Cain’s Ballroom

Shadow figures and strange voices are known to fill the quiet hours at this historic ballroom

Haunted Happenings at
Cain’s Ballroom

  • Apparitions and shadow figures are often reported in the building
  • Disembodied voices are heard in the building
  • Strange moaning and crying have been heard around the old backstage lavatory
  • Cold and hot spots are encountered throughout the building
  • Photographic anomalies have been captured by past visitors
  • Past investigations have turned up potential EVP recordings
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Musical History
of Cain’s Ballroom

When heading to a show at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you might think you’re seeing a show in an industrial garage. And, in a way, that’s exactly what you’re doing. But, don’t let the look fool you, Cain’s Ballroom is a venue of unmatched revelry and history.

The reportedly haunted Cain's Ballroom, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Having greeted countless big-name musicians in its time, and having been a pivotal part of the rise of western swing in the United States, Cain’s has earned its place in the annals of musical history.

But, tales of ghosts have followed that grand history closely, and Cain’s Ballroom is known around Tulsa today as both a one-of-a-kind music venue and a positively haunted honky-tonk.

Timeline of Cain’s Ballroom's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Cain’s Ballroom through the years

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First built in 1924, the building that would become Cain’s Ballroom started as a garage for wealthy Tulsa co-founder W. Tate Brady. Brady was associated with the Ku Klux Klan in these years and participated in acts of terrorism alongside the black-robed ‘Knights of Liberty,’ including the infamous 1921 Tulsa race massacre.

In the later 1920s, Brady’s fortune dwindled and his son was killed in an auto accident. Depressed and despondent, Brady died by suicide in 1925, and his garage was turned into a music venue called The Louvre Ballroom.

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Purchased by Madison ‘Daddy’ Cain in 1930, The Louvre Ballroom was transformed into Cain’s Dance Academy. Shortly after opening, it became a local staple of a rapidly developing sub-genre: Western Swing. In 1934, musician Bob Wills came to Tulsa with his new band, The Texas Playboys. Soon after, Wills’ musical style took off and he played daily shows from Cain’s that would be broadcast by the local radio station.

Wills’ performances soon became so beloved that the venue was unofficially known as the ‘Home of Bob Wills.’

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The heyday of the dance hall swiftly came and went, with Wills’ regular performances at Cain’s ending in the 1940s. But, despite that, Cain’s Dance Academy remained well-regarded in Tulsa as the ‘Carnegie Hall of Western Swing.’ By the 1960s, old musical styles were falling out of public interest in favor of Rock & Roll.

During this time, several owners tried to re-popularize the dance hall, to no avail. It wasn’t until the late 1970s, when new ownership changed the name to Cain’s Ballroom, that the venue found renewed success.

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The success of Cain’s Ballroom has continued to today, with popular acts being booked regularly. And though Cain’s Ballroom is not wanting for memorable sights and sounds, the historic venue has one additional draw for those in search of mystery as well as music. For years, patrons and workers alike have claimed that the old honky-tonk is haunted by its long past.

And after so many years of these claims and stories piling up, Cain’s Ballroom has gained an additional layer of legend around itself as one of Tulsa’s most well-known haunts.

Music & Mystery at Cain’s Ballroom

Apparitions are some of the most commonly reported paranormal events at Cain’s Ballroom. Moving shadows are often spotted by workers and patrons around the ballroom, and some figures are known to appear more vividly. In one case, a man in early 1900s cowboy attire entered the establishment and tried to order a ten-cent bag of popcorn, something the ballroom hasn’t offered since its early years. The figure reportedly disappeared soon after.

A smiling face always looks on to the dancefloor at Cain

Another detailed apparition seen around Cain’s Ballroom is a partially transparent woman wearing a flowing ball gown. Some visitors and workers have applied identities to some of these ghostly manifestations, claiming the ballroom to be haunted by Bob Wills, and a female spirit named Chloe.

Cain’s Ballroom’s Ghostly Voices

Disembodied voices and other strange sounds are often heard during quiet moments around Cain’s Ballroom. Along with strange voices, phantom giggling has also been reported.

Some visitors also report sounds of moaning and crying in the old backstage restroom area. Past investigations performed at Cain’s Ballroom have frequently resulted in potential EVPs being collected as well.

Get the Chills at Cain’s Ballroom

Sudden and unexplainable temperature changes are another common abnormality at Cain’s. While many reportedly haunted locations have claims of cold spots, Cain’s reports the presence of both cold and hot spots around the building.

Additionally, visitors who take photos in the building often report strange and unexplainable anomalies appearing in their photos that some have called paranormal manifestations. Some past investigators have made note of strange EMF readings in the building, but this has since been attributed to old and unshielded wiring systems in certain areas.

Hauntings of Cain’s Ballroom
Still Linger Today

Cain’s Ballroom today keeps a jam-packed schedule of musicians and performers, so it’s not often you’ll find any paranormal events or investigations hosted there, despite the long list of ghostly reports.

But Cain’s paranormal reputation continues to endure, being the subject of numerous news articles and interviews over recent years. Along with that, Cain’s is often mentioned and/or visited by local ghost tour companies. But, whether you’re a believer in ghosts or not, Cain’s Ballroom will always unquestionably be a place where the spirit of Western Swing lives on.