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Haunted Theatre In Utah


My story of an encounter with the supernatural happened when I was seventeen. I had had an earlier experience with some strange phenomena was I was about four years old but the one I had in my teens was much more frightening.

It was 1987 and I was working at a downtown Salt Lake City movie theatre. This theatre was originally built around 1905 and was a playhouse until it was converted into a movie theatre during the 1950s.

Somewhere between 1955-1965, the balcony area was converted into a second theatre separating the top and bottom of the original theatre into 2 separate theatres. At the time, we used to play a lot of artsie type films then around the holiday seasons, like Halloween and Christmas, the theatre would play those films that went with those seasons.

Now that you have the background set, here's my story: I was working at this theatre as an usher, concessionists, cashier, and part-time projectionist. I also did some back-up manager stuff as our crew was quite small and we shared duties with another theatre in the downtown area, the old Centre theatre.

Halloween was coming up and business was really slow. So our theatre manager, I'll call him Ted (you don't need his real name), decided that if his crews at both theatres were down for it, we could host a Halloween party at the Utah theatre. This theatre had quite a rep for being haunted, with many employees having experiences. So most of us being kids, late teens and early twenties, we thought it would be fun.

At the time, we were showing 'Return of the Living Dead Part 2' in one of the theatres, one of my favorite movies of all times, and the plan was we'd party, have a few drinks, then watch the movie, and finish the night with a big staff sleepover.

Well, the party got started and I got pretty drunk, then someone's boyfriend, of one of the staff, said he'd brought a Ouija board and thought we could try it out. We were all pretty drunk and most of the people backed out of it. Myself, though, thought it would be interesting because I had never played with one before.

So about 4 of the dozen that were there decided to try it out, including me. So we did. We asked the board if there were any spirits that had a message for us or wanted to talk to us. The first time I felt the pointer move by itself it freaked me out!

It then started answering our questions one by one, then it would only answer mine. For some reason it started to focus on me. So I asked who it was I was talking to. It gave me an initial, it was a D or S I don't really remember. I asked some other questions and to make a long story short, it said it was a little girl, around 10 or 12 years old and that she had died in that theatre.

So after about a hour of playing with this thing, the atmosphere began to change. People started to get really scared and by now most people had stopped playing with the board except for me. I was playing with it by myself.

When the owner of the board saw what I was doing, he freaked out, grabbed the board and said he was done for the night. I was upset with him but was getting tired and was ready to get some sleep. So asked Ted, the manager, where we were going to bed down for the night? Well, apparently, the Ouija board had freaked everybody out and everybody wanted to leave.

Well now I was pissed! I had planned on staying there the night and there was no way was going to go home to my parents as drunk as I was! So I asked if I could still stay. Ted thought about for a minute and said ok. So we cleaned up, set up my sleeping bag in the manager's office, and walked everyone out the front door.

The assistant manager, we called her Mel, handed me the keys to the entire theatre and asked me if was going to be ok? I said I'd be fine, she gave me a hug (we were close like that), let her out and made sure everything was locked up tight and headed back down to the manager's office.

By the way, this place was huge! It had a main theatre, a balcony theatre, a basement, and a sub-basement (which by the way connected to the old Salt Lake City sewer system built back in the 1880s, it had been bricked off in the sub-basement). The main theatre had the old stage from its playhouse days with scaffolding over the stage and a staircase that went down to the old dressing rooms.

It was really late, was still buzzing from the booze, but I was getting hungry. We had ordered pizza and still had some left, so I fired up the popcorn machine, got me a big Coke and decided since everyone chickened out, I wasn't going to let that spoil my night and was going to continue with the plan we had, which was to watch 'The Return of the Living Dead Part 2'.

Since I knew how to work the projector, I threaded the film through the projector and loaded it up on the platter (these were the days of non-digital film) and sat and had a private viewing in an empty theatre of one of my favorite films. It was awesome!

Anyways, after the film was over, made sure the projector was turned off and cleaned up my mess. I was getting a little wide eyed and busy tailed now and decided to start exploring the theatre. So I went into the manager's office and opened up my surplus duffel bag and dumped out the contents on the floor. It consisted of one pair of woodland camo BDUs, a pair of jungle combat boots, a buck knife, a camo headbead, and face paint. Not to mention a big wooden baseball bat.

After I changed and applied the face paint, I went on patrol throughout the theatres. We had a large number of tall plants in our lobby and I spent a great amount of time running from plant to plant and hiding behind them. Then I'd crawl on my belly through open areas and run screaming up the ramps to the upper theatre.

I kept screaming out, calling the spirit's name, telling it to come out and face me like a man! I did this for a good hour, maybe 2, running around the place screaming like a madman and acting like a hooligan. I finally got really bored and stood in the middle of the lobby and blurted out, 'You're all a bunch a wimps!'

As soon as I said that, the lobby got really cold and a strange darkness began to gather. The next thing that happened was I heard a thunderous boom that shook the place and a voice scream out, 'GET OUT!' I ran into the manager's office, locked and barricaded the door, crawled under the desk, and stayed there the rest of the night.

The next morning, the assistant manager Mel showed up early and brought me breakfast. She was supposed to open for the day anyways and since had her keys, Ted had given her his. So she walks into the theatre and heads to the office. She unlocks the door but couldn't get it opened since I'd barricaded the door. So she starts pounding on the door and calling my name, so I crawled out from under the desk, moved the barricades and opened the door. She asks if was ok, then stops and looks at me. She could tell I was visibly shaken, dressed like a Rambo reject, with dried camo paint on my face. I managed to crack a small smile and told her, 'Do got a story to tell you!' That's my ghost story. One of them at least.

After that night and for as long as I worked there I kept having issues with the spirits. One shoved me down a flight of stairs. Another shoved me into the big popcorn maker. Then, while I was talking to another employee in the back food prep area behind the concession stand, a knife flew across the room and impaled into the wall, right next to my head was leaning against.

I kept seeing a little girl in a polka dot dress. Others saw her to. Each time I saw it or someone else saw it, something would happen to me. I had a plastic cup that I used to drink Coke out of explode on me. Just all sorts of weird things.

Later on in life, I reported this story to a Utah ghost hunter group and got no response. The theatre was sold my last year of high school to a playhouse who wanted to turn it back into a theatre for live plays. About 5 years later it closed up.

I can remember walking past the theatre after it was closed up. All boarded up. I always got a really creepy feeling something was looking back at me.

One time, I was in my mid twenties, married and with children. My family and I were living in Provo at the time and we took a trip into downtown Salt Lake with my wife's mom. They went shopping and I went off a wandering. I walked past that old theatre and noticed a small crack in the boards covering the old cashier booth. It was connected to the inside of the theatre's very long hallway that went back to the lobby. I took a peek through the crack and could see all the way down the old hallway into the lobby. It wasn't very lit and was pretty dirty inside.

When I peered through the crack, something caught my eye. A dark shadow started to gather in the lobby and formed into a large oval shape. It was pitch back but had substance to it and started to drift slowly down the hallway towards me. I got that really creepy, but familiar, feeling. I jumped back, not sure if what I saw was real then peered again through the crack. It was getting closer. I didn't look again. I started to walk very fast away from that place and haven't been back since.

I think it's gone now, that old theatre. With all the construction they've done in that city, don't know and being truthful, really don't care.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Czech-Mate, has the following expectation about your feedback: I won't be reading the comments.

lady-glow (16 stories) (3158 posts)
9 years ago (2015-10-17)
Yeah, right!... You were drunk but were able to do some clean up not only once, but twice? Add to this playing OB for about an hour and watching a movie without passing out... It seems to me that you tend to exaggerate... A little, or that you got drunk with water.

...Could some body hide away your computer?...please!
Bibliothecarius (9 stories) (1091 posts)
9 years ago (2015-10-04)
I admit I'm on the fence with this one, but there's something highly reminiscent of one of my high school best friends about a late-teenage/early-20s guy in camouflage & face-paint thinking he's pretty badass when armed only with a baseball bat and lurking in the lobby ferns...

Either way, it was a damned entertaining read...
Mimi81 (203 posts)
9 years ago (2015-09-25)
Macknorton, I doubt a genuine medium would need to resort to a Ouija board. I also think a real medium wouldn't touch those things with a 10 foot pole.

I do agree with you they seem to attract spirits that are, at the very least, bothersome.
Mimi81 (203 posts)
9 years ago (2015-09-25)
Czech-Mate, I do wish you'd answer some questions. As someone who did a few really stupid things while young and drunk, I find your story believable. 😊
sds (14 stories) (1436 posts)
9 years ago (2015-09-25)
The story has got too much of melodrama and I find it difficult to believe it. I don't know why the O/P has decided not to read the comments. Still my hunch says that it is just a made-up experience. This is my opinion.

With regards and respects.

nosidaM (3 stories) (34 posts)
9 years ago (2015-09-24)
Red: I agree with you there! This is so well written I feel like we should all be sitting around a campfire with torches held up to our faces. 😆
RedWolf (31 stories) (1292 posts)
9 years ago (2015-09-24)
In a word no. The Ouija Board is not a toy or party game.
For some reason the author has said he will not be reading the comments.
I think the reason is because this story never happened. Some people can't wait the Halloween rush...
Macknorton (5 stories) (646 posts)
9 years ago (2015-09-24)
Ouija board = bad news. I am yet to hear about a positive Ouija board experience. Maybe there are some positive experiences with trained, genuine mediums? These Ouija boards appear to simply attract low-level spirits who are looking for an invitation to terrorize people.
Mimi81 (203 posts)
9 years ago (2015-09-24)
Your experience was genuinely frightening to read about. Although, I have to admit I giggled a little about the camos and face paint.

Your story is a very good example of why it's a bad idea to poke the paranormal bear.

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