This a true ghost story. I know that it's true because it recently happened to me.
I have always been a skeptic of the paranormal. My mind has always operated in a factual way. I back up anything unusual with proof and simple logic. There has been little in life that I had no explanation for. Ghosts and goblins have always been as real to me as cartoon characters. Three months ago all of this changed.
The exact date is not important. The incident occurred near the end of August of this past year. It took place between 9 and 11 pm. I know that it was between this time because this is when I do my usual nighttime usher check of the theaters where I work. The theater I work for is quite tiny - only three theaters, a bathroom, and an upstairs office. We show mainly independent and foreign films. The theater has been around since 1972 and still has the vintage shaggy carpet and laughable orange walls that were "groovy" back then.
Shortly after I acquired the job I heard of a rumour circulating among various staff members. Apparently the legend was that an employee had taken his life in the locked staircase of theater three sometime in 1976. There is practically no use for the staircase (it leads to the upstairs office but there are other more convenient ways to get there) so nobody I worked with had actually been inside.
On this particular day I was working all duties: box office, concession, and ushering. The only people in the entire building were my manager and I. After the last movie had ended my manager called down to me on my walkie talkie and asked if I could check out the staircase. Apparently one of the patrons complained of noises coming from behind the door. I went up to get the key from her. She confessed that she was apprehensive about doing it herself, but assured me that it was probably just a couple of rats. I remember thinking at the time how silly she was to fall victim to all the horror story hoopla.
I went down to the staircase without hesitation. I unlocked the door without hesitation. I swung the door open without hesitation. I was truly the naive one - unaware of life's spectacular happenings.
As soon as I swung the door open I felt a sharp cold sensation sweep through me as if an open window had allowed a winter breeze to enter. I must admit that I slammed the door shut and took a couple of deep breaths. At the time I was too proud to succumb to the "fake" fears and confess my childishness. So I opened the door again - this time much slower. I felt the same cold breeze only this time it somehow paralysed me. I wanted to leave. I wanted to scream. I wanted to at least turn on the lights and see that there was nothing to fear. But I could do nothing. And then it happened.
The lights shot on and the door slammed behind me. I fell to my knees and shut my eyes. Before my eyes shut though, I caught a glimpse of an image at the top of the stairs. I sat there horrified for maybe a minute and then attempted (eyes still shut) to open the door and leave. It was locked. My keys were dangling outside. I knew what I had to do. I have never been so panicked, so frozen, so insanely horrified in my life. I opened my eyes and...I saw him.
You can watch horror movies and look at "true ghost" photos. You might even think you can hear them late at night. You might dream of them or fantasize about them. But you cannot see them. I'm trying to say that you cannot see a ghost until you actually come face to face with one.
Pale, lost, hideous, young, empty. There are no.. I just cannot put it into words. He was there. As simple as that. I almost felt like...I knew him. He was..well...almost transparent but like more real than any person I have ever seen. Don't get me wrong - he was revolting to look at but...I could almost tell that he was sad and lonely. Something about his sadness made me not as scared. I gained a little composure and was able to speak.
"Are you ok?" I asked.
He didn't answer me. He just sort of looked down at the ground and swung his head from side to side. It was then that I caught a glimpse of the side of his head. It must have been the bullet wound...only there was no blood. But half of his skull was missing. I assure you - I flinched back so hard I almost knocked myself unconscious on the door. I think he knew that I was disgusted and it angered him. He began to quickly move towards me. I have never known such fear. And then - there he was.
We were standing so close to each other that I could smell his breath. His hand began to creep up as if he wanted to touch me...simply to touch another human being. And then he vanished.
I didn't hear my name for a few seconds. Shelly, my manager, had been calling on the walkie talkie asking why I was taking so long. I still have no idea how I couldn't hear her. The walkie talkie had been on the entire time as far as I know. I still work for the same theater and, believe it or not, I still check the staircase at least a couple times a week. I have yet to see him again.
Maybe he found a new hiding place. Or maybe.. just maybe..he came to terms with himself that night. I'd like to think that he had struggled long enough and he paid his price for his cowardly exit from life. I'd like to think that he found piece that night - much as I did.
I hope you got something out of my story. I know it sounds quite fantastical and pretty unreal. I understand if you don't buy it. I was the same way for a very long time. Maybe one day you will be a true believer as well.
Take care and be aware, Andy