Cinema Ghost Stories?

posted by DaveGrau on August 3, 2004 at 6:38 am

In the forty eight years I have been a projectionist, I have yet to see a theater that was not haunted, one way or the other.

The old Warner in Pittsburgh, when I used to go to the upstairs booth I would smell cigar smoke in the booth, but the balcony, and booth were both empty. I later found out the old Projectionist Whitey died in the booth and was a cigar smoker, he had worked there for 40 years.

Recently, I worked the Carmike Cinema in El Paso Texas, in the booth between screens 13 & 14, the air was always ice cold, you could see shadows going along the wall of a woman and young child. I even felt a hand on my shoulder, like a gentle pat, more than once.

Have any good ghost stories?

Comments (28)

William on August 3, 2004 at 8:18 am

The old Warner Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. (aka. Pacific 1,2,3) and the Vogue Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. and at one time the GCC Sherman Oaks 3-5 Theatre. The above three theatre ware and were haunted. I worked all three at different times and there was something there.

UAGirl on August 3, 2004 at 12:58 pm

Sorry if this is long but whenver your theatre is located behind a mall w/ a cemetery things get weird…

The theatre that I skipped in/worked at/then managed has a very interesting past. The land that both the mall and the theatre sit on was once a huge plantation. In fact the side driveway leading to the theatre is the original drive for the plantation house. The mall is probably one of a kind because there is a 20 plot cemetery located right beside of the new food court. Whenever the mall was built in 1974 the family insisted that the cemetery not be moved and maintained by the mall. As cinema clichéd as it might sound things began to happen at the mall and at the theatre whenever three graves were relocated to another state.

In 1993 our head projectionist shot himself after coming home from work. His apartment was located behind the theatre and he was always at the theatre building prints, tweaking the projectors and performing general maintenance. My former manager reported that soon afterwards theatre was odd events occurring in booth. On several occasions he saw a person walking towards the make up bench and they would disappear. Several other events would commonly occur whnever he saw Rocky but they died down (no pun) about a year or so later.

In the fall of 1996 our head projectionist flew down the step to the lobby and she insisted that for the rest of the night the GM switch positions with her. Given that Kayte was a rather tough chick everybody wondered what rattled her. By the end of the night she finally confessed that she saw a little boy in the booth. Given that our building is your cookie cutter Litchfield theatre design it was very easy to be at projector 1 and look down to projector 7. That’s what she did and that’s whenever she saw a little boy run across the booth from 7 to 8. Naturally she thought it was reflection from the film in theatre 7 but
whenever she walked down to check the film she realized that nowhere in the film was there ever a kid running. That kind of fazed her but what really got her was whenever
she saw the kid at the other end of the booth running from 2 to 1.

Later on our security system began to go nuts. Each night I and the manager would make sure that the house was clear yet there would always be “zone violations” leading from theatre 7 to the front door. The sensors and electrical systems were checked but nothing appeared to be abnormal. Things went quiet for a while. Maybe it had to do with the mall completing renovations….

UAGirl on August 3, 2004 at 12:59 pm

Part 2 :

In mid 2002 the theatre woke up. REG began to massively renovate the entire theatre. Yet again the little boy was making appearances in booth and had ventured into the actual theatre. Two customers had reported seeing a boy running up the main aisle and vanishing as soon as he got near the exit door. My best projectionist , who was very unaware of our guest , would occasionally mention that she would see a kid playing around in Imagine her” joy” whenever I hinted about the story of the little boy. By this time I was the assistant GM and I developed a method to placing my film bookings. I would place my highest selling kiddie films in or right around that theatre. Things calmed down just a tad…at least in theatre 7.

That same year we installed video cameras in the building. The clientele was getting chancy and after 14 years it was very overdue. Once night my slacker projectionist
decided to leave the theatre a good hour before the last show let out…this was also inventory night. I had counted our concession stand several times but things were way off. I looked over to the security camera and I thought that I saw Travis standing concessions. I used the air phone to ask him to count the cups. The person in concessions
kind of looked up at the camera and then looked down at the ground. Once again I asked him to count the cups and once again he looked up at the camera and looked down. He then looked up at the camera.

About this time Travis calls to ask me to let him in the building because he forgot his school books. I looked at the camera, saw the person in concessions, ask Travis where he was at and once he told me that he was outside the building I when absolutely white.
I looked back to the security camera and in yet another clichéd moment he was gone.
“It was a customer…” you might say but ponder this fact: there were no patrons in the theatre that night. After we merged with Regal Cinemas all films had to be started regardless if it sold. (This policy has changed since then.) The next day I informed my GM of what happened and described the person that I saw in concessions. His response…”Oh that was Rocky.” Needless to say I never closed the theatre by myself again.

Andrea1979 on August 5, 2004 at 12:24 pm

On the subject of ghosts – I work in a retirement community; working the graveyard shift I’ve seen ALL sorts of shadows, turn a corner and seeing something dash away, actually “see” people that have been dead for years. The profession certainly lends itself to see things that you can’t explain. Anyway – I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this but the Avalon Theatre in Salt Lake has an forboding presence, like something BIG happened but I can’t say what. Does anyone more about this theatre?

JimRankin on August 7, 2004 at 2:05 pm

Haunted theatre = endangered theatre.

(There is a long comment above about ‘ghosts’ with which to have contact, and equal space should be given to the dangers of doing so.)

Some may believe that there is a degree of cache as to having ghosts in a theatre and be able to charge for “Haunted Tours”, but you should be aware that such hauntings may very well be real, as some surmise, yet not at all what you think them to be. They are, in fact, VERY DANGEROUS! You see, you are not dealing with any supposed spirit of the dead former owner or any other human, since the belief that people have immortal souls that exist as spirits after their deaths is not true, and therefore not from God, since it is nowhere found in His Word, the Bible. Where does such a belief come from, then? From God’s arch enemy, Satan the Devil who is a powerful spirit creature, who was once an Angel, but rebelled from God and since 1914 has been confined to the vicinity of this earth along with his billions of fellow wicked spirit creatures who go about trying to influence people into believing that they are the “departed” ones. This deceit is deliberate in trying to get people to disbelieve God, since the demons, as these wicked spirits are properly known, are well aware that one cannot gain God’s blessing unless one carefully follows the Truth of God in the Bible, and here is where our paradox lies: One cannot come to know about the wicked spirits unless he first comes to know the truth about God.

Why would such wicked spirits inhabit any theatre and what is their aim? Firstly, it really has nothing to do with what you or anyone else goes there; it is a matter of caprice as to what a demon chooses to haunt. Since these are spirit creatures in the same form as Angels and God, they can move through any solid matter (or no matter) as they wish, and do not need to sleep, eat, or even defecate as we do. Since God through His Son, Jesus Christ, banished such evil ones from the heavens to the vicinity of the earth, these wicked ones have no more duties in heaven to occupy their time, so one might think it to be a matter of their boredom, but it is far, far more sinister than that! They want our death in some indirect way, since they are barred from killing us directly, as explained in the book of Job. Why a theatre? Well, it offers the chance to contact numerous people, and the chance to fulfill their wicked lusts, as when that person in the projection room felt groped. The Bible makes clear that when in millennia past, they were permitted to take the fleshly form of men, they immediately sought out illicit sexual contact with humans, and for this they were later forbidden to take fleshly form again (that power was removed from them by God). So now they seek to disturb or even torment humans if they can, and that involves the implicit participation of a human. God allows them to approach any person, but He only permits them to continue their evil with a person if that one is willing. Anyone who prays to God to remove the “ghost” will be heard and God will remove such spirits from a person, provided that the person is sincere and honest in his will to be free of them. One cannot mock God and secretly like the attentions of the demons, and still expect God to act. There are many thousands of records of demonic attack upon people and their belongings, even to the extent of people seeing their Bibles thrown about a room, in places where the demons had long had a presence and the new occupants were not wanting their presence. In such situations, God watches the doings of the people to see if they are really sincere in wanting to be rid of the demons (‘ghosts’) and if so, He will eventually expel them.

It is critical to note here that NO human of any persuasion has any power at all over the Devil and his demons! There is no such thing as an Exorcist nor Exorcising, contrary to what the fiction of Hollywood or the behavior of the apostate churchmen would like us to believe. Neither are there any legitimate ways to scientifically discern the nature or presence of ‘ghosts.’ The demons are not susceptible to any device of mankind, and they will therefore respond or not as they wish to any such “investigations.” Indeed, any who continue in such investigations will jeopardize their health and safety far more than they realize. There are many accounts of people being disfigured, stripped naked, blasted with sound that only they could hear, and other horrors enough to warn us that they seek to trap us and make us their ‘play things’ unto induced death, as when some have thrown themselves from rooftops to stop the attentions of those demons with whom they consorted. When someone feels unnaturally cold and wisely decides to leave the area, he is doing all that he can short of calling on God out loud to help him flee the demons. While it is possible for the demons to simply go elsewhere, it is not likely when people show interest or curiosity in them. That is regarded as an invitation, and with time they will seek to do more than cause light or sound apparitions. They may decide to act as “poltergeists” and throw objects, which can and have caused injury to people, not to mention damage to their structures and belongings. The only way to avoid such happenings is to show no curiosity in the ‘ghosts’ and to repeatedly pray to God to remove these evil beings from your vicinity. Note that there is no such thing as a ‘good demon’ and thus no attempt on your part to communicate with them will do anything more than bring you more firmly into their grip and manipulations and lies, for they are the followers of Satan, whom the Bible describes as the “Father of the Lie.”

So, you see, that it is not just a matter of frivolous notoriety that you might attain at a theatre in the pursuit of profits, but definite jeopardy to any and all who are at the theatre until such time as you beseech God long enough to convince Him that you are sincere in your wish to be rid of wicked spirits. For more information on this threat, go to: View link
where you will find a complete discussion of the subject in condensed form (note the Page Back, and Page Forward arrows at bottom). After all, it is your lives and those of others that are at stake, both for now and eternity. I pray that God’s blessing in this matter be with you, and that you take this warning seriously before something tragic happens in such “hauntings”. No amount of profits from ‘Haunted Tours’ or other ‘experiences’ is worth anyone’s injury or death. As the old saying goes: “If one plays with fire, he is liable to be burned!”

DaveGrau on August 8, 2004 at 7:39 pm

Jim Thanks, but as much as I love God, I have never beleived in the Bible as being God`s word. It is and always will be the word of MAN. What man interprited what he thinks God said. God did not sit down and write this himself. The same goes for Churches,what a rip off they are. I have always beleived that if you are a true Christian then you would know that you can talk to God anytime, anywhere, and you do not have to be in a Church, to do so. Plus giving them Ten Percent of your money. Prayers are free. Besides that Old Whitey never once tried to hurt me, or anyone else that worked the Warner in Pittsburgh. He would let us know he was there with his cigar smoke and icy cold air, but not once did he harm anyone. ghost will not hurt you, you will hurt yourself running from one, like falling down steps ect.ect. I can truly say I miss him allot.

JimRankin on August 9, 2004 at 5:29 am

I can understand how you feel the way you do, Dave, since I was at one time also a ‘prisoner’ of the false doctrines and money-grubbing tactics of the apostate churches of Christendom. No, one does not need a church to pray to God, and no, there is no requirement in the Bible upon Christians to pay any money to a church. Their love of money betrays them as being like their real ‘father’ the Devil, and nothing like our loving Father in the heavens, Jehovah God. He inspired the Bible to be written for our good and salvation, and it is not a fault to Him that Satan has inspired thousands of false prophets to pervert His word so that it is difficult for honest people like you to understand it, but it IS possible to learn the truth, if one searches hard. Since this forum is not for religious discussion, I will end the topic with this caution: your theatre ‘ghost’ may seem benevolent at the moment, but deceit is always the objective and a deceiver will use any means to entrap the unwary to their detriment. Contrary to the old saying, ‘What you don’t know, CAN hurt you!’

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on August 9, 2004 at 6:57 am

Ok, guys. Remember: this site is called Cinema Treasures for a reason — we’re here to talk about movie theaters. If you have any additional thoughts about the nature of God, please share them with each other via email. Any additional off-topic comments will be removed.


DaveGrau on August 9, 2004 at 10:58 pm

Patrick,you are right,and that is all I wanted to do, I have had allot of great fun, and stories in the 48 years of being a Projectionist, and have seen and heard allot of weird things. I am sure I am not alone on this subject. I just wanted to share some info with other Theatre people. Old Theatres are a great and magical place, even after they are gone, I for one cannot forget them, or the expeirience, I had in them.
Dave Grau

rroberts on August 19, 2004 at 5:37 am

I hear that ghosts/spirits inside theatres under “renovation or restoration” know who’s gonna be “naughty or nice.” It is strange that some folks who have come in and out of a few theatres that I have worked on claim that they felt a breeze go by them or saw shadows that appeared then vanished. Each time, those who did see them were involved in the good kind of restoration. You know what I mean: restoration where you bring a theatre back to its former glory? Others felt nothing or just the dusty, damp air of an old theatre. These are the folks who usually were the ones who want to convert theatres into malls, knock them down, or God forbid: Condos! To me building condos on an old theatre site is like constructing houses on a graveyard. Those folks get what’s coming to them if ghosts haunt their yuppie condominiums! Perhaps ghosts sightings of the good kind indicate that we have passion for old theatres. Can thsse spirits from the other world be trying to tell us something? Well this is a ghost section on Cinema Treasures, isn’t it?

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on August 19, 2004 at 5:56 am

No problem, Dave. This is a great topic. These stories are fascinating!

DAVIDFREEMAN on August 27, 2004 at 7:02 pm


James Colburn
James Colburn on October 14, 2004 at 1:23 pm

Ok Guys..If you want to see real Ghost In a real old Theatre(Pics taken by me)I have a boat load. So many in this Theatre that I am sending a team of Ghost Hunters to check it out. They have the equipment and cant wait to see what they come up with. Oh and yes I am looking to buy that Theatre. Ghost and all.

James Colburn
James Colburn on November 20, 2004 at 7:52 pm

Buy that theatre as we speak. Ghost and all.

James Colburn
James Colburn on November 20, 2004 at 7:53 pm

I am sorry..I am buying that Haunted theatre. Come By if your ever in Houston Texas.

rroberts on November 21, 2004 at 10:23 am

I love people who buy haunted theatres. Good luck. If you need to present an original Murder Mystery I write and direct them specially for old movie theatres. Call Paul @ (630) 221-0667 at the Wheaton Grand Theatre.

Patsy on November 29, 2004 at 9:33 am

Now, this is an interesting and intriguing topic concerning ghosts and theaters! Please spread the word about a site called that covers many roadside attractions i.e. theaters, gas stations, train stations, and much much more! Check it out!

Patsy on November 29, 2004 at 9:41 am

And I’m so glad that I found this cinema site, but I hardly get anything else done! I recently visited a movie theater built in 1927 called the Varsity. It is in Chapel Hill NC and when we entered the theater the projectionist heard us talking about our great interest in old theaters so he proceeded to take us on a tour of the 2 projection rooms, but I didn’t see or feel any ghosts! Sorry to disappoint anyone! Thank goodness the projectionist overhead us as the young high school aged girls behind the candy counter didn’t seem to interested in the theater’s history…it was just a job to them! ;–)

Patsy on November 29, 2004 at 9:43 am

I wonder if there is an organization for former and present projectionists as they could really relate some interesting theater stories in their combined years. I did tell the Varsity projectionist about this site so hopefully he’ll find us sooner than later!

JimRankin on November 29, 2004 at 9:59 am

Most projectionists know of, and meet through the site: where there are thousands of pages of projection related data. The IATSE union used to have an entire division of Projectionists, and they once held banquets with awards and such, but I doubt they are in existance any longer. Any current union projectionists can be reached through local IATSE offices.

Patsy on November 29, 2004 at 10:08 am

Thanks for the film-tech site as I will try to contact the Chapel Hill projectionist and give him the info. I just knew you’d be able to help with this matter. :–)

thespis on May 5, 2006 at 3:54 am

Up on my web site I have a series of pages – Europe; Africa; America North; America South; Asia; and Australiasia in the section called “Haunted Venues”.
I would be very grateful for any information regarding any Haunted Venues you may know about or have worked in, but I am afraid that being a “Theatrical” type, I am only interested in buildings which were at one time a “Legitimate” Theatre hosting Live Performances – some of these since may have been converted into “Movie Houses” – or have been demolished and replaced by a Cinema, in which case that is OK. Cinemas now including “Live” Performances are also welcomed.
Theatres, Concert Halls, Opera Houses and Amateur Theatres are


Mybrbfief also covers

thespis on May 5, 2006 at 4:08 am

Sorry about the above – tried to fit it all in the box but it didn’t seem to work!

Anyway, any info gratefully received – name of building, address, website, brief history (if available)and haunting details: Type (visible/non-visible; Human(description if poss); who it might have been and how did they meet their end; where in the building it happens; and what do they do (benevolent or malicious?).

Each entry also includes a link to another site where more details about a particular performer or event can be more fully gathered.

TLSLOEWS on February 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I worked at the LOEWS MELROSE in Nashville,Tennessee and heard many stories of it having a ghost but I never had any personal knowledge of this.It usally came from the clean up people,it was kind of spooky being in there after hours though.

TLSLOEWS on February 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Who you going to call? Ghostbusters?

spookytimes on January 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I worked at the Brighton Odeon Cinema in 1996 and had a strange experience during my time there. The cinema was long since known to be haunted by a builder who had died during the construction of the building. His name was George and staff would regularly call his name if anything strange happened. Usually things would stop immediately after! I took the whole thing as a joke, and never thought of the supernatural as being anything more than material to pass the time during camp fire ghost stories.

Screen one was where staff and customers would feel a prescence.

The ghost was first seen in the 70s, standing at the top of the stairs by an ex-manager. The spectre stood there for a few seconds, without moving and vanished. In the 80s, new staff who were unfamiliar with the ex-managers experience, would occasionally feel someone tap them on the shoulder when they were alone in the cinema. This would normally be between performances or early in the morning.

When I started years later, I was told about the history of screen one, but didn’t take it seriously. However, my colleagues sometimes noticed cold spots, in the area just after you went through the main doors which lead to the top of the stairs. No one could explain this, especially as the rest of the cinema was extremley hot. We had no air conditioning during the 90s, so it would get very humid during the summer.

In April ‘96 I was working with a girl called Bethan and we had just opened up the doors for the first performance, and were waiting for customers to arrive. As people came though the doors we stood there chatting for a while and then one of the phones rang. We had an internal phone line which ran throughout the building. It went from screen to screen, to the managers office, and to the box office. When Bethan picked up the phone she asked who it was, but there was no answer. She replaced the reciever and it rang again. This time there was heavy breathing on the other end. Bear in mind this could have only come from inside the building at one of the aforementioned locations. She replaced it again. It rang for the third time and this time I picked it up, as she was getting scared. I put my ear to the phone and didn’t say anything, but i heard it myself this time. Apart from the breathing there was no sound – dead silent. You would normally be able to hear foyer noise, or music in the background.

I was thinking it was someone from another cinema playing a prank on us, so I went downstairs to check. The first two screens were currently between shows and the ushers were standing on the doors tearing tickets. There was music playing in the foyer and people standing around talking and making a noise. I spoke to the head usher and a couple of other staff and told them I thought was they were doing was very funny, but it was time to stop because Bethan was getting scared. They looked at me blankly and told me they didn’t know what I was talking about. I then checked the other screens, but they were currently running films, so it couldn’t have been them either, becuase you would’ve heard the film running
in the background.

I checked the box office and management were in there sorting out a problem. So the only other place it could’ve come from was the managers office…And the manager hadn’t been in all day and no one else had access to his personal office, as it was locked when he was away. I know this to be true as I checked with the duty managers in the box office. To this day we never found any logical explanation as to what went on.

A few years later the cinema was divided up into more screens to meet the demand and the interior was ripped out. Security cameras were put into every cinema, foyer, and lounge area in the building. The internal phone lines were also retired. Whether of not the ghost still exists is unkown.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Ever see “GHOSTBUSTERS” that’s as close to seeing a Ghost in a movie theatre.what total nonsense.

drivecraziness on April 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Your comment is a bunch of total nonsense. Don’t bother writing here if you’re not going to contribute to the thread.

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