Location: 104 N. St. Mary's Street, San Antonio, TX 78205
Hours: Check Showtimes (www.theaztectheater.com)
Paranormal Activity: High. EVP (electronic voice phenomenon), Strange Noises, Shadow Figures, Full Body Apparitions
Built just before The Great Depression in 1926, the Aztec Theater cost $1.75 million. It was built by Robert Bertrum Kelly and H.C. Woods. The Aztec was part of the Theater District in Downtown San Antonio. One of three, to include the Majestic and Empire just a block away. Early citizens of San Antonio would go to the theaters to watch Vaudeville shows, glamorous people on the stage and screen. In the late 20s and 30s, silent films were played at the Aztec, and later, in the late 20s, “Talkies” took their place.
Walking into the Aztec Theater, you feel as though you are walking into an exotic place in a different time. The chandelier as you walk in was erected in 1929. A breathtaking piece, hanging at the lobby entrance. It is two stories tall and 12 feet wide, the largest of it’s kind at that time. In the lobby entrance, the theater boasted an “ancient Aztec sacrificial stone”. Patrons were taken to another land and time. (This stone turned out to be a replica and eventually ended up in a Mexican restaurant somewhere in downtown San Antonio.)
In the late 1940s and 50s WWII had ended. Many families would go to the theater as a favorite past time. Newsreels would play the week’s news before the show. The first movie “Midnight Premiere” was held at The Aztec in 1951 as the movie Showboat was released.
The Aztec thrived as a theater well into the 60s. In the 1970s, as families moved further out of the downtown area, and into the suburbs, the theater fell on hard economic times. The theater renovated to have a triplex, three movie screens, to draw in more customers - but did not flourish and closed its doors in 1984.
Through downtown revitalization projects the city with the help of the San Antonio Conservation Society saved the building in the 90’s, and later it was refurbished to become San Antonio Rose Live. The theater, under its new name, lasted until 2013. The theater was opened again as The Aztec Theater in February of 2014, with a musical concert by Eddie Money. Since then, the theater hosts performing art events and talent weekly.
After the latest incarnation of the theater, the new owners/operators noted many weird happenings in the building. Footsteps, and voices when no one else was there, shadows sitting in the top rows of the seats. One employee walked near the backstage green room and encountered a tall man standing there. They’ve affectionately dubbed the ghost they’ve experienced as, “Spooks”. While they’ve come to term with the hauntings they are also plagued with questions as to who could be haunting the theater.
Throughout our research, the Aztec theater had no known fatalities. Two bombings occurred in the 1930s, burning six patrons. A homemade bomb was thrown from the balcony into the audience. The suspect was never found. This was part of a series of bombings in the downtown theaters during that era. A stabbing occurred the next decade. The victim, survived. An attack on a young girl was reported in the mid 1970s, she survived as well. For a public business to celebrating its 90 year anniversary, what incredible energy must be left in its walls.
1. Disembodied Voice
1. “What Year Is It?”
4. I’ll Kill You
5. Disembodied Deep Laughter
9. Disembodied Male Voice
After the Haunt