Historic Gallatin silent theater believed to be haunted by former owner

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GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – In the heart of the historic downtown square in Gallatin, you can feel the pulse of The Palace Theater.

The theater thrived from 1913 until 1977 and is believed to be the oldest silent movie theater still standing in its original location in the state of Tennessee.

Bill Roth purchased the property for his daughter decades ago, but she passed away before it opened. Today, Mr. Roth’s spirit is believed to be among those that haunt The Palace.

News 2 tagged along with the Tennessee Wraith Chasers (TWC), a group of paranormal investigators, who brought their ghost hunting gear and captured some chilling material for our cameras.

“I think Mr. Roth is here because he did purchase this place for his daughter, he didn’t want to see the show end, you know he wants the movie to go on,” TWC investigator Steven “Doogie” McDougal told News 2.

The ghost hunters have documented a number of unexplained audio and video anomalies at the palace theater.

“A lot of the EVPs that we’ve caught are right here in this auditorium and it seems to go from the auditorium to up here to the projector room,” he explained.

The wraith chasers shared audio where they ask Mr. Roth his favorite actor and you can hear a response of what sounds like “Clark Gable.”

A video they captured in the theatre shows a flashlight turning off on demand.

While manipulating the electrical currents going through the flashlight blew the mind of Doogie, he claims to have also witnessed one of the most bizarre interactions in the theater as he watched the walls warp.

“We heard a noise and then it’s almost like the wall were these diamonds – are just kind of warped out and went back in. It was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said.

While the guys are known for their hunts, capturing unexplained activities for their TV show, News 2’s cameras also captured some eerie interaction first hand, setting off the EMF, or electromagnetic frequency meter.

While we may never know who or what haunts the theater, the wraith chasers say they have no doubt that something is there.

“There’s definitely a moving energy here, rather it’s Roth, something we don’t understand, it’s definitely here.”

The Tennessee Wraith Chasers are based out of Gallatin and after three seasons of “Ghost Asylum,” the team began production in August on a new series called “Haunted Towns” that airs on Destination America.

The Palace Theater is now owned by Greater Gallatin, a non-profit organization, and serves as an event venue that shows occasional classic movies, hosts concerts, seminars and a wide variety of theatrical performances.

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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.