ABC / Reel Cinema
Investigated on November 17th,
Moon Phase: 1st Quarter.
Weather Start: Dry but cloudy. Weather End: Heavy rain.
Due point: 5°C. Barometer Pressure Start: 1008mb
After the old Theatre Royal
was demolished in the late 1930's, the ABC / Reel Cinema was
born. Since then it has lived on and, today, is one of Plymouths
oldest buildings. What will happen when Hidden Realms spends
the night in this amazing building...?
Our research into the building is not bringing up many facts
and details about the building, but a little about its history
is out there. Originally the 'Theatre Royal' stood there until
1937 when, according to this
site, the theatre was demolished to make way for the cinema
that currently stands there. The group were told that the
reason that the theatre was demolished was due to a devastating
fire but currently nothing can be found to back this up. In
1938 the ABC cinema was built on its spot and was equipped
with a Compton cinema organ typical of the times in Screen
1 for playing during the old silent movies. This organ was
eventually sold off to Blackheath Halls in South London who
were looking for such an organ, and were surprised to see
that the original Plymouth one, despite laying dormant for
a number of years, was still just about playable. The organ
player, Dudley Savage, played the organ from a few months
since the cinema was opened up to 1976 when the cinema was
closed and part of it was converted into a bingo hall.
The ABC cinema was one of the
very few buildings that survived the numerous German air raids
that destroyed much of the city and is one of the oldest surviving
buildings of Plymouth.
Another part of Plymouth's
history that is seldom recorded is just how many people are
buried underneath the city. Original research for an earlier
vigil at the ABC prompted Dennis to contact the reference
library in Plymouth. They provided him with a photocopied
document that showed an amazing amount of burial grounds in
Plymouth. For example, there were at least three within a
very small area of the ABC cinema. While the military hospitals
had their own, there was a separate one for prisoners of the
Napoleonic War as well. When Dennis had reason to go to Westward
Television, later to become TSW, extensions and building were
often delayed to human remains being uncovered while working.
Colleagues there told him that finds there were very frequent.
It is estimated that there are over 250,000 graves at Ford
Park cemetery in Plymouth alone. a copy of this document will
be appearing soon on the Hidden Realms site.
|The main focus of activity seems to be in
Screen 2. A woman in white has been spotted at the very
back of the screenroom and occasionally a lady has been
seen sat in a particular seat down on the front row particularly
during horror films, but when people have gone to look
at her again, or when the film is finishing she is nowhere
to be seen.
When people have sat on the seat that this lady is supposed
to sit on down on the front row they've sometimes said
that they've felt uneasy and unwell, sometimes having
to leave the screenroom. Other people have, in the past
and for some reason, become physically agitated to the
point of not wanting to go into Screen 2.
During a previous investigation at the cinema Mike spent
the whole time with a recorder running in his pocket
which recorded nothing. As the investigation was just
finishing packing up for the night when Mike decided
to quickly nip to the toilet before his long drive back
home. His recorder had just been turned off and packed
away. Whilst in there he suddenly heard this loud, clear
whisper coming from the corner of the room which distinctly
said 'Favourite'. This is, to date, one of the only
experiences that Mike has had that he currently cannot
People have reported feelings of being watched and a general
feeling of unease in the ladies toilets.
Previous investigations at the building have given fruitful
results. You can see what investigative group Magic2K
encounted at their website by going to http://www.magic2k.com/
and searching for 'ABC Cinema'.
Equipment We Used
The group used the following equipment during our investigation:
walk around to each particular hotspot within the cinema
- Screen 1 (Bottom and top), Screen 2 (Bottom and top),
Screen 3, the gents and the ladies - with the EMF detector.
A Digital Audio Recorder was carried around by Mike
and was used in each room when questions were asked
out aloud in the hope that a then-inaudible response
would be recorded and audible during playback.
The Cross Trigger Object experiment was set up in Screen
2 down on the front row seat where the lady has been
seen sat and where people have sat and felt uneasy and
The following are the write-ups
from each sensitive of the group.
| Screen 1
A very gentle energy possibly two. I felt as if it was
a male energy but was so soft and gentle it could almost
have been female. It was a lovely warm energy. No names
or anything like that. Just a warm feeling and general
acceptance and happiness.
Picked up on four energies. I felt that two were just
replays. One being a woman in a long light coloured dress.
She was walking from one end of the cinema to the other.
It felt like when she was there it was a theatre though.
And one being a male energy that was simply moving from
seat to seat. And then back again. Nothing more, nothing
less!! Just moving seats constantly.
The two active energies were... A male energy at the front
of the screen that was very angry. I felt as if he had
some kind of sharp or pointy object in his hand. And he
would thurst it towards you if you came near. Almost in
self defense but also just to be a b---rd. He was a scruffy
man with quite a lot of hair. I got a 'J' name with him.
But nothing more than J. I felt that it was no more than
four letters long. Maybe Joe, Jack, John. Something short.
He always felt as if he was behind you waiting to pounce.
Very powerful energy. I also felt something to do with
a strangulation and a big rope. I didn't see any marks
on his neck but there was definatley a rope visable to
A male energy at the back of the cinema. The only thing
I got was that he again was not happy about something.
I got no name and no communication with this man. However
he did storm in between Kim and me and come very close
to our faces with anger. At this point we both stepped
back at the same time which was strange.
Felt there was a male energy there that was dressed in
a black suit. He was stood upright with a very proud look
on his face. The only way I could describe it was that
he had his own business or property there. He was just
so proud of it. He just stood there and grinned with pride.
On the staircase had to sit down as a strong energy
seemed to hang about me. It was male and gave his name
as George. He was very agitated and rushing backward
and forward as if lost or looking for something. He
said that he had lost his wife and children and was
looking all over for them. It was as though he had stopped
me to ask if I had seen them and made me sit down. He
just couldn’t find them anywhere.
I then felt a tremendous blast in front of me and severe
pins and needles down the front of my body. This ‘blast’
hit me straight on as if like an ‘aftershock’
but down the front of my body and not from the top of
me and I felt like I had been lifted from the ground
and thrown backwards. My face and body just felt numb
and I then realised that I was feeling what ‘George’
had been feeling. I had a horrible thought that he did
not realise that he was dead and that he was caught
in a loop looking for his family.
This was confirmed when I was given the image of the
lady and two children stood huddled together at what
looked like a graveside.
At the end of the night the group formed a circle down
near the screen end of the room. I became aware of a
man who was on the outside of the circle and who felt
like a disruptive character. His name began with J.
I asked him to come into the circle. At this point I
also became aware that the backs of my legs had become
extremely cold. The male did not seem to want to enter
the circle and he was making the group feel very uneasy
and so I asked the group to reverse the circle and face
outwards. On doing this the group felt more comfortable.
The coldness was now clinging to the fronts of my legs.
I knew that I had experienced this once before at Pengersick
Castle and at that time I became aware that it was a
child and I feel that this was also the case here.
We then felt that the male had moved into the circle
and so we turned inwards again to face him. The ‘child’
felt like it was leaning on the backs of my legs and
I became aware of a pressure pushing against my legs
making me feel unsteady. I had the sensation of something
around my neck which was very uncomfortable. It did
not feel like hands, it felt more firmer like rope.
As I considered this I was given the image of a room
which was lined with men. They were all facing inwards
and shouting and jeering with words like ‘thief,
liar, cheat’. I became aware of a very unpleasant
smell of tobacco smoke, ale and urine which was very
acrid. I felt that at that moment I was feeling what
this male had felt. I also felt that I knew the child
which was a small boy. It was my son. Unfortunately
I got the impression that this child was often treat
like an animal, uncared for, but he was watching his
father being lynched by a mob and he was terrified.
There was a scruffy man going round the room collecting
money from those who were watching and putting some
in a box that he was carrying and then quickly putting
some in his pockets. A chair was then brought and put
in front of the male presence (J) and he was forced
to stand on top of it. The rope was thrown over a beam
and two men held it, pulling hard and laughing. They
wanted to make him suffer slowly. As they pulled the
rope I felt my vision blurring, almost like blood rush
when you are about to pass out. I think that this may
have been the point that the male passed over. It was
some seconds after this that my legs began to warm up
again and I was able to move them.
Didnt sense anything in here really, just saw what was
probably a memory, it was of a victorian dressed gentleman
and lady moving down the right hand side of room towards
At the rear of the room I sensed a man, thickset, light
brown hair and in shirt sleeves. Didn't really have any
communication with him but he seemed angry/annoyed. He
seemed to pass between Pete and myself while we were standing
there, you could feel the annoyance as he passed. Both
Pete and myself felt the spirit pass by. The only names
that came to me were Roach. Marcus Jack. Dates/n.o's were
1806 and 194. At the front by the fire exit I sensed a
very angry, threatening, horrible man, he seemed intent
on not letting us be there, he kept circling around us
quite close at times. I saw him as a man with black hair
and quite strong.
It just felt ok in there, nothing sensed.
Just sensed name Sandra 1994.
Prior to this visit I attended the cimema before. The
things I sensed then were In screen 2: the angry man I
mentioned above, it was as though I was seeing something
I should'nt, there was a sense of something illegal going
on, bare knuckle fighting and cock fighting were shown,
money and gambling was sensed also a killing (I dont know
if the man killed or was killed) and the man was trying
to intimidate /scare me because I shouldn't have seen
what was happening. The room he was in felt it was beyond
the screen, it wasn't a cinema or theatre it was earlier.
The floor of the room had something that looked like bits
of hay and sawdust down, the walls were beamed. The man
felt connected to the sea. In the ladies toilet I sensed
that a suicide had occured, unfortunately I had no names
or dates given to me.I do not think the name I sensed
(as wrote above) during the 2nd visit to cinema was connected
to this incident.
I was given a picture frame, about 2ft 6 across, with
a seated lady taking the centre. She was dressed in a
style reminiscent of WW-2 period. Her hair was parted
in the centre, and tied at the back, with a pretty smiling
face. The dress was cream or white, and came from mid
shoulder in to a tight bodice. The dress then flared out
in to a full floor length skirt. I then saw the same lady
moving across a lawn, with other people in the background.
I also saw Chris completely enveloped in a purple cloud,
during the circle experience in Screen 2. I saw this as
a protective and healing force for Chris as she was directly
involved in the re-enactment.
Unforunately because of the
lack of history at our disposal, being able to tie in what
was sensed with what is known as fact is very difficult to
do. This is of course not suggesting that what's been said
above isn't true, there's just no way to verify it.
The other way to validate what is being picked up on is with
what results other groups have gathered at the ABC and what
ghostly stories are out there connected to the place. With
this, trends can be picked out.
Pete speaks of picking up on 'a woman in a long, light coloured
dress' and that 'she was walking from one end of the cinema
to the other'. Betty also picked up on a woman wearing a 'cream
or white' dress. Could this be the lady in white that has
been spotted in Screen room 2? If she's walking from one side
of the seating area to the other could she also be the lady
seen sat on the front row?
Both Kim and Pete picked up
on an angry, male energy in Screenroom 2 Pete describes him
as being a scruffy man with quite a lot of hair and Kim says
that he had black hair and looked quite strong. The name Jack
was given as a possible name from both Kim and Pete as to
who this person may have been but only Pete spoke of the guy
having a sharp, stabbing implement.
Both Pete and Chris spoke of this scruffy man with the name
beginning with J and furthered that he was connected with
ropes and strangulation - Chris adding to this by saying it
felt like he was the victim of a lynch mob. Pete said that
this guy was ready to pounce from behind and Chris said that
the lynch mob she felt were chanting "Thief, cheat, liar...".
At the time this scruffy 'thief' was circling the room a female
member of the circle reported feeling something slip into
What Chris was saying about this individual George who was
on an apparent eternal search for this family... from reading
the experience it sounds like George could have been caught
in a fire whilst searching for his family and was knocked
by a searing blast, killing him. This goes back to the alleged
fire that brought down the Theatre Royal. Hopefully research
will either confirm or deny this, and if the fire is true
it'll be interesting to see if anybody died in this fire and,
if so, if their name was George.
Mike did an EMF baseline
test throughout the three screens, in particular the
'hot spots', to see if anything would register on the
EMF reader. Here are what was found:
At the bottom of the screenroom, along the small stairwells
between the seats and the wall, and across the front
where the screen is, there was a low, constant EMF reading
of 0.7-0.8mg. This same reading was consistant at the
back as well with no notable EMF spikes.
This was the room I was the most interested in because
this was the main 'haunted' screenroom of the cinema.
Again, an average EMF reading of around 0.4-0.8mg was
recorded around the walls and screen both front and
There were a couple of very interesting EMF 'spikes'
in Screenroom 2. At the very back of the screenroom
there are a row of seats, and a number of these were
being enveloped in a constant EMF reading of 1mg whilst
the surroundings were at a lower 0.4mg. It's up by these
seats that the lady in white is supposed to be seen.
The other, more interesting EMF spike was found down
at the front of the cinema. The seat in question is
on the very front row, seat 2 and it was this particular
seat that people say they see the lady sitting at before
disappearing soon after. People who have sat in this
particular seat have also spoken of feelings of distress,
unease, nausea and so forth. Around seat 2 and mostly
seat 3 just opposite the fire escape there was a very
large EMF spike registering up to 4-5mg around this
one particular seat. This is a particularly strong reading
and is odd to appear in such a localised spot in an
open area. My guess is that there is a plug socket or
cable running directly underneath that has not been
shielded. But, whatever the reason, such a prolonged
exposure to such a high EMF level could very well bring
on the feelings of unease, nausea etc that people have
experienced in the past from sitting there.
The smallest screenroom had a low but constant EMF reading
around the walls and screen without any spikes, giving
a constant reading of approximately 0.7-0.8mg with it
dipping to about half in the middle.
Nothing really worth noting in the gents. The EMF stayed
pretty constant throughout at around 0.6mg.
There was an EMF emission around the mirrors in the
ladies toilets that registered at around 0.6mg. The
rest of the toilets had hardly anything. However, there
was a slight EMF spike around the cubicles where a constant
reading of around 1mg was recorded in each. My guess
is that there's a power lead running behind in the wall
that may be improperly shielded.
The cinema as a whole was pretty stuffy and warm with
a sickly sweet smell from the popcorn and confectionary
in the area. This, and breathing with a large number of
other people in a confined, closed area could explain
why people have reported feeling dizzy and unwell. Due
to its size, I would have assumed that Screenroom 3 would
have created this sensation, but the only room where people
complain of such a feeling is Screenroom 2.
Mike experienced something quite interesting in Screenroom
1. He had sat down with his digital recorder and asked
questions. After this he then asked out to any spirit
in the room if they could make the room colder (because
it was very warm in there!). Very soon after, just under
my elbow on my underarm I felt a small, localised patch
of cold. No breeze could have caused such a small area
to be chilled and a breeze check during the preliminaries
ruled breeze potential out. After this, I asked if they
could touch my hair and all of the hairs on my neck rose.
It felt very pecular.
The Cross Trigger Object failed to move.
A couple of interesting photos
and an EVP - one of our clearest to date - were captured during
This following photo was taken
near the end of the investigation. Okay, so it's an 'orb',
but it displays none of the characteristics that all of the
other orbs photographed possess. Also, this photo has NOT
been enhanced in any way (except, obviously, for the original-sized
variation pasted onto the shrunk image). Have a look...
Here's a close-up comparison
between this and the brightest un-enhanced orb photographed
in Screenroom 1.
the left here is a slightly enhanced enlargement of this light
to help bring out the colours a little more. What makes this
different from the other lights is that it is not flat, lifeless
and colourless but rather full, almost 3D in appearence and
contains yellows, blues, greens and purples. I've never seen
such a spectrum of colours on an orb before, including orbs
created by rain.
If only this orb had a casting
shadow behind it! that way its size and distance from the
camera could have easily been calculated.
The EVP that was captured was recorded in Screenroom 3 - the
smallest one that the other group members said they felt nothing
in. Mike was asking clear questions and then leaving a period
of 10 seconds silence afterwards to see if anything was recorded.
This was done under crudely controlled conditions where the
questions were not mumbled, nothing was said before or after
each question and if any audible sounds were heard during
the silence the question was scrapped and re-asked.
In this example Mike asked
the question "Are there any other spirits with you in
the room? What're their names?" A fraction of a second
after he asked this question you can hear a clear voice saying
something. Now, interpretation is slight on this one, but
pretty much all the people asked have heard the name Harry.
Some very interesting information came out of this investigation
on both the mediumistic and the scientific areas. The location
certainly needs more research into the place and hopefully
this will verify more of the mediums results.
On a scientific point of view
the investigation was very interesting for it's given quite
a bit to think about - namely the EVP that was recorded. The
photos were pretty interesting but too open to interpretation,
but that voice saying 'Harry' was not heard when the questions
were being asked. The EMF tests also showed some very interesting
results, especially around the front row seat number 2 where
people have sensed things in the past. Could this be a case
of 'mystery solved' where that's concerned?
had a brilliant time investigating this wonderful cinema.
Thanks so much to everybody who helped and hopefully we can
come back again soon!