Is Fowler Theatre Haunted?

Fowler Theatre

This restored Art Deco movie theater is reportedly haunted by specters of former owners and patrons

Ghost Stories of
Fowler Theatre

  • The figure of the first owner has been seen
  • Cold spots have been encountered
  • People report being touched and having their hair pulled
  • Apparitions are frequently seen in the theater area
  • Disembodied voices are commonly heard in the building
  • Motion sensors have been triggered in empty spaces
  • The faucets in the men’s bathroom have been turned on by unseen hands

Fowler Theatre’s Cinematic History

Placed in the midst of an expansive wind farm, Fowler, Indiana is a historic town that is no stranger to progress. And no building in town encapsulates that spirit more than the Fowler Theatre.

The 80+ year old Art Deco movie house has seen good times and bad, but it has flourished in recent years with renovations and updates.

And some say the movie house’s new life has stirred up old ghosts throughout the building.

Whether it’s specters in the seats or phantoms in the bathrooms, Fowler Theatre has quickly become known as the most haunted spot in town.

Timeline of Fowler Theatre's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Fowler Theatre through the years

Indianas Fowler theater is rumored to be incredibly haunted, enough that they offer paranormal investigations by request


First built in 1940, Fowler Theatre was the dream of an immigrant and former theater worker, Dick Vlastos. Previously, Vlastos spent years working next door to his future theater, at the Dreamland Theatre. The experience left Dick with a love for movies, and he resolved to open his own theater.

That dream came true on March 1, 1940, when he opened Fowler Theatre right beside the Dreamland. Vlastos’ selection for his theater’s first film was ‘His Girl Friday.’

The fowler glows against the night


Vlastos ran the Fowler for nine years, until he left the Midwest for a life in California in 1949. After that, the theater spent some years owned by a Chicago firm before coming under the ownership of James Griffis, who owned the Dreamland next door.

He soon closed the older Dreamland venue, leaving the Fowler as Griffis’ main focus throughout the 1950s. But at the dawn of the 1960s, more change would be coming to the Fowler Theatre.

Fully restored, the Fowler Theater is on of the best examples of an art deco movie theater in the country


In 1962, Griffis died, and the Fowler’s future became uncertain. It was soon bought by local businessman Emmett Guthridge. Guthridge and his family would end up operating the theater for the next three decades. In the mid-1990s, the Fowler came under the ownership of an Illinois company.

The new owners weren’t sure what to do with the aged, small town theater. By the end of the decade, they considered just closing it down. By 2001, closure seemed all but certain.

Art deco lights show down on the ghost stories people tell about this gorgeous theater in indiana


But that same year a group of locals, the Prairie Preservation Guild, bought the Fowler intent on restoring it. For many years after, the theater operated sporadically as a weekend movie house. All the while, restoration work developed and expanded.

A grand re-opening took place in 2015, and the Fowler continues to be a living and evolving piece of history to this day. But all that restoration may have conjured up some specters from the past.

The original owner of the theater is rumored to still sit in his favorite seat in the house - even after his death.

Is Fowler Theatre Haunted?

One of the theater’s most well-known ghosts is said to be that of Dick Vlastos, the original owner. Vlastos had a particular set of favorite seats when he and his wife went to Fowler Theatre.

Now, it is said he still haunts that area of the theater. Visitors and workers alike have reported his figure appearing in and around his favorite seats. Cold spots have also been reported around that area.

Numerous people have reported seeing shadow figures moving throughout the small theater

Phantoms of the Movie Theater

The area of Dick Vlastos’ old seats isn’t the only hot spot in the main theater. In a back row, two ghostly women have been seen sipping tea. In the aisles, the apparition of a woman carrying a broom has been spotted.

A little boy’s ghost has also reportedly been encountered in the Fowler Theatre’s expansive auditorium. But though it takes up much of the building’s space, the theater itself isn’t the only place you might spot ghosts.

The Fowler’s Haunted Bathrooms

The Fowler Theatre’s bathrooms are also said to be haunted. Shadow figures have been seen darting from the lobby into the restrooms, and vice versa. Additionally, the men’s room faucets have reportedly been turned on and off by unseen forces in the theater.

All throughout the theater, other types of activity are common as well. People report being touched and having their hair tugged in certain areas. Disembodied voices are said to be heard in about every room of the theater.

Even backstage behind the movie screen is noted to be haunted, with strange and uneasy feelings being common back there. Visiting ghost hunters have also reported frequent ITC communication through Ovilus devices and spirit boxes.

The ornate textures of the fully restored Fowler Theater are on display everywhere you look

The Paranormal Projection Booth

Strange things have been reported upstairs as well. In the theater’s projection booth, not much can steal attention away from the large and loud projection system, but Fowler’s phantoms apparently like to try.

Motion detectors and REM pods frequently go off in the booth. Additionally, a window in the projection booth has had small finger and hand prints appear on it from the outside without explanation.

Do Specters of Tragedy
Haunt The Theater?

While it is difficult to trace the source of all of the Fowler Theatre’s claims, there are more ghost stories than just that Dick Vlastos.

One of the theater’s other hauntings is said to come from a local train collision that occurred in 1907, long before the theater was built. The lot was a hotel then, and apparently was near enough to the tragedy for it to have left a permanent mark on the land.

Most movie going patrons would never know it, but the Fowler Theater

Another suggested source of activity is Danny Killman, a former manager who committed suicide in the 1960s. Ghost hunters who have visited the theater in recent years have claimed to capture voice recordings and other evidence pointing towards great trauma lingering around the area.

Whether that is lingering alongside Danny Killman, spirits of the train accident, or both, is not known.

Hunt For Ghosts at Fowler Theatre

Though the Fowler Theatre continues to grow in popularity again as a local movie theater, it has also become Fowler’s flagship haunted place.

As community members pack the seats for matinees and evening showings of new releases, the late nights of Fowler Theatre stay alive with ghosts and ghost hunters.

The small town of Fowler Indiana hosts the haunted Fowler Theater

Interested ghost hunters can book investigations at the theater through My Haunted Fowler, an organization that also operates ghost hunts of the nearby Old Benton County Jail. Impassioned paranormal investigators can even investigate both in one night.

Through the work of the theater and My Haunted Fowler, the paranormal has become a supportive pillar for the theater’s future. And for the ghost of old Dick Vlastos, that might be all the motivation he needs to keep appearing in his favorite seat.