Cinemas are places of joy, entertainment and emotion, but many of the buildings they occupy are very old, steeped in history and have plenty of ghostly stories to tell.
Below are ten cinemas in the UK which are the best known for their paranormal activity.
The Keighley Picture House opened in 1913 as theatre which also showed films. Later in its life it hosted live shows and music concerts. In 1954, it became a full time cinema. The building is said to be haunted by the ghost of an actress who took her own life during the building's time as a theatre by throwing herself off of the balcony. A customer once reported seeing a woman in old-style clothing open a fire door, but when staff investigated the woman was nowhere to be seen and the door was secure. The buildings spooks have been blamed for an unsettling atmosphere in screen one, but a warm and inviting feeling in screen two's projector room.
There's a longstanding local legend about a man named George who died during the construction of this seaside cinema on the south coast. For decades staff have blamed him for strange goings on, there's even reports that his apparition has been seen within the cinema. Moviegoers have also reported odd happenings, including cold spots and the feeling of being tapped on the shoulder by an invisible hand, most frequently in screen one.
The old Clifton Cinema is now a Wetherspoon's pub, having also been used for a time as a bingo hall after closing as a cinema. The building's most famous haunting is the ghost of a little girl who is said to follow staff around the kitchen area and leave footprints in the wet, freshly mopped floor. The is also reports of electrical equipment turning itself on and off and unexplained knocks and bangs coming from the old auditorium.
Situated on Westgate Road, the now closed Tyne Theatre opened in 1867 and was used as an entertainment venue and cinema for generations. The paranormal activity in the building ranges from visitors feeling like they've been touched by an unseen force, through to objects being thrown and even full apparitions.
The spirit of an actor who died in the theatre is blamed for much of the ghostly activity, but others think that a female spirit may also haunt the venue. There's also a more recent story relating to the television show, 'Britain's Got Talent'. When the show came to Newcastle in 2010, auditions were held in the theatre and it's claimed that small stones were repeatedly thrown at one of the show's judges.
The oddly shaped cinema with its unique curved frontage is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who died of a heart attack while paying an exciting game of bingo at the venue before it became a cinema. It's claimed that she still wanders the building in search of her unclaimed winnings.
The cinema is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a man who hanged himself behind the screen, his ghost is blamed for reports of shadowy figures and unexplained light anomalies.
This building may not be as old and historic as others on this list, but still the multiplex cinema is reported to be a paranormal hotspot. The building stands in a retail park in Bedford on the site of a former priory and is said to be haunted by the ghostly figure of a monk. The unexplained hooded figure has been spotted in several of the screen and in an area of the foyer. The ghost has be blamed for sudden drops in temperature and disembodied sounds including footsteps.
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Originally opened as the Central Cinema in the 1930s, the building now houses a bar and four modern screens showing latest movie releases to residents of Barnstaple, but the cinema has become known as one of the North Devon town's most haunted buildings. Moviegoers have reported seeing the apparition of man. It's thought that he could be the ghost of a man who feel to his death while working on the roof in 1931.
The large building started its life as a theatre, but in 1923 become a cinema which operated up until 2014. Since then its current owners have worked to restore the building to its former glory and returned it to work as a theatre.
During its time as a cinema, there were claims that the building was haunted by a former member of staff who is said to have taken her own life by throwing herself from the balcony. The unfortunate event it said to have happened one Christmas when a cashier was confronted by her manager after she was caught stealing the proceeds of ticket sales from the till. Once confronted, she ran from the office in the upper part of the building and was so overcome with guilt, that she ended her life.
Ever since the building is said to have been haunted by her ghost, including sightings and unexplained footsteps - especially around Christmas. The story goes that at one point her presence was so disturbing that the staff were forced to move their offices into the lower parts of the building.
The Old Picture House & Haunted Museum on Woodborough Road is one of the city's newest haunted landmarks. Steve and Marie Wesson had been collecting haunted artefacts and oddities from around the world for years and had been searching for a suitable place to display them. Finally in 2018 they acquired an abandoned picture house, which is built on the site of a former asylum.
The old cinema, which has many of the original features intact, now houses various items with dark attachments, including a fridge that was once used to chill the dead from the morgue of Denbigh Asylum in Wales, as well as an instrument used to summon Satan called the Devil's Guitar, which came all the way from Iraq. There's real human skulls, a dybbuk box that is said to contain an evil spirt, and a doll made from a dead man's bandages, which has been seen to move by itself.
Visitors have reported paranormal experiences in the museum, including cold blasts of air, bangs, scream and the sensation of being touched. Straight after moving into the building Marie saw an unknown woman wandering around the building, despite the fact the building was empty and the doors were locked.
The owners captured video footage of a heavy metal handle on an old funeral hearse swinging wildly of its own accord while the building was locked up over night.
The Odeon cinema on Union Street is one of the cities oldest cinemas but for the last 70 years screen three has been haunted by a former manager of the cinema. One Wednesday night in 1946, Rudyard Kipling’s 'The Light That Failed’ played to a full house of 2,000 cinema-goers. At one point in the movie five gun shots were fired on screen, but unbeknown to the cinema audience, a sixth but very real shot was fired in the manager's office and drowned out by the movie.
The manager was killed and the killer was never found, but it’s believed to be a man named Billy "The Fish" Fisher, who confessed the killing on his deathbed.
Screen three is now one of the most haunted rooms in Bristol and many staff have reported seeing the ghost of the murdered manager. Most frequently they’ve seen people walking around the auditorium who disappear if approached. A seat in the third row of screen three is said to be home to a shadowy apparition, he often remains seated after the movie ends and when staff approach him he vanishes.