Monday, September 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Thespians of Doom...

Last night was a reunion of sorts; the (very) few of us from an old ghost hunting group reunited for an evening in an old theatre facing demolition. At 8:00 PM, we were locked inside the partially-renovated structure to begin our vigil. Of course, we spent a good portion of our time reminiscing and laughing, recalling funny moments from the past and laughing at the occasional mindless remark spoken without thinking of the consequences. Needless to say, we all have an overabundant sense of humor.

Amid heaps of dismantled theater seats, we explored each floor of the structure. In the basement, I noticed some old bits of history: old signs from the facade, doors for the entrances and rooms, and broken stained glass. Dust filled the air. I wished I had brought anything to drink with me. Both the laughter and stale air prolonged the headache which plagued me all day.

We heard a few faint noises, some of which could be explained by outside traffic. Occasional knocks came from far corners, but with the echo in the auditorium, it was impossible to locate a source. While exploring the projection booth, a bang came from the cutting room. While the woman I was with quickly headed the opposite way, I ventured in to explore it. There seemed to be no known source of the sound.

Being the history buff that I am, I couldn't leave the 80-year-old structure without a souvenir or two. It was, after all, expected to be demolished if possible plans to salvage it didn't go through. I found a wooden arm from one of the old seats with a brass number plate (lucky number seven) and placed it with my things. And while exploring the projection area, I couldn't help but notice a set of old cast iron, hand-cranked reel rewinds (judging by their appearance, original to the building) bolted to a makeshift table. Lacking the necessary tools, a washer made a decent screwdriver to remove them.

I'm a film and history buff. I couldn't resist.

We left after midnight, failing to make any definitive contact with "Elizabeth", a spirit who may dwell there. I headed out the front door, lugging my antiquated (and quite heavy) cargo. It wasn't until I made my way home and had a very late supper that my headache finally abated.

I did get a little flack for removing artifacts from a haunted structure. I did get permission to take the objects, mind you, but one person in particular asked me about any concern I might have taking something ghostly along with them. Bollocks. "Nah, I'm not worried. I've taken things before over the years. Nothing has ever happened," I said. And it's true. I've never had anything odd happen after removing something from a haunted place. Perhaps it's because I've always had good intent when removing anything. They have always been "souvenirs", but with the mindset of preserving a bit of history that would otherwise be destroyed. It has never been "because the place is haunted". It is always "because it'll end up in a landfill and no one gives a darn about preserving these sorts of things".

I think any spooks appreciate that.


Anonymous said...

I dont see anything wrong with taking someting from a place you investigate pending they approve. Yes there is that chance you bring something back with you or a spirt doesn't approve but, it is just weither you are willing to take that chance or not. I personally wouldn't like to have a spirit there with me as long as they weren't mad or upset.

Cullan Hudson said...

Ghosts or no, I think that would have been fun. I love old buildings; the older and more decayed, the better! And, yes, I would have taken stuff too. :-D

Jeanne said...

I love old buildings! (Can't imagine why ;~D)
About, OMG, twenty years ago I worked in a Nursing Home that was over 100 years old!
A new building was in the offing and so we were advised to check the top floor in the old section to make sure there was nothing left in storage. Since I was the Activities Director, we'd kept a lot of stuff over the years in that section.
Narrow rooms with a small sink and shallow closet lined one of the coridors. The nurses used to room up there and these were their rooms.
Quite eerie to think of these single woman in their dorm caring for the elderly, and in the early days of the place, the chronically ill and, so they say, some folks with "nervous breakdowns".
Had a great time exploring, but alas, no ghosts