Story: The Night IT All Began...Edit
Whether it was intended to be a harmless prank or an overt act of vandalism, the tossing of a stolen flashlight at the Universal Palace Theater’s newly renovated movie screen set off a series of terrifying incidents that haunt the premises to this day.
It happened on the night usher Julian Browning became embroiled in an altercation with an unruly patron who had disrupted a screening of Phantom of the Opera. Following a reprimand by the usher, the patron wrestled away his flashlight and viciously threw it at the movie screen. The projectile tore through the silver fabric and clattered to the old stage floor behind it.
Outraged and furious, Browning rushed backstage and somehow became entangled in a dangling sandbag drop line rope that was leftover from the theater’s days as a legitimate opera house. Slowly struggling and strangling as he twisted in the air, he suffered an excruciatingly painful and tragically torturous death.
Even though certifiably dead and buried, the usher reportedly returns and can be seen prowling the aisles, lobby and catwalks of the Universal Palace Theater…coincidentally whenever subsequent tragedies have struck.
- The Flashlight
The dented “guide torch” flashlight that was last used by Julian Browning on the night of his tragic death. A devout film buff, the usher considered his flashlight a tangible icon that symbolized a vast knowledge of movie history and represented appropriate respect for the cinema.
- Sandbag Rope
A sandbag counterweight drop line that was found jammed in the sheave of its Billy block, thus preventing the body of Julian Browning from descending to the stage floor inches below his feet.
- Movie Poster
A Universal Palace Theater lobby poster advertising a feature presentation of the classic Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney Senior, allegedly the usher’s all-time favorite film.
The Phantom of the Opera, which is Julian Browning's favorite film, appears in the haunted house, Silver Screams and there is a part in the house that plays the infamous unmasking scene from the movie. This part actually takes place behind the screen of the movie theater where the usher died by hanging.