At Paleofuture, Matt Novak has a good essay on the “spook shows” of the 1940s, 50s, & 60s. We had a couple of these in my home town when I was a kid. Of course, I was always there in the thick of it.
Midnight ghost shows (sometimes called “spook,” “voodoo,” or “monster” shows) promised a night of creepy and playful stunts. There were glowing ghosts, floating objects, psychic readings and dozens of other illusions, all playing off the nation’s interest in spiritualism between the two World Wars.