by Henry Malone
This is my true experience as a janitor at a movie theater in small town Iowa
| Hey there X-Files, I'm not exactly sure what to tell you, or how to tell you about this. I suppose I'll start with the fact that I DO NOT believe in ghosts. But, there are things that have happened to me that I truly have no logical explanation for and I have no way of rationalizing beyond the phrase anomalous. This is my complete experience with the unexplained at a movie theater in small town Iowa. Believe me or don't but I swear to you I am telling the truth as I have lived it.
I first got the job at the movie theater in my hometown about a year and a half ago. It was a who give a shit minimum wage night job I picked up for some extra cash. Basic janitorial duties. Sweep up the popcorn, empty the trashcans, clean the bathrooms. That sort of thing, I went about three or so months without any kind of incident. Then one night in late October, I was emptying a trashcan in the second theater in the complex. I dumped the trash into my wheeled trashcan and swept around the wooden case of the stationary can that resided in the theater. I'd noticed some stray pieces of popcorn under a nearby seat. Naturally I take the few steps over and sweep it into my dustpan. When I turn back however, I notice a small mount of wrappers and popcorn directly in front of the wooden housing for the trashcan. I thought I had just swept up there. Though it's entirely possible I'd missed it. I sweep it up and take the trash to the dumpster. And I finish the night without incident.
About 3 weeks pass, in and out cleaning no problems whatsoever. As I'm hitting the concession area to clock out I hear glass shattering. I don't mean like a crack in a window from a pebble. I'm talking action hero diving through a pained glass window, I just about shit myself then freeze in the dead silence. I take a few tentative steps from behind the counter and slowly make my way to the front of the foyer. The face of our building is lined in double-pained security glass. As I get closer to the front door. I make a sobering discovery, no windows are broken. The glass case depicting the history of our movie theater is completely intact, I rush to the ticket counter to see if the money drawer had fallen from it's perch on a stool. It was where my manager had left it. I sprint to the bathroom to check the mirrors, both are unharmed. Utterly confused and mildly terrified I move back to the concessions counter and clock out. I shut all the lights off and leave for the weekend.
Another Month had passed, I'd written off the sound of glass shattering as a construction mishap from the start-up brewery next door. At this time I'd started to take interest in singing. Being a solid baritone, I took a liking to opera and melancholy music. I started singing while I was working. I made my way through the theater singing and sweeping up popcorn. I was in theater two in the second to last row, I attempted to carry a note that I didn't have the skill for and ended up coughing. After I'd finished hacking a lung, Over but yet somehow under my music I heard a soft but firm whisper. "From the chest my boy" My blood ran cold. I knew it wasn't part of the song and I know for a fact that I was alone in a movie theater that was locked from the inside. As strange as this was I wrote it off as my imagination. Though at that time, I was seriously considering finding new employment. I started to feel a sense of dread every time I walked into the second theater. I kept going to work because you know paychecks.
Two weeks pass without anything significant happening, Nothing aside from the ice machine startling me with a loud thud as I passed by it. I sing my way through the theaters as I usually do. I get done sweeping and mopping the second theater, I made my way to the front near the screen and flicked off the cleaning lights. The second the lights went out I watched a solid black figure walk around the corner of the wall that separated the seat incline from the entrance and take a seat in the chair nearest to the front. I stared at the figure for a few seconds then made the split decision to keep my head forward and walk quickly passed. As I did, the figure didn't take notice of me from what I could tell anyway. I pretended it hadn't happened and continued as usual, moving from the last theater to the bathrooms. The bathrooms were relatively clean that night, so it took mt 10 minutes to do the men's and the women's. After I had finished wiping down the counters in the women's room I took my supplies back to the cleaning closet and flicked off the lights. Realizing I still had my gloves on halfway to the register, I did a heel-turn and walked into the darkened women's restroom. I shed my gloves and tossed them into the now empty trashcan. I soaped up my hands and began washing them, As I was just about finished rinsing I noticed something in my peripheral vision. Standing in the center of my peripheral vision was the same stark black figure facing me. I froze, I didn't move. I glanced up at the mirror. To my horror I only saw myself staring back at me, but the figure was still there facing me motionless. I slowly turned the water off, turned away, and walked calmly out of the restroom. after I'd cleared the restroom area I broke into a dead sprint. I didn't even bother clocking out. I crashed through the front door slamming it behind me. I jumped into my car and punched the gas before the door was even closed. I'd had enough, the next day I called my manager and resigned.
I had a day job as well as the theater job. Cards on the table I only had the second job so I could fuel my nicotine habit without straining my bills. Sadly about a month and a half ago I was fired from my day job. And to spite numerous applications I hadn't found employment. I'm sure you can see where this is going and you're calling me an idiot and labeling this story as fake. Say what you like, but I needed money and my manager told me to call her if I ever needed a job. So, I walked into the theater and 10 minutes later I walked out with a key to the theater and a date to start. My first day back I was shaky as hell, but all went well and I thought it may have all been caused by the stress of my life. I put the previous incidents from my mind, almost forgot about them actually. It was my third day back. I'd sang my way through all of the theater as I had previously. I'd gotten to the bottom of theater two just as I finished singing a song. As I turned to shut the cleaning lights off, I saw a grayish colored man stand and silently clap from the second to last row. I was sick of this, so I elected it give it what it wanted. I took off my headphones and sang a song for it. Hitting all of the notes to the best of my ability. The second I opened my mouth to sing it faded. After I finished my impromptu song, I just flicked off the light and left as fast as I could. I had hoped that I'd sated whatever it was and finally given it what it wanted.
A week later I came in to start my shift confident I wouldn't be experiencing any weird shit. I walked in talked to the front desk attendant till the last movie let out. Said goodnight to him as he left and walked over to the register to clock in. I punched in my numbers, poked the "ok" button, took one step away from the counter and then I was gone. I wasn't gone gone. I was somewhere. But where I was wasn't my new/old night job. I was standing in a sold out opera house, facing the crowd. They were all staring passed me. Almost as if they were looking through me, then I noticed him. A tall pale man, Short jet black hair, And the slight shadow of a beard patched across his face. He was looking at me. Not through me like the others, actually truly looking at me. We locked eyes. As he stared at me and I gazed into his dark eyes. My vision started to blur and blacken on the sides. Just then this strange chunky partially operatic, partially jazz, and a hint of calliope music kicked up. It was grating and hellishly disorienting. I blinked and rubbed my eyes. As I brought my hands away from my face. I was standing front and center in theater two. I flipped the fuck out. I called one of my best friends and waited by the soda machine until he walked through the door. I had him shadow me the entire way through the rest of my shift. I drove home. As I pulled into the parking space outside my apartment complex. I chain smoked for about an hour that was around the time my girlfriend asked where I was through text. I told her I'd be up soon. She fell asleep about an hour ago. And I started writing this. I have no Idea what to do from here. I need the job, But I'm afraid that I may not come back next time. I'll keep you guys updated as well as post this on all of my social media accounts. Wish me luck X-Files. Be Well.