Majestic Theatre a 'happy haunt'
THE POMONA Majestic Theatre is much more than the world's longest running silent film theatre, according to former owner and long-time pianola maestro Ron West.
The 85-year-old widower, who owned the building for over thirty years, believes it is home to multiple spirits, including that of his late wife Mandy.
Mrs West, who died in 2002, was also involved in running the theatre after the couple bought it in 1974.
Mr West said his wife has made her presence known on a number of occasions, including midway through his eulogy for her at the theatre.
"We had a gathering of family and so forth at the theatre after she died," he said.
"In those days you came in the door and there were panelled walls, and the back row was right up against it on the other side.
"Not even somebody with very long arms could reach that far, it was eight feet.
"These two ladies were talking in the back row while I was reading the eulogy, and one of them all of a sudden gets a sharp jab in the shoulder.
"Another time there were a couple of teenage boys sitting in the back row, and they had their feet up on the back of the seats.
"She walked up behind them, grabbed a handful of hair and smacked their heads together.
"You didn't argue with Mandy, when she said something she meant it and you did it."
Mr West said he had an earlier encounter with the spirit of a previous owner in the corridor behind the theatre's organ chamber.
"I was working on the stage after midnight and I heard these footsteps coming along the passage," he said.
"I thought it was Mandy coming to see where the hell I was because it was after midnight, and I just called out 'I'm on the stage', and there was nothing.
"Afterwards I thought 'wait a minute, these were hobnailed boots on timber, and the corridor is carpeted'."
Mr West said there was nothing spooky about his encounters, and that the spirits at the theatre are simply "curious" and "happy".
"Mandy and I were married for 40 years, and there are times when I just feel her here," he said.
"I'll be playing a show and I'll just feel that she's there.
"I feel that what we did with the place was what we set out to do, and I think that's why they're around.
"It's a happy haunt, the happy version of Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London."
You can still see silent films every second and fourth Saturday at the Majestic Theatre, with Ron accompanying the films on the pianola.
Head to https://www.themajestictheatre.com.au/ for more on coming events.