News Updates : Cinema Ghost Was My Dad
Posted by babafette on 11/09/2003 News by the same author

A little light has been shed on the identity of a friendly apparition named Fred who is rumoured to haunt Barnstaple's cinema.

A person with important information regarding the elusive spirit called into the Journal offices to tell an intriguing tale.

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Raymond Baglow said: "My father Reginald died after falling from scaffolding in the cinema - so the ghost story could be true." Raymond read our story about David Denham who encountered "Fred" while working as the cinema's projectionist.

Employees past and present have commented on seeing the ghost which they believe has haunted the magnificent building since its construction in 1931.

Raymond, 73, said: "I found it quite a funny tale. I don't believe in ghosts but I suppose you wouldn't unless you had seen one yourself. "I never knew my father because I was only about 12 months old when the accident happened but my mother Alice told me about him."

On July 16, 1931 the old North Devon Herald reported the tragic event which happened on July 11. The paper said labourer Reginald "fell from scaffolding a distance of 25ft" and sustained a fracture of the base of the skull and other injuries.

He was admitted to North Devon Infirmary in a critical condition but sadly, the 29-year-old Army reservist never recovered from his injuries.

A week later, and following the inquest, the Herald said it was "a melancholy fact" the accident happened during the dismantling of the scaffolding. The inquest heard that Reginald, who was assisting foreman James Jones in dismantling the equipment, was instructed to "loosen the staging connected with the balcony."

Although the foreman did not see what Reginald had done, it was thought he "missed his footing" before falling. He "struck a chair" in the auditorium.

The inquest heard Reginald was immediately taken to the North Devon Infirmary - at that time the main hospital in Barnstaple - but died a week later.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and Reginald was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Barnstaple, with Alice who died in 1956.

But it seems Reginald's spirit has wandered around the building, now known as the Central Cinema, since it opened - and the name "Fred" can be consigned to history.

Raymond added: "I am sure people in Barnstaple remember the accident. I wanted to tell young people as well."

• Story taken from the North Devon Journal News, 4 September 2003.

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