August 3, 2011
Haunted CinemaRate this encounter: Jayne -- Brighton, United Kingdom -- 1996
I worked at the Brighton Odeon Cinema in 1996 and had a strange experience during my time there.
The cinema was known to be haunted by a builder who had died during construction of the site. His name was George. The cinema's staff would regularly call out his name when anything strange happened. Usually things would stop immediately!
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 campfire ghost stories.
Screen One was where staff and customers would feel a presence. The ghost was first seen in the 1970s standing at the top of the stairs by an ex-manager. The spectre stood there for a few seconds without moving, and then vanished.
In the 1980s, new staff who were unfamiliar with the ex-manager's experience. They also occasionally felt 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 extremely hot. We had no air conditioning during the 1990s, 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. We 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 manager's 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 receiver 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 noises. 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 because 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 manager's 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 unknown.