Haunted Movie Theater (Parmatown Mall)

From the Creepy Cleveland Archive

Contributed by Russ

Webmasters Note: Russ sent me this interesting tidbit on July, 22, 2001. Check this one out – verrry creeepy!!

I worked at a five-screen movie theatre located in Parmatown Mall for four years until is was permanently closed on May 28, 2001. The theatre opened its doors 1967 as the first two-screen movie theatre in the Cleveland area. It has since been renovated into a 5-screen plex. Throughout the duration of my employment, I have witnessed, along with many other coworkers, an extraordinary amount of paranormal activity at the theatre. Most activity took place at night, after close between 10pm-midnight. There were usually two staff members present during this time, a manager and a staff lead. The manager stayed upstairs completing closing issues, while the staff lead, myself, cleaned and stocked the concession stand. These are just a few of the hauntings that come to mind:

  • Various nights after close, I witnessed blurred images of a person or a mist heading towards cinema 5’s hallway and a figure of a teenage boy wearing a baseball hat near the photobooth.
  • I twice felt a negative presence approach me at the concession stand while cleaning. It felt like something was about to strike me, so I recall jumping back instantly while my heart pounded profusely.
  • On at least two occasions, I heard my named called by some unknown voice — once at the stands after close, and a second time while I was taking pictures of an upstairs’ room on the last day the cinema was open.
  • It was quite common for the staff to observe the doors in cinema 5 frequently opening and closing by themselves and the faucet at the concession stand sink turning on when no one was around.
  • While popping corn years ago, I remember hearing the sound of footsteps going up and down the stairs and the hall door opening and closing. I would look and nobody was there.
  • One night after lock-up I discovered a knife in the men’s restroom. I walked away to inform the manager, but when I returned it was gone. Nobody was in the theater.
  • We had a Disney Store promotional tie-in for the movie, “Dinosaur.” We displayed Disney merchandise above our concession stand for about two months without any strange occurrences, except for one instance where the merchandise started to rock back and forth and before we knew it, it came tumbling down near some patrons.
  • We have reasons to believe that cinema 5 is the most haunted. Despite numerous attempts to adjust/fix the heat/ac, cinema 5 always remained cold. When the theatre was empty, we would often hear loud noises coming from that auditorium. Generally some nights when business was slow, auditoriums would sometimes remain empty for the entire evening. On one of those occurrences, one of my coworkers perceived a child around the age of ten wearing blue Adidas pants and a white t shirt in cinema 5. When she turned around, the child was gone. On a separate occasion, during her first summer working there, this same coworker was cleaning cinema 5 after a movie emptied and noticed a big man by the left exit doors in the theatre. The man had an older, yet scary appearance. He disappeared when my friend looked away. Also, one night after lock-up when my manager was exiting the theatre by herself, she felt and presence and heard breathing directly over her shoulder. My manager thought it was one of us playing a joke on her, but soon discovered that there was nobody in the auditorium. She ran out.
    I have no doubt that my manager is inclined to this sort of paranormal activity. She frequented the ghost more than anyone, witnessing the office radio turning on by itself and a projector turntable rotating at an unordinary rate while the machine was turned OFF. She also heard the sound of footsteps, doors opening and closing, and somebody calling her name upstairs. Whenever I would visit her after I completed my staff lead duties, she always jumped when I knocked on the door. She was never comfortable upstairs in the office. Also, while sitting in the office one evening, my manager and another employee heard a woman’s scream originating from cinema 2. When they investigated, there was nobody in the theatre and the movie was off.
  • One time about a year before we closed, a mysterious bare footprint appeared in the floor dirt outside the office door. We tried duplicating the print with our own feet and some water and cleaning solution, but we had no success. My manager said the print disappeared soon after and then reappeared the next morning. The following day we mopped and scrubbed the print and it never returned.
  • We took a few pictures of cinema 5 on the last day of business. The prints could not be developed.

After 30 years of business, the cinema was closed on May 28, 2001 because the mall wanted to bring in another company that was willing to pay a higher lease. It currently lays abandoned and untouched since our departure. Three weeks after we closed, myself and a friend re-entered the cinema with a spare key. The power breakers were all turned off with the exception of cinema’s 2 and 5. I never told my friend about the hauntings at the cinema, but after we walked around cinema 5, my friend told me that she felt a great negative presence in that auditorium. She felt like somebody was watching us and she could not believe that I didn’t feel the same energy as her. I told her that I must have grown used to it after four years of paranormal activity. I have no doubt that if the new theatre opens at Parmatown the hauntings will prevail — specifically in cinema 5.

Russ from Parma, Ohio

Webmasters Note: I emailed Russ and thanked him for the great submission…and I got this response on July 23, 2001

Actually, it’s interesting that you asked me if I had any more stories. Yesterday, I was at the mall and was inspired, by my recent submission to your site, to re-enter the cinema with my spare key. I took a walk upstairs after turning on some of the electrical breakers. While walking through the long hallway upstairs near the projection booths and manager’s office, I heard a noise in the wall as I walked. It seemed like it was following me down the hall. It sounded like a scratching and like somebody was hitting metal with a screw-driver. Like i said, I worked there for four years and I’ve never heard anything like that before inside the wall. I never heard anything about anybody dying at the cinema, but I wouldn’t doubt it. It’s been open for over 30 years and it had its share of renovations and expansions. If anything, it could just be an old person who had a heart-attack while watching a movie. But like i said, I’m not certain if anybody has ever died at the cinema — at least not in the last 15 years (that’s when my manager first started working there and she would have told me if somebody was killed/died).

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2 thoughts on “Haunted Movie Theater (Parmatown Mall)

  1. I don't know about the movie theater itself, but I do remember hearing about a young boy who disappeared from Parmatown Mall back in the mid-to-late 1970's. I can't remember his name or the exact details, but if my memory is correct, he was kidnapped and beaten to death by his stepfather and his body was never found. Then there's the terrible tragedy of Mary Jo Pescho, who was kidnapped from the mall parking lot just after Christmas, in 1996 and driven around in her own car while being tortured and eventually murdered. Again, if memory serves, I also seem to remember hearing about yet another boy disappearing from that mall many years ago as well, although it's been so long ago, I could be wrong. None of these incidents probably have anything to do with the cinema being haunted, but it is interesting to note.

  2. I worked at Parmatown theatre part time when I was in high school. Not sure if Russ was referring to me or someone else with the same experience. I was cleaning up theatre 5 after close picking up old popcorn and drinks so I was looking down. When I looked up to go and throw everything away I noticed the back left door was open and there was a tall dark figure standing there watching me. I totally freaked out and ran to tell my manager that someone broke in to the back door. The exit doors lock automatically and everyone had exited the theater by that point. My manager came with me to check and nobody was there. I never cleaned theatre 5 again by myself.

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