The building which houses the Old Regent Theater has been transformed and renewed throughout the years to meet the needs of the community. It was originally built to be a horse livery stable back in the late 1800s. In 1902, the building was transformed into a Buick garage. In 1919, the building became a vaudeville theater and a silent movie house as well. Inspired by the World's Fair, the theater was given a face-lift in the 1930s, and redone in the Art Deco style and reopened mainly as a film theater. One source reports that because of a "series of failed operational attempts," this theater was abandoned during the 1980s, a crummy shell of what it once was during its heyday. It was slated for demolition in 1990 however a non-profit organization, The Old Regent Theater Company saved and restored it. The theater had its reopening in 1996. Then in 1997, a violent rain storm caved in the roof, ruining the inside of the theater. The City of Allegan paid off the remaining mortgage of $18,000 and for a second time the theater was restored to its former glory.
Located at 211 Trowbridge Street, Allegan, Michigan 49010 269-673-2737
The entity or entities which call The Old Regent Theater home could have come from anytime during its history, which would cover the livery stable period, the Buick garage period, vaudeville theater or other times. They could be the result of unfortunate deaths or tragic stories connected to this building. Actors who don't want to get off the stage just yet, Movie enthusiasts who found solace and peace here, or distraught business owners who lost their shirts in the failed enterprises which tried to make a living in this building in more recent years. Perhaps they were activated during the 1990 restoration of the Old Regent Theater.
Cold spots have noticed and recorded and presences have been sensed by the living. An investigator with the West Michigan Ghost Hunter's Society was in the theater lobby when the touch of a cold hand of an unseen presence was felt. A shadowy apparition has been seen in the projection room from time to time.
The Ghost Research Society investigated The Regent Theater March 20, 2010 and the team members included just Jim Graczyk, and Dale Kaczmarek. We started the initial walkthrough to get some baselines readings of the basement, lobby area, projection room, balcony, main theater, stage area, and the back rooms before members of the Michigan Paranormal Encounters gathered everyone in the main auditorium for a history of the theater, the general layout and reports of the ghosts and where they have been reported. After that we began our investigation.
I was paired up with Dale the entire night of this investigation. I did feel a little light headed in the projector room. This we believe was caused by all the high power electrical equipment in the room. Dale and I explored the room behind the stage, which is possibly called the ventilation room. I was with Dale when we got readings as high as in the 190's with the EMF Meter. I also did encounter feeling a little light headed in that room to and I felt a little throbbing sensation in my head. We believe being exposed to the extremely high EMF in the room for a period of time. I didn't encounter anything else paranormal. The Video Ovilus was experiencing some technical difficulties so I really was not able to use it properly. I did not use the EM pump since the issue with the Video Ovilus. I took numerous pictures with the GRS Cam which Dale would review at a later time. My digital camera did not capture anything paranormal that could not be explained.
I did not get a full understanding on the alleged haunting of the location by our host. My walk through did not find anything else to report. This is truly a nice old historic theatre and would be nice to go back investigate at a later date.
Throughout the evening various pieces of equipment were used including a full spectrum camera, TIF7000 Pyrometer, Melmeter, Video Ovilus, Sony Nightshot Camera, Digital Camera, EM Pumps, and Digital Trap Camera. Extremely high EMF was experience in the ventilation room as high as 190 on the Melmeter! If people have been experiencing ghostly activity or feelings of dread in this area, it's no wonder why as extremely high EMF fields can cause everything from hallucinations, to skin irritations and nausea. Both Jim and I got throbbing sensations while in that room for only a few minutes.
Cold spots were detected in the basement hole and coming up the basement stairs which could be attributed to cracks in the foundation or poor insulation, however the basement was the hottest area of the theater.
EMF spikes were detected with the Melmeter at the entrance to far right entrance door to the theater, a 2.3 was picked up from no known source when the meter was stationary and a similar spike of 2.1 was detected in a back storage room when the device was place on a ladder rung. It quickly faded away and was not detected again.
Nothing remarkable was captured on full spectrum video or pictures, digital trap camera had a few bright white objects in the storage room close to the ladder which need further examination and study. No EVP was conducted as there was too much talking and laughing even though the group was only around 15 people.
Overall, an interesting site that warrants a more serious investigation with static Nightshot cameras and EVP work especially in the projection room and on stage.
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
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