Photo Courtesy of Paranormal Wasteland
As you cross the bridge into the Oklahoma City Stockyards, you will feel as though you have been transported to a different time. A time of outlaws, ranchers, and cowboys. Beautiful brick and wooden buildings line the main street. There are storefronts for western wear, and it is here you can also find the oldest continually operating restaurant in Oklahoma City.
Nestled between these old buildings lies a hidden gem. Though the building may seem quiet and unassuming, do not be fooled. This is the home of Rodeo Cinema, a nonprofit movie theater that features wonderfully unique independent films and is available for private rentals. Established in 1924, Rodeo Theatre has provided decades of entertainment to Okies and visitors alike, originally showing silent films and vaudeville acts. It is currently the longest-running cinema in the city according to their website.
You are welcomed by beautiful original tile flooring, a fully stocked concessions area to your left, and a small lounge area to your right. Straight ahead through two pairs of doors lies the theater. Beautiful wooden beams and details will convince you that you have stepped into the past. Spacious seating and comfortable chairs await you, making your viewing experience even more enjoyable. As you watch a film, however, keep in mind that the friendly face sitting next to you may not be a living person at all.
Not much seems to be known about who may be lingering behind. Some believe former employees reside here, choosing to stay in the place that made them happiest. Others still believe perhaps the spirits of the stockyards roam from store to store, enjoying the city exactly as they did in the past.
Per employees, the routine at closing is folding all of the seats and armrests up. One employee in particular claims that when he left to check the doors, he came back into the theater to find every armrest down-there are 170 chairs. He thought someone may have been pranking him, but said himself that it is practically impossible to do that so quickly.
Another employee felt a ghostly hug from behind. One manager, who is somewhat of a skeptic, said he hears odd noises often, and one particular light in the upstairs storage area likes to turn on by itself.
When Paranormal Wasteland investigated, we experienced some interesting responses with the SB7 Spirit Box, including ‘movie’ and ‘film’. As lead investigator Adam was sitting on the stage, we heard a loud footstep directly behind him- we couldn’t find any normal source. I was standing in one of the upper levels of seats and heard the railing directly next to me squeak like something had leaned against it. I tried to recreate it but was unable to.
Our cat toys lit up and we couldn’t find an explanation for it. All around, the spirits seemed friendly. In my personal opinion, the spirits at Rodeo Cinema may be more residual than intelligent- perhaps they are happy going about their normal routine in the theater.
I highly recommend enjoying a movie at Rodeo Cinema-just don’t be alarmed if you feel like you are not alone.