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A Night Inside The Lincoln Theater Alone: Part Two

October 31, 2018
BY CHUCK CLEGG - COLUMNIST , Wetzel Chronicle

On a rainy evening not long ago, I undertook a research project into the world of ghosts and things that go bump in the night. To be honest, I undertook this project with a good bit of skepticism. Ghost, goblins and spirits are things inside of people's imaginations. Aren't they?

Throughout my life I have always believed there are things I would experience that I may not understand: sounds in the night without explanation - maybe wild animals, unexplained creaks in walls and floors - merely the building settling as outside temperatures change.

I consider myself to be a reasonable person, but I believe I will never understand the mysteries of our world. To begin my search for ghosts, the one place in my life I experienced every type of scary aberration known to man was inside the Lincoln Theater. As I entered the former movie house on that rainy night, I remembered the 1960s movie, "13 Ghosts." After 58 years, I had returned alone in the darkness searching for ghosts within the Lincoln Theater. Was I crazy as Mary had declared, or just curious? Outside the 98-year-old building, a rainy darkness closed in as the town clock struck eight times. Towards the west occasional lightning filled the sky.

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Once inside the theater, I lit an electronic artificial candle. It gave me a feeling of being in a spooky place. I had to set the proper mood for research into any ghostly anomalies that might appear. The battery operated candle provided just enough light to illuminate my writing papers. Adjusting to the near darkness, I began to see an eerie light coming from the lobby. Perhaps this could be the glow of a ghostly aberration. I discovered it was light from a street lamp filtering through the lobby's stained glass doors. It created a yellowish glow as it crept quietly across the lobby floor into the darkened theater. After only a few feet the ghostly light faded into the darkness of the main room. My only light was a flickering electronic candle in the gloomy emptiness.

No sounds of equipment broke the silence of this place. In fact, I could describe the empty room as being silent as a grave yard. It really was, no inside noises and only the occasional passing car on the wet street created any sounds. It's a strange thing, when I first entered the building the sounds of rain on the roof were not something I noticed. But as my senses became more in tune with the emptiness, every sound became more intense. On this dark rainy night it was just me and the theater, and any ghost that may be lurking in the shadows.

After a few minutes, the exit lights that I had taken little notice of had became prominent in the dark. The signs are meant to be beacons for those wishing to leave the theater. Alone in the darkness, their glows seemed to create welcoming places in the emptiness of the room.

After a half an hour I settled into the emptiness; now it was only me and my electronic candle. I was accompanied by light filtering through the stained glass doors, and silent exit signs seeming to beckon me to leave this place. I wanted to further enhance my experience, so I closed my eyes and sat, allowing them to become even more acclimated to the dark conditions. After a few minutes, I opened my eyes. Suddenly, something moved near me in the dark. I felt my heart race as I sat quiet, waiting for whatever it was to return. Watching and studying, I came to realize it must have been my shadow's movement. It was created by my flickering candle filtered through the red glow from the exit sign against the wall. I will have to tell you that for a split second I thought someone or something was in the building with me.

As I sat there writing these very words, I began to hear muted sounds coming from the walls. I could not pin point where they were coming from. I want to tell you that it was voices I heard, but I could not be sure what I was hearing. For the moment, the rain had stopped, and the total absence of sound may have been playing tricks with my ears. But, as I sat there, I realized it wasn't one voice, but many voices I was hearing. They were jumbled together and muted, but they were voices. Suddenly, a sharp thud sound broke the silence. It was followed by total silence. Trying to make sense out of my experience, I told myself it must have been in the nearby building, a television with the volume up high. I walked close to the wall, waiting for more sounds, but no more came in the emptiness. Whatever it was, I still cannot explain. Was it in the building next door, or was it with me inside the theater? I don't know. Maybe my imagination was playing tricks on me? After all I was in an empty theater, and it was late on a rainy night. Was I stretching my imagination to preserve reality in this place?

After a few hours of writing and waiting I felt that I was becoming part of the world inside the theater. As I sat there in the soft velvet seat staring at an empty stage, I remembered back to a time when the images on the big screen were my window into this world. I knew even back then the Creature from the Black Lagoon was a man in a rubber suit. Still, I may have jumped when he appeared suddenly from the water, grabbing someone and pulling them beneath the water's surface. Inside the Lincoln Theater, movie magic really did happen, as I and others were drawn into the world of a created reality.

When I first came into the theater I set my cameras to take a picture at five minute intervals. All of the pictures taken revealed grainy images, except for a couple. One picture near the stage captured a faint light. Its shape would not be what I would normally expect from a lens reflection. The second picture showed absolutely nothing. In this case nothing is something. A long exposure even in the darkness should have captured grainy images, but it did not. The picture was taken in the balcony. It was to be of the door to the storage room. Remember last week I told you of Bev Gibb's experience with the moving padlock? This was the same door and lock. Nothing registered in my camera after a very long exposure. I adjusted my camera's settings to maximum light capture. ASA film speed was set for 6400. The lens aperture was opened to 4.5. And exposure time was set to three minutes. With these settings the wall and door should have showed up as fuzzy grainy image. My camera captured nothing in the darkness of the balcony.

Having spent several hours inside the darkness of the theater, I cannot say I found evidence of ghost or things that go bump in the night. But, I still cannot explain with any certainty the muffled voices that I heard. Nor can I explain the fuzzy image of light near the stage. As to the balcony storage room and its door not registering on my camera, the only explanation is it may have been painted with non- reflective paint. As for my investigation of ghosts, I will say there are things in this world I will never understand. On this Halloween 2018, just maybe inside the Lincoln Theater the answers remain hidden just beyond my flickering electronic candle, as I looked Through the Lens.

 
 
 

 

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