2221 Exchange Avenue
Status: Historical Theater
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.
(St Vincent’s Asylum)
3500 NE 23rd Street
Status: Former Asylum, Former Rehab Clinic; Abandoned; Private Property
The history on this site is notorious hard to come by with a lot of articles just plagiarizing each other.
These are the stories we’ve found.
This location was built either in 1945 or 1953 by the Brothers of Mercy; a nursing order of the Catholic Church. The facility took only men although it is unclear why these men were housed here. The common reason is that they were developmentally disabled and/or suffering from a mental illness.
In 1963 a nurse on site suffocated 2 patients but was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Apparently, he had undiagnosed schizophrenia. A case of the inmates running the asylum
At some point in the late 1980’s the Reverend Richard Frank took over the property and converted it into an alcoholic rehabilitation center. The Reverend was found dead in his own apartment shortly thereafter. His murder remains unsolved to this day.
The good Reverend, though, was far from a pious figure. He had been arrested for solicitation for asking a male undercover police officer for sex. He also got caught for running some kind of scam involving Bingo. It was found that the Reverend had a number of enemies and this wasn’t the first time someone tried to kill him.
A patient living in this facility was also shot to death. It is unclear whether he was still a patient or had moved on.
The facility was abandoned sometime in the early 1990’s and has remained so.
Many people believe the facility was/is under the control of a dark entity or demon depending on your beliefs. This creature is said to have driven the patients and staff mad making sure no good ever came of the work that was done here.
Other Activity: disembodied voices; touches by unseen presences; doors open and closing on their own and other poltergeist activity; unexplained noises; feelings of being watched and of not being wanted.
(Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City)
1 Park Avenue
Status: Operational Historic Hotel
This is the oldest hotel in the city.
This Art Deco hotel originally opened in 1911 with two 10 story towers containing a total of 225 rooms. In 1925 a third tower with 12 stories was added and then in 1929-30 all three wings were brought up to 14 floors giving the building a total of 525 rooms.
The hotel was named after its founder William “Bill” Skirvin.
In 1988 the hotel was closed and completely abandoned for a number of years. In 1999 the mayor of Oklahoma City set up committee to discover if the hotel was capable of being saved. In 2000 it was recommended to re-open the hotel and the 42-million-dollar renovation began in 2004.
The hotel was re-opened in 2007 – with 225 rooms - as a Hilton Hotel managed by Marcus Hotels and Resorts.
While the hotel is not open about the ghostly phenomena, they don’t completely deny it either. When pressed they have confirmed they’ve heard reports of strange occurrences.
The most famous ghost in this hotel is “Effie”.
The stories say Effie was a maid that the original owner of the hotel – Bill Skirvin – had an affair with her. Effie became pregnant and Skirvin locked her in a room on the 10th floor to avoid a scandal.
Understandably, she became quite depressed which deepened after the baby was born. Soon after the birth Effie climbed into the 10 floor window with her baby and jumped to both their deaths.
Effie is portrayed as a loose woman with questionable morals, although being as she was characterized by a rich white man who got her pregnant this portrayal is dubious to say the least. In the early 20th century, a young woman with a healthy libido would have been seen as someone little better than a prostitute.
Skirvin had a reputation as a notorious drinker, gambler and womanizer which is much more believable.
Effie’s ghost has a reputation for propositioning men who are alone in their rooms. Reports indicate a disembodied female voice is heard making questionable suggestions. Her apparition is sometimes seen by men in showers – she often is seen naked.
There is even a report by one man that he was sexually assaulted by a female unseen presence.
This haunting became nationally famous when the NBA team the New York Knicks blamed their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on having a bad night’s rest in this hotel due to ghostly activity. The Chicago Bulls also said they unable to rest properly in this hotel due to strange noises and hearing doors slam throughout the night.
People have also reported lights flickering in their rooms and writing on fogged up bathroom mirrors – most commonly Help Me.
There are also reports of a woman in a red dress wandering the halls of the hotel.
In the Venetian Room – a ballroom on the top floor – objects have been moved while the room was locked and empty.