A brand new multiplex cinema was built in Kent in 1999. The site is shared by other leisure units and restaurants. The land the retail park is built on is huge, and was once occupied by an old house which had been there for many years.
From the time the cinema opened things were not quite right in Screen No. 6. Staff members soon came to realise this when the last show was finishing.
Sheila and Bridget were standing at the bottom of the steps into No. 6, saying good night to all the customers as the credits rolled on screen. The standard procedure is to wait until the auditorium is clear of customers and then put the cleaners lights on and check everyone is out.
Both ladies were waiting for a gentleman sitting toward the back of the cinema to leave. The credits finished and the curtains shut, but he still remained seated. They started to walk up the stairs to tell him that the film was over. As they looked up, they realised he had gone. There was no other way out of the auditorium apart from passing both ladies. The external exit was locked and alarmed.
Since then other people have seen this man sitting in the same seat during films and before the cinema opens. Other strange things happen in No. 6. The music CD refuses to play sometimes, the lights flicker and go on and off. People watching films have complained of someone walking in front of the projector. We know this can't happen as the gap between the projector and the port hole is tiny.
After research we later found out that No. 6 is built right on the site of the old house - where a man was murdered many years ago! To this day the mystery continues and strange things still happen in this multiplex.
Between 1997 and 2001 I worked at the newly built 8 screen Odeon in Kettering. I used to hate being alone in the dimly lit screens, especially at the end of the night. Whenever I found myself alone in an auditorium I used to work myself up into a frenzy. Firstly I would begin to sweat, then as my imagination took hold I would feel my heart racing faster and faster, and eventually I would be constantly looking behind me to see if anyone was there.
On my way out of the auditorium at the end of a night I had to switch the lights off and I used to run as fast as I could (still looking behind me) before 'whatever it was' could get me!! I think the worst thing about being in there alone was looking up into the projection box when the projectionist had gone home, and getting the feeling that I was being watched. I don't know why I used to behave like this, but I would rarely go in on my own if I could help it. Apparently rumours were (and probably still are) that screen 3 is haunted. This 'rumour' however it amerged started just after we had opened in December of 1997, and is still passed on to new staff even today. One rumour, was that the cinema had been built on an ancient burial ground, but I think somebody was definately having us on with that one!!!
To make fears worse, some of the male staff used to fool around and jump out
on you from behind seats, or even turn the lights off when you were in there
alone! I also used to refuse to clean an auditorium in which a horror film
had just been played and would often volunteer to swap with someone else and
clean up after a kids movie instead. I think a film always leaves a certain
vibe behind, and it's especially worse if the credits are still rolling and
the music is creating a particular atmosphere in the auditiorium.
Rachel, aged 25.
Ghost of Screen 5 (It's not the movie you should be frightened of... It's the cinema itself).
Watching a horror film is a scary enough experience but at Aylesbury's Odeon cinema it could become even more frightening as one of the screens is believed to be haunted.
And even a romantic comedy or Disney animation could be unexpectedly nerve jangling if in the ghostly surroundings of Screen 5.
Customer sales and services assistant Martin Burns was one of the first staff members to notice a 'presence' who had not paid for a ticket. Martin, 19, from Redcliffe Walk, first noticed strange goings-on in Screen 5 six months ago.
He explained: 'I was sweeping up early one evening and thought I saw someone behind me up at the back. But there was no-one there. Then the lights automatically switched off instead of dimming.
Team leader Allison Henry, 30, from Prebendal Avenue, added that everyone is now so convinced of an unnatural presence that no-one will go in Screen 5 on their own. She said: 'The room goes really cold and you can just sense something spooky. It's definitely different to the other screens. You feel really uncomfortable, especially at night. It smells of old decaying flesh.'
Fellow staff member Darren Brook, 19, from Walton Court, added: 'I refuse to clean Screen 5. I'm too scared. When I first started working here I saw many strange things, figures behind me, and I felt like I could see someone walking behind me.
Hayley Wyatt, 19, from Bedgrove, who also works at the cinema, said: 'Whenever I go in there I feel a presence. Once I was standing outside and the door started to open and shut numerous times by itself. The screen was empty. There's definitely a ghost. I won't go in there.'
The reason for such strange goings-on could be explained by the fact that the Odeon was built on the grounds of the former Cattle Market site. Cattle slaughters did not take place at the site, although human hangings did take place where the Crown Court now stands.
With Halloween on Friday, it remains to be seen if film lovers now have the nerve to watch special screenings of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in the spooky surroundings of Screen 5.
From the Bucks Herald - October 29th 2003. Sent in by Martin Tapsell.