Sunday, May 11, 2003
Seattle's Last Adult Theatre, the Man Who Died There, and the Ghost He Left Behind
There are several stories out there about haunted strip clubs and peep shows. We too, have experienced some strange phenomenon at our adult theatre and peep show . . . listen in, why don't you . . .
1. Set & Setting
The first part of this story takes place in the adult theatre, which is located upstairs right next to the peep show. The lay of the land: our building is located just southeast of the Space Needle, downtown Seattle. There are several hotels nearby so many of our customers are from out of town . . . mostly middle-aged business men. The building is probably about 40 years old and is in good condition. It has been remodeled at least a couple of times.
The building has two floors: 1st floor - adult retail store; 2nd floor - adult theatre, peep show, and video booths. The theatre is the only one still showing adult movies in Seattle. They show three movies a day, which play on a continuous loop. The tickets cost $10.00 and you can stay as long as you like. The theatre is open 7 days a week and is open 22 hours a day. It closes between 6:00 - 8:00 a.m. daily for cleanup. The theatre itself holds up to 50 people. On a good night, they usually sell around 30 tickets. The movies shown are mostly straight porn. They used to show gay porn, but I guess someone in corporate didn't approve so they compromised and now show bi-porn once in a while.
There really isn't a stereotype for the guy that visits the theatre. They are gay, straight, bi, old, young, rich, poor, mean, nice, cute, not so, and everything in between. There are regulars that come into the theatre almost on a daily basis. We lovingly call these guys theatre whores/hoes. Many of them have gotten to be friendly with the guys at the front desk and with some of the dancers. Once in a while they do nice things for us like bring in food, candy, beverages, etc. They also let the guys out front know if anyone is breaking the rules in the theatre. This would include, but is not limited to, smoking cigarettes, smoking crack, sneaking into the theatre through a propped door, etc. You are not suppose to masturbate in the theatre, nor have open sexual encounters with anyone, but most of the customers do not complain about this.
The staff make periodic walk throughs to make sure people are behaving and Vice comes through once in a while, too. If Vice sees someone masturbating they normally just let them off with a warning. With this diverse group of men watching porn together, some of them masturbating, others getting it on with each other, I am surprised they tolerate each other so well. If they are straight and two guys are getting it on, they normally just turn a blind eye. You will get the occasional spat between guys because one was hitting on the other and the other wasn't interested and got offended. Sometimes they will try to get their money back, but there is a no refund policy.
There are couples that visit the theatre too, once in a while. There is this strange buzz that goes around when couples come in. I'm not sure if some of the guys have cell phones, but there seems to be some kind of calling tree as guys seem to arrive out of no where shortly thereafter. I have heard stories . . . ranging from couples getting it on with each other in front of other people, to the guy allowing other men in the theatre to get it on with his female partner, while he passes out condoms and watches. I heard one story wherein, the lady was on her period unbeknowst to one of the strangers fucking her. He came out of the theatre afterwards panicked, as he and his clothes were all covered in blood. He told the guys up front that he was worried something was wrong with her, but she ended up being just fine.
The entrance to the theatre is right next to the entrance to the girls' dressing room. The exit to the theatre leads to the hallway where our booths face out. There are three booths and one stage. The bathroom that the guys use is right across from the middle booth. This means that all the guys coming out of the theatre have to walk by us. Many of the gay guys and less friendly regulars will walk by like we are invisible. Sometimes they come out walking kind of funny and we joke that "they must have got it good in there."
Most of the guys do not close the bathroom door when they go in. The urinal is in clear view and you can tell when they have hard-ons because they lean way forward and brace themselves with their forearms so they can aim properly. Once in a while, we'll get guys trying to masturbate in the bathroom, while looking at us. It's creepy because you'll be engrossed in a great book and all of a sudden you feel you're being watched. You look up and some creepy guy is in the bathroom wacking it like a little spider monkey, while leering at you.
This is not tolerated and once we figure out what's going on, they either get the "you're being naughty" sign, which is moving the index finger side to side and pointing to the door to the booth to let them know they need to get a show if they want to do that. If that fails, or if we aren't feeling so nice, they get the extended middle finger and the "I want to fucking kill you" look. We jump out of our booth real fast so they'll think we're coming out to tell on them. They almost always leave as quickly as possible.
2. The End of Tumescence?
Now for the scary part.
This story takes place about six years ago. It was a typical evening at the theater . . . nothing out of the ordinary was going on. It was around 12:00 a.m. when a man came out of the theatre and told the guys working the front counter that he thought there might be a dead guy in there. One of the guys at the counter followed the customer into the theater.
There they found an older gentlemen who appeared to be unconscious. His pants were undone and his penis was out. It appeared he had been masturbating. The people in the theater were asked to leave and they secured the area. They went back out to the counter and called 911. Within minutes, aide units and police arrived at the scene. The gentlemen was pronounced dead, but his body remained at the scene until the coroner arrived at 3:00 in the morning.
They determined that the man was 86 years old and had died from a heart attack around 5:00 p.m. that evening. His body had been sitting in the theater for seven hours before anyone noticed. They carried him out on a stretcher with a sheet covering his body. Some people said he was "stiff all over" and that you could see his penis sticking straight up through the sheet. I thought it must have been a strange sight to see a body being removed from a sex store/adult theater/peep show. I guess a lot of people would like to "go" in this manner if given the choice. I was impressed that an 86 year old man was still enjoying himself.
Things gradually returned to normal after a while . . . but only for a while. Strange things began happening. One evening, shortly after midnight, the janitor was doing his usual rounds. He was walking down the hallway where the video booths are and started to feel the hair stand up on his arm and neck. He thought the air conditioner must have turned on and made him chilly. He turned the corner to see a gray haze/mist floating near the door to the theater. He stood there for a moment not knowing what to make of it and quickly went to find someone. He found the other guy on duty, but of course by that time, it was long gone. The janitor has claimed to have seen this image several times since then. The mist seems to only appear near the entrance to the theater and girls' dressing room. Although . . . it was once seen going down the back staircase that leads to the store below.
The girls also have plenty of stories to tell. These events usually happen when the girls are working alone at night. Normally, there are at least two girls working per shift, but once in a while, someone calls in sick or just doesn't show up so you end up on your own. One girl told me that she was working alone one night and something really strange happened. She was sitting in her booth facing forward towards the hallway. All of a sudden she saw a reflection in the glass of someone walking behind her towards the stage. She thought it was strange that she didn't hear anyone come into the dressing room, but she really wasn't paying attention and was playing music kind of loud. She waited for someone to start talking to her. The guys up front come back to the dressing room periodically to smoke, use the microwave, or to get food out of the refrigerator. Once in a while, dancers drop by to say "hi," or to get something out of their locker. When she didn't hear anyone, she jumped out of her booth to see what the person was doing. She walked up the stairs to the stage where the person should be . . . and no one was there. She checked the other booths and they were empty. She ran to the bathroom and no one was there, either. She checked the other booths and they were empty. She ran to the bathroom and no one was there, either. She soon realized that no one was in the dressing room and there was no explanation as to what just happened. It was after midnight and things were slow. She decided to go home early as she was pretty freaked out.
I work with another dancer, Skye, who had an interesting story. She told me that she was also working alone one evening and was getting into her booth. All of a sudden, she felt someone grab her ass . . . I mean really grab it. She yelled, "hey" and whipped around to see who the fuck was messing with her. She was surprised and unnerved when she realized no one was there. She too, did a thorough search of the dressing room, but found nothing. She told me that this has happened to her on a couple of different occassions. It always happens at night when she is working alone and seems to only happen when she's wearing full bottom white panties. I guess there are a couple of other girls who claim to have had their asses grabbed as well. They claim to have been wearing the same type of panties. Some girls have quit wearing white full bottom panties altogether when they're working alone at night to avoid such encounters.
The most common stories that I hear include . . . seeing movement out of the corner of your eyes, but when you turn to look nothing is there, hearing footsteps and thumping on the wall, and hearing someone go into your booth and pick up the phone, but no one is there when you go to look.
Everyone pretty much agrees that these strange happenings are caused by the ghost of the old man that died in the theatre as none of these events happened prior to his death. Even though these events are still eerie, we have become somewhat accustomed to them and they really do not interfere with work anymore. We just figure he's just some lonely old "dead" guy who likes to hang out with naked girls. Who could blame him?
A Seattle peep-show girl shares stories of her customers and adventures stemming from her bare-it-all behavior.
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