Vernon Town Cinema

The Vernon Town Cinema

The Vernon Town Cinema is located in the city of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. Vernon is a city of 37,000 people located in the North Okanagan region of B.C. The actual theatre building was built in 1928, and was originally constructed as a dance hall and live theatre. In 1938 the live theatre was converted to a movie theatre by the Famous Players Corporation.  Famous Players have long since departed the old Town Cinema, and it now operates as an Art House, playing art films for those patrons that enjoy the more intellectual movie fare than the main stream multiplexes tend to provide.  There have been many strange and odd occurrences in the theatre for years, many of these occurrences have been detailed in the book, Ghosts II, by John Belyk. It is walks the theatre at night after the final curtain falls.

Mysterious footprints appear on clean, newly washed floors, often the print of a naked foot appears as the floor is being washed and there have been many witnesses to this phenomenon. On one occasion, when a technician was checking the focus on a newly installed projection lens, the man suddenly jumped back and accused the manager of giving several hard "yanks" on his hair. The surprised manager who had been standing several yards away at the time denied the accusation.  The technician, realizing how silly his charge had been, then rushed out of the projection room and didn't stop running until he reached the box office, he was white with fear and trembling.  Who or what had yanked his hair has still to be explained. The old lobby foyer still has its oversized poster boxes, and often when the doorman has faithfully mounted the new posters portraying up and coming movies, he arrives the next day to find that they have been unattached from the cases and have to be rehung once again.  After a renovation, the theatre was being cleaned prior to re-opening.  The cleaning staff brought their equipment into the auditorium through the bottom exit and stacked it to one side of the stage.  When they returned from a coffee break to begin cleaning they were shocked to find their equipment had been moved across the auditorium by unseen hands.  The frightened staff cleaned with extra haste that day.  During this cleaning session the auditorium suddenly came alive with the sound of dance music. Someone or something had mysteriously turned on the theatre sound system and Glenn Miller played in the old Town once again!

On one occasion the concession worker was doing her nightly inventory and cleanup when the sound of a rattling doorknob could be heard.  She looked over to see the doorknob on the janitor room door turning and the door shaking as though someone was locked inside.  The only other person in the building at the time was the manager, the worker called out his name, thinking he had locked himself in the room. The manager, hearing his name called, emerged from his office to enquire what it was she had called him for. She explained that there was someone locked in the janitor's room, but on inspection, the manager found the door unlocked and the room empty, no explanation has ever been found!

Odd occurrences have become so common that the staff have even given our mysterious ghost a name, he is affectionately know as "Lloyd" and whenever something happens its just old Lloyd acting up again.

The current owner of the Town Cinema commutes from the nearby city of Kelowna every day to run the theatre, a drive of about one hour.  On most days its a beautiful drive along beautiful lake shore most of the way.  During the winter this commute can be sometimes very treacherous and the owner has been force to stay overnight in the theatre on occasion due to severe weather and snow storms. The first time that he stayed overnight he tried sleeping in the office only to awake in the middle of the night unable to move.  It seemed like a great weight was pressing down on his body and he was unable to move a muscle. After what seemed hours he finally managed to move his arms and with great effort his legs and then struggled to a standing position.  Groping for the light-switch, he finally managed to turn the lights on…but there was nothing visible in the room. The next time he stayed overnight he tried sleeping in the projection booth, with the same result…waking in the early hours of the morning with a great pressure on his upper body.  After a long struggle, he managed to overcome this force and once again there was nothing to be seen.  Finally he fixed up a some storage space just off the projection room as a sort of small apartment, hoping this time to get a good nights sleep.  He awoke at about 3:00am to the sound of a heavy tread on the steep, wooden projection room stairs, they progressed to the top of the stairs then stopped.  The owner lay in his bed, frozen, waiting to see if the intruder was going to attempt to get into his locked room. After a few minutes of silence the sound of the mysterious footsteps retreating down the stairs could be heard.  With much trepidation, and fearing the worst, the owner proceeded down the stairs in the dark, expecting to find a burglar prowling about the lobby….once again, nothing.  There was no-one there, nothing to explain the mysterious footsteps.

A few weeks later, with temperatures dropping near 30 degrees below zero and the roads treacherously slippery, the owner had no choice but to choose once again to spend the night.  At approximately 4:00am he awoke in his locked room, he opened his eyes to see a man standing in the doorway of his room.  Somehow through two locked fireproof steel doors this man had appeared in his doorway.  The owner was shocked as the apparition stood there and looked sadly back at him.  The owner finally got up enough nerve to say "So That's What You Look Like".  The apparition was that of an elderly man, possibly in his mid 60's, he was wearing dress slacks and a shirt and tie, and a light blue jacket similar in design to that of a lab technician, the apparition said nothing, after a few moments he simply turned and walked back through the steel door he had entered by.

Who the man was has yet to be explained but obviously he has some attachment to the building and just won't let go!  I will update this information as events unfold.  Any questions can be directed to the Manager, Vernon Town Cinema by e-mail!


Another Vernon Ghost Story

I grew up in the town of Vernon in the North Okanagan Valley BC. This is the same town with the haunted movie theater.

About ten years ago, my Mom bought an old heritage type house on 16th Street. She moved in along with my Sister and everything was just fine. After awhile, my sister (about sixteen at the time) was often complaining about weird noises throughout the house and items and furniture being moved around. I thought that she was exaggerating, but soon my Mom was also saying that these things were happening and there was an odd feeling about a bedroom upstairs.

Although I have always been a believer in ghosts, for some reason I thought they were imagining it all. Until I got my own proof. At the time, I was working in a warehouse nearby, and would often stop in on my break to get some lunch. No one was usually home since my Mom and sister would be at work and school respectively. I walked in and stated making lunch when I heard footsteps travel across the length of the house from above my head to the other end. My sisters room ran along the entire length of the house, so I just assumed that she must have stayed home from school that day. I continued to make and eat my lunch when I realized that she walked from where her bed was to the entrace to her room at the top of the stairs, but never came down.

I decided to go up and see how she was doing, and as you might have guessed, she wasn't there. Nobody was. The room, however, was extremely cold for a June day. I told my family what had happened and none of them were really surprised

They had decided that the ghost was non-threatening and didn't really have a problem coexisting with it. Some time later, my sister came home late and began to climb the stairs to go to bed when she looked up to see the image of a glowing young boy standing at the top of the stairs! It looked at her and promptly vanished.

I believe she slept downstairs that night. Within a year, my family decided to sell the house and move on. The decision had nothing to do with the ghost. Every time I go back to Vernon, I notice that the house is up for sale again. My Mom has told me that it usually goes back on the market every three months or so. I guess people just aren't all that comfortable with sharing their house. On an interesting end note, I once ran into a friend who I hadn't seen in a really long time. He asked me if my Mom still lived in that house on 16th? I said no, and he went on to explain that he had grown up in that house. I had no idea. What he said next gave me the chills. "How's the ghost doing?"



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