Spectral Show

gman72

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#1
I worked in a busy seaside theatre for six years as a sound engineer. It sure was a spooky place when you were in there on your own, especially in the auditorium which had a most unnerving atmosphere, and there were always rumours of a ghost - as in any theatre - but none of the people i worked with in there ever saw anything... i did... once.

We had Jim Davidson in on a three day run and he brought a big-ass PA system - a 5k rig - with him that had to be left set up in the theatre overnight. We'd had break ins around that time and it was required that a member of staff stay in the theatre overnight to watch the equipment and keep it safe from crims... I was that member of staff. I took some ribbing from the other guys and girls about getting spooked in the night or having to chase away crims but i wasn't fussed as i was the only one with the testicular prowess to actually stay the night and there was extra money in it for me.

Once everyone had left the building I walked the entire place turning off all the electrics, heaters and lights etc. I lowered the safety curtain in front of the stage and retreated to the bar area at the front of the theatre which was the only part of the whole place i was prepared to sleep in. The dim light from the glass-fronted beer coolers behind the bar was a nice comprimise between total darkness and having the lights blazing all night long. I guess it was around midnight. I picked a sofa next to the front doors and laid me down to sleep... after that things started getting weird.

Sometime later, it was still dark outside, i was woken by a loud banging sound close by to me. I sat up and both sets of swinging doors to the right and left of the bar area which lead to and from the auditorium were swinging violently and banging loudly, as if that wasn't scary enough i could see light behind the doors, light that appeared to be coming from the auditorium.

My heart was pounding as i crept across the bar and stedied the doors. Had someone broken in? I had to see, it was after all what i was there for.
I left the bar area heading to the main auditorium and passed the stairs that led to the upper seating tier, there was light pouring down the stairs. Then my heart skipped a beat as i heared the music coming from the auditorium. It was an out-of-tune piano that was playing some kind of music hall tune with a warbling, female falsetto accompliment and as you can imagine i was getting proper scared, but the worst was yet to come.

I had to check the main auditorium and the stage area so i headed to the last set of double doors that opened directly into the back row of seats on the ground level of the auditorium. There was definately music coming from the stage so i grabbed the door handle and was about to open it when the whole auitorium burst into applause and light cheers. My blood ran cold and i froze to the spot. Having worked in the place for years i knew what a full house sounded like and there was one behind the door i was about to open applauding a show in a theatre that was supposed to be as empty as it was when i locked the place down sometime before.

The applause went on as i slowly plucked up the courage to open the door. I managed to push it open about two or three inhes before my nerve gave out and i ran away, but i did see inside. There were two people on stage. A man in a black suit and a tall hat sat at an upight piano with both hands clasped to his chest in what i think is an old fashioned gesture of thanks. At the front of the stage was a women in a big scarlet dress with dark ringlet curly hair. She was bowing to the audience. I could only see a few seats through the gap but they were occupied. The nearest ones to the door i was peeking through were maybe five meters away and the only thing i can remember about their occupants was slicked hair and big hats That was it for me, i can't really convey how scared i was at that point and i think i may have weed myself a little, i ran out of there as fast as i could. As i ran back through the bar area i heared more applause and briefly wondered who had come though the bar area in the first place, banging the doors and waking me up. Oh yeah, i did see one other thing before i ran. We had gaslamps in the theatre. They were left over from victorian times and were very ornamental and sometimes quite a talking point. They were obviously redundant and had not been plumbed into the gas supply in god knows how many years, but in that auditorium on that night a phantom show was playing for a phantom audience and the gas lamps were burning brightly.

I ran home and didnt lock the front doors of the bar after me. I came back at first light. There had been no burglary thank god and the theatre was empty of all exept Jim Davidson's sound equipment. I told my dad who was the general manger at the time of my experience and he said that he'd heared some things from the previous owners about people hearing music in the place at night. No-one stayed to watch the gear the next night... least of all me. I've never been as scared as i was that night. The place has been demolished now and to be honest...i'm glad. This happened over 10 years ago.
 

rynner2

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#2
I've known a few seaside theatres in my time (my dad was the lead in several amateur operatic productions).

Can you say where your experiences took place?
 

gman72

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#3
I can't see why not. Its been turned into a bowling alley now, but the front of the building is still the original. With its double towers it still sends a chill down my spine when i see it.

Wellington Theatre Gt yarmouth.



This is the only picture i can find.

This was taken about two years ago during the theatres conversion into a bowling alley.

The tops of the towers are the original ones from the theatre. The main bar where i slept was directly underneith and between the two towers.
 

rynner2

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#4
Ah, thanks for that.

I've been to Great Yarmouth several times, back in the 80s, but not to that theatre, so I can't add anything.

Still, a great tale!
 

gman72

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#5
I've often wondered if the performance would have happened if I hadn't been in the theatre, also what would have happened if I had taken a seat and watched the show... :shock:
 

LordRsmacker

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#7
Pah, 5k isn't "big-ass", I listen to the radio in the warehouse with 8k of Martin Audio! :lol:

Your story was interesting, but to me is so vivid that it sounds like a dream, especially if you were apprehensive about sleeping there in a place you already found un-nerving. A place that has just a rumour of a ghost, but when you are there alone actually turns out to have a full-on sound, light, act, audience thing going on. Quite different to people finding the atmosphere creepy or perhaps seeing something out of the corner of their eye, don't you think? A hell of a step up!

Personally, I think if I'd have heard lots of people, ie an audience rather than a few intruders, I'd have been straight into that auditorium without thinking about it, perhaps my mind wouldn't have found a sitting audience a strange thing, even though it was at a strange time of night. If I'd just heard a piano, that would have been different, I think I would have immediately processed that as being out of place, even for a burglar, and would have been less inclined to find out exactly WTF was going on in there. When I've had the shitty job of gear-sitting and heard noises, I've always made plenty of racket when moving about the building, to give me an adreneline charge and to give any intruders time to clear out. The last thing I'd want to do is come face to face with people intent on liberating my kit. I'd prefer they just cleared off!

One thing is sure, dream or ghosts, I'd definitely have shat myself and would have sent someone to pick my gear up later!
How did you feel going back in there next day?
 

_Cobh_

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#8
That story gave me goosepimples.

It reminded me when of a night when I was 19 and volunteered to sleep over in the tax office I worked in (first job, hated it, didn't last long)

It was a very old building at the Pier Head in Liverpool, facing the Liver Buildings. The offices were being painted and the offer of double pay to employees who would stay in the office overnight 'for security reasons' was too good to resist. I can't imagine what use a 19 year old girl would be against a bunch of painters if they'd wanted to go through the files but that was the late 70's for you!

The painters were on the 10th floor, and I was told to sleep in the sick room on the 5th floor.

I'd taken in a radio and a book, but by the time it got to about 10.30 I was already crying I was so scared. Every time I put my heaad to the pillow I could hear chairs being dragged across the floor, the noise from electric fans, doors going, I'd sit up and it was complete silence. I tried to convince myself that it was the noise coming through from 5 floors above, but I was too scared to leave the room by then, and take the lift 5 floors up by myself. Anyway, I didn't sleep a wink and that was one of the worst nights of my life.

If I'd left that room and seen people from a different era in those rooms I'd have defiitely weed myself! Don't know how you managed to investigate - must be the difference between having testicles and not having them!

It's the middle one of the 3 buildings you see together at the top of this pic. The area was deserted at night and so you can imagine how spooked I was.
 

escargot

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#9
:shock: Two great stories there.

What with the craze over the last few years for overnight group stays in 'haunted' places, you'd think we'd hear many more such accounts, but alas, it's not happening. Perhaps you have to be on your own. ;)
 

jeff544

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#10
When the Kids were little (early 1990's) we used to go to Great yarmouth a lot - a family member had a chalet near there. - Nice cheap holiday - good times.
We were on Wellington pier one day, walking along the side of the theatre, Mrs 544 was in front pushing the push chair, and i noticed one of the fire exits propped open with maybe a fire bucket or something. so I stepped inside. It was completely empty & very hot in there. It had that old cinema smell tinged with cigarette smoke & beer. I remember thinking it was very atmospheric. Anyway after just a few seconds i stepped back out in to the sun shine again. My wife was nowhere to be found. I wandered the rest of the way to the end of the pier and round the end of the theatre, then i found her walking towards me demanding to know where I had been for so long. She insisted I was 'missing' for a lot longer than I said I was, but of course it could all be just perception...........
 

gman72

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#11
LordRsmacker said:
How did you feel going back in there next day?
Well, to be honest, I felt terrified but I was a young buck trying to show off to female bar staff and usherettes so I just didn't show it. I don't think my dad believed all of my story and the others ribbed me about it for a few weeks, but, like i said, nobody stayed in the theatre the next night. I never saw or heared anything else.
I can't rule out the dream theory that has been suggested, but I know i've never before had a dream in which i was so self aware. What I really like is the time-slip theory - especially in light of the gaslamps... I'll never forget those gaslamps. That just makes wonder even more about what would have happened if I had stayed to watch the show.
 

escargot

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#12
Reminds me of: https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/classic-archive-ghost-train-station.34961/

Ghost Train Station

My brother Mark had a job where he had to turn up very early to a non-passenger rural station to see in a coal train, then wait an hour or more for the next. He cannily rigged up a little comfy bed and would take a snooze in the interval, always waking well on time.

One morning he heard a train come in and rose up, put on his shoes and hurried outside, opening and closing a couple of heavy doors on the way. Outside he was puzzled to see, not a battered deisel pulling trucks but an old steam loco!

Looking around he saw that the entire station was different. Where there had been a rundown old platform and boarded-up buildings was now a smart, busy station, with passengers in Victorian clothing with women in crinolines and men in top hats. Crisply-uniformed railway employees moved about, carrying flags and pushing luggage trucks.

Mark spent a good few minutes taking in the scene, noticing details such as a stone staircase which had appeared to his left. All seemed very real, and Mark felt interested and curious rather than afraid.

Then a man approached him, dressed in a railway uniform with a hat. 'It's all right, Mark', he said. 'You're dreaming. Go back to sleep.' Mark says this man was very friendly so he decided to do just that.

So he turned round, walked back to his railway building which seemed perfectly normal, opened and closed the same doors again, kicked off his shoes and lay down, eyes closed.

Immediately he opened his eyes, sat up, and heard his train coming in. He went outside as before and there was the usual dilapidated station.

He was too busy to worry about this experience, which had seemed very pleasant anyway, and it wasn't until much later that he was shown some 100-odd year-old photos of the station.

It was of course exactly as in his vision, right down to the steps which are now hidden under a ramp.
Mark knew this was a dream but it felt very real to him and he 'recognised' unlikely details about the scene in photos later.
 

rynner2

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#13
gman72 said:
What I really like is the time-slip theory - especially in light of the gaslamps... I'll never forget those gaslamps. That just makes wonder even more about what would have happened if I had stayed to watch the show.
Were the gaslights the flickering yellow flame kind, or the steadier white light from a mantle? That might help 'date' the vision, if we can find out when gas mantles were introduced....
 

escargot

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#14
Ahh, gaslight. It goes pop when you light it, and it's very flattering. ;)
 

gman72

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#15
rynner2 said:
gman72 said:
What I really like is the time-slip theory - especially in light of the gaslamps... I'll never forget those gaslamps. That just makes wonder even more about what would have happened if I had stayed to watch the show.
Were the gaslights the flickering yellow flame kind, or the steadier white light from a mantle? That might help 'date' the vision, if we can find out when gas mantles were introduced....
well the lamps were kind of bronze in colour with a circular, flat base that a central candle sized shaft sat upon. A kind of ornate spiral shape also sat on the base and led about halfway up the shaft. The flame was bright white and barely flickered at all.
 

rynner2

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#16
gman72 said:
The flame was bright white and barely flickered at all.
Sounds like they were using a mantle then.
The modern gas mantle was one of the many inventions of Carl Auer von Welsbach, a chemist who studied rare earth elements in the 1880s and who had been Robert Bunsen's student. His first process used a mixture of 60% magnesium oxide, 20% lanthanum oxide and 20% yttrium oxide which he called Actinophor, and patented in 1885.

The original mantles gave off a green-tinted light and were not very successful, and his first company, which established a factory in Atzgersdorf in 1887, failed in 1889. In 1890 he discovered that thorium was superior to magnesium, and in 1891 perfected a new mixture of 99% thorium dioxide and 1% cerium dioxide that gave off a much whiter light and produced a stronger mantle. After introducing it commercially in 1892 it quickly spread throughout Europe. The gas mantle remained an important part of street lighting until the widespread introduction of electric lighting in the early 1900s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_mantle
In which case, we may be looking at the last decade of the 19th century...
 

gman72

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#17
Wow... that's pretty amazing. I've never really had much of a time frame on it but my guess would have been victorian times.
 

ginoide

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#18
a prank maybe? the kind of practical joke that a young bloke would attract on himself, especially if surrounded by experienced peolpe from the theatre milieu?
 

rynner2

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#19
ginoide said:
a prank maybe? the kind of practical joke that a young bloke would attract on himself, especially if surrounded by experienced peolpe from the theatre milieu?
It would seem an expensive and elaborate prank to reconnect the lamps to the gas supply just to spook out one young man.... 8)
 

gman72

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#20
ginoide said:
a prank maybe? the kind of practical joke that a young bloke would attract on himself, especially if surrounded by experienced peolpe from the theatre milieu?
:lol: No way. It would have been far too elaborate and... yeah, the gas supply? Although it's a nice thought that they could have gone to all that trouble to get 1200 people in fancy dress, rehearse a show and get the gas supply re-connected to the lamps just for little old me... most awesome practical joke ever. :D
 

linesmachine

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#22
Once in a while I read a posting on the FT site that reminds me why I'm still here.

I've got no insight into your experience, no judgment or explanation, no sensible cause or way to make sense of it.

I just hope people continue to be here with these accounts and continue to get some sort of acceptance and a nod to say "hi, weird isn't it?"

I loved your posting, you are very lucky to have seen something so special. Whether it was a dream or not, you still witnessed it. And as such have something to carry with you.
 

LordRsmacker

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#23
escargot1 said:
Ahh, gaslight. It goes pop when you light it, and it's very flattering. ;)
Are you talking about lighting your farts?


Loved the train station story there, of course the common denominator is sleep. Rather than dreaming it all in a traditional sense, I think both tales point to there being a real "Twilight Zone" between sleep and waking where we are super-sensitive to, um, whatever!
 

gman72

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#24
linesmachine said:
Once in a while I read a posting on the FT site that reminds me why I'm still here.

I've got no insight into your experience, no judgment or explanation, no sensible cause or way to make sense of it.

I just hope people continue to be here with these accounts and continue to get some sort of acceptance and a nod to say "hi, weird isn't it?"

I loved your posting, you are very lucky to have seen something so special. Whether it was a dream or not, you still witnessed it. And as such have something to carry with you.
Thanks :oops:
It was absolutely the scariest thing that ever happened to me, but looking back my - at the time - young mind dealt with it really well. I've thought about the incident more since I posted it than I have in years and if it was a dream then it was the most vivid, lifelike dream anyone ever witnessed, complete with full self-awareness, full self control - to the extent that my fear allowed - and 100 percent fully correct goegraphy in the layout of the theatre. When I ran home was I awake or asleep? :?
 

decipheringscars

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#25
I have no idea how I'd react to such an event, but it would've been cool if you'd been able not just to sit down & enjoy the show, but to interact with a person or two. I just wonder if (a) it would have been possible, and (b) if so, would they have found you to be just as out of place as you found them to be? Ooh, and could you have lured any of them back into the lobby, and if so, what would've happened - would they have simply disappeared at the door? Obviously, you can't be sure, but do you have any sense about these questions?


_Cobh_, is it possible the pillow was conducting sound through the cot/through the floor/through the walls etc? I've noticed sometimes that sort of thing happens, especially, I think, with lower frequencies.
 

gman72

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#26
The more I think about it, the incident was more like a transmission or broadcast rather than something that I could interact with, I only have my own feelings to draw that conclusion from but I just have an insight that if I had tried to interact with any part of it the whole thing would have instantly evaporated before my eyes like a mist. Stone tape theory?
 

_Cobh_

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#27
decipheringscars said:
_Cobh_, is it possible the pillow was conducting sound through the cot/through the floor/through the walls etc? I've noticed sometimes that sort of thing happens, especially, I think, with lower frequencies.
That was the only rational solution I could come up with, except it sounded so close, whereas the painters were 5 floors above me. But it was totally silent every time I sat up, so I sat up til dawn!!

gman72 - your story is now reminding me of the scene from the Shining where Jack Nicolson goes into the bar and ballroom and it's full of previous guests from the byegone era. Maybe you're the caretaker of the theatre...and always have been :)
 

gman72

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#28
_Cobh_ said:
Maybe you're the caretaker of the theatre...and always have been :)
Wow...that's possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever accused me of being.
LOL
 

escargot

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#29
LordRsmacker said:
escargot1 said:
Ahh, gaslight. It goes pop when you light it, and it's very flattering. ;)
Are you talking about lighting your farts?
:oops: Busted.

I know the person the 'ghost train station' story happened to, and he reckons that account of it is spot-on. :D
 

Rushfan62

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#30
Just want to say what a great story! Been a while since there's been such a unique tale on IHTM. Maybe if you had sat and watched the show you would have been trapped in that time and would have been just another missing person as far as everyone was concerned. Any attempt to explain that you were from the future would hve seen you derided and ignored (or commited to an asylum) and we'd be reading about you in the Fortean times as a strange man who lived in late Victorian England who swore he was from the future and possesed an uncanny knowledge of things to come?
 
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