Why are there so many reports of haunted cinemas?
Ask anyone who works in a cinema - even the newest, shiniest multiplex - and they will almost certainly tell you that the place is haunted. Why should this be? Here's one theory:
In a cinema auditorium, laughter or tears are evoked as the on-screen story weaves its spell over the audience. So what happens to all these emotions? It has been suggested they are absorbed by the bricks and mortar of the buiding, in the same way that heat is retained by a storage radiator. And given the right circumstances they may be released; experienced by the susceptible as uncanny sensations, strange noises or visions, half-glimpsed through shadow.
Any cinema, whether old or new, contains a sense of vastness. I defy anyone to stand alone in a darkened auditorium, and not be awed by the towering height of the ceiling far above. Then they might notice that peculiar optical illusion of the screen becoming endlessly larger, and jump when the inevitable little cracks and creaks begin. And although we tell ourselves it's just the building settling down; the ordinary contraction of cooling materials and pipework, why does it feel as if someone - something - is there with us? Maybe because under normal conditions, a cinema is full of people, and this unnatural emptiness calls out for our minds to fill it.
Explanations given for cinema hauntings fall into various categories:
A) The cinema was built on land that used to be
- A graveyard
- A plague pit during the middle ages
- Occupied by a big, creepy house with a reputation for hauntings and tragedy.
B) The land has since been disturbed by
- Further building work
- Fire, flood or other natural disaster
C) Someone died
- During the building of the cinema
- Since it has opened - probably in some kind of traumatic accident
D) The supernatural phenomena started/have become worse since
- Someone fooled around with a Ouija board in the staffroom
- The screening of a notorious horror movie (eg. The Exorcist)
- Someone sensitive or susceptible has been employed
You will find many of these crop up among the true stories. If you have any theories, stories or observations you would like to make please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always happy to add more to this page, and if you would like your name and/or the cinema to remain anonymous that can be arranged.