Haunted Oklahoma: Ritz theater in Shawnee

It was built more than 100 years ago and was the first theater in Shawnee to introduce “talkies.” (KTUL)

It was built more than 100 years ago and was the first theater in Shawnee to introduce “talkies.” The movies stopped a long time ago, but depending on who you ask there’s still plenty of chatter inside the old Ritz theater.

"A lot of us need to know that there is something that’s greater than us,” said Dee Parks.

Call them ghosts, spirits or whatever. Parks and her team, Investigating Oklahoma’s Paranormal, insist they’ve captured unusual sounds and voices all around the Ritz.

“Training the ears to listen for the little things, to listen to voices that are not familiar,” said Parks.

They’ve gotten readings from all over the Ritz, from the stage to the theater seats.

But who could it be?

Possibly Leo Montgomery, a beloved man who ran the projector at the Ritz for more than 50 years.

“He passed away here in the building in the projectionist room,” said Parks.

Parks, both a psychic and a medium, has spent years navigating the paranormal world. She said she’s been kicked, scratched, shoved and had wayward spirits try to follow her home.

“It kind of feels like a little bit of dread,” said Parks. “It doesn’t feel good, especially if it’s a negative entity.”

These experts tell Channel 8 Shawnee is a major source of paranormal activity.

Why? The history, the rail road tracks and possibly the Ritz.

“He continued doing the projectionist forever, he only planned to be here a for a year,” said Parks.

It could be a just a series of coincidences or the product of over active imaginations.

But maybe, just maybe, this old theater has a life of its own where the show goes on forever. Where the people who loved this place have never left.

Happy Halloween.

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