.

      The State Theatre is the scene ofrecollection of a 1943 murder that will be part of the tour. New details have surfaced about the case of Korean-born John Woos, alleged slayer of theatre manager Floyd Ackerman. Woos was freed in 1967 after U.S. Supreme Court decisions which made his prosecution and confession retroactively flawed. Woos, if still alive, would be 82. There are reports he may be living in California.

      Noted Bay City trial attorney Dave Skinner recently reviewed the 1967 retrial of the Woos case with a reporter. Ironically, the case archives are stored in a vault in the very building outside which Woos allegedly shot Ackerman on Dec. 5, 1943.

      The sordid tale of an unfortunate prostitute who died a sordid death on Hell's Half Mile has recentlybeen uncovered. It may wring the last tears from your eyes as it must have outraged the righteous temperance ladies on Water Street in the 1870s.

      There is a prime criminal who is the headliner of this tour. Without giving too much away, this slayer killed five people in 1971 and still sits in jail. You will hear his unfathomable confession letter to his pastor, if you can stand it.

      There are startling parallels between this famous case and the main character of the movie, one Norman Bates. To find out what they are, of course you need to climb aboard the bus at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 at the State Theatre. Tickets are $10 for the tour and film and must be purchased before Wednesday, Oct. 27. Space is limited, so sign up soon.

      This tour is not for children or the faint of heart, so bring your smelling salts in case you need to revive somebody, or wake up yourself.

      The State Theatre box office is open Tuesdays 4-6:30 p.m. Call 892-2660 for information or log on to

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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