'...but no-one was there'

My story is from an old ABC cinema in Birmingham about 1950.

I was on the end of the show and I had sent the lads home to finish the show by myself.

Well at the back of the projectors was a wall with two doors left and right. One led down about eighty steps to the ground switch room and the way out. On the other side was the staff room and toilet, plus a fire escape which was locked by a panic bolt and a chain so nobody could come in by this door.

I was sitting by the projector watching the end of the film and one could see the back wall from the reflection in the glass. Well somebody passed at the back of me, and I thought that one of the lads had popped back so I turned round but nothing so I went up to the staff room and other rooms but nobody was there. I then went back to the box and looked down the stairs, but nothing?

I will swear that something passed at the back of me, but even now I cannot answer that.

All the best and I look forward to any other stories on the same subject.
Raymond Mascord

When Raymond sent me this entry I was amazed by the coincidence, because a very similar thing once happened to me, in the 1980's.

I was standing between the two Victoria 8's in the top box at Barnet Odeon, waiting for the film to finish. The credits were rolling, and I was looking out through the porthole, watching the customers leave the auditorium, when suddenly I spotted the reflection of a couple standing behind the projector, in the box itself.

I thought they might be guests of the manager, having a tour, as they were both smartly dressed - the man in a dark suit, the woman in a long red coat. I said something like, "I'll be with you in a minute," and once I had finished the show I turned to speak to them, but they had gone.

I went out into the staffroom looking for them. Another projectionist was in there, and he was surprised when I asked him where the people had gone, because no-one had been up the stairs - they would have had to pass him to get into the projection room. So it remains a mystery.

I do not believe in ghosts. However:
One Thursday night about 2 years after our cinema was tripled, I was spooling off after the audience had left. My colleague was in No.1 box spooling off, I was in box 2-3. I glanced at the porthole and clearly saw a face outside, but in the glass of the porthole. It was an old man, about eighty I should say, watching me spooling off. His face was round shaped and clean shaven. He was bald. What was odd was that he had no colour, just light grey.

As I watched him for a few moments and stopped what I was doing, his eyes lifted and looked straight into mine, then looked down at the make up table.Thinking it was my colleague playing a practical joke I raced out of the box and into the auditorium.

The auditorium was in darkness. The porthole was 7.5 feet above floor level, the glass was about 3 feet deep in the rear wall of the theatre. No one without steps could have got near the porthole glass from the theatre. My colleague was still in No.1 box spooling off. All the staff had left about 35 mins earlier.

Can anyone explain this? And no, I was sober at the time.

For many years the cleaners had heard singing and seen ladies walking across the rear of the cinema while they were working. These 'ladies' seemed to float not walk. They were dressed in long cloak like garments.

When the cinema closed, we found old photos of staff taken when the cinema first opened. all the staff were dressed in long grey cloak like garments.

The boiler house was below the stage. There were four flights of stairs from side of stage to the boiler house. A couple of times when going down to the boiler house I heard footsteps behind me; one time when coming back up, all the lights on the stairs had been turned off. As we always locked the door to the stage when going down there, no one else would have had access, A bit scary?

After the cinema closed, it was turned into Atlantis night club. Last October an article in the local paper stated the staff of the night club refused to go down the beer cellar on their own as it was haunted, by an old man. The beer cellar is where our boiler house used to be.

I recall being told that a boilerman was employed many years ago but disappeared one day. No one knew what had happened to him!