Skip to comments.Walking with the Dead (Haunted Pub)
Posted on 04/26/2004 7:37:12 PM PDT by CurlyBill
Mike Chapple Meets A Ghost Hunter In Liverpool's Oldest - And Most Haunted? - Pub, Daily Post
"BEFORE I bought this pub about two years ago, I was a non believer. I don't believe in God or ghosts - when you're dead you're dead. We're just big bags of water that's all."
These are the unlikely words of Adam Franklin on a sharp, bright spring morning with the sun dappling the tables of the city centre's oldest pub, The Slaughterhouse in Fenwick Street.
A hostelry since 1723, under Adam's management it's become a thriving, vibrant boozer with olde world charm, whopping Ulster fry breakfasts and a popular comedy club down in the cellar.
Ah! the cellar. We'll come to that later.
Anyway, despite the pub's popularity, tales had reached these ears of strange visitations and a bar staff reluctant to spend time alone there.
Especially so late on at locking-up time when a wicked wind, whipping in from the Mersey Bar, is rattling the rafters.
Adam understands - he has, as they say, been there. "About three weeks after we arrived, it was two in the morning, I was standing by the bar after everyone else had gone home," said the 32-year-old ex-RAF man from Ellesmere Port.
"This bloke appeared and walked across the room right in front of me. As he walked past, he kept glaring at me intently until he disappeared.
"I can go into dark cellars on my own because I'm a cynical, pragmatic businessman who doesn't believe in these things, remember, but this had me completely spooked. I just bolted for the door went home - and didn't want to come back.
"I've seen the film - the young, good looking, dude always gets it first and I didn't want it to be me." Since then, of course, he has returned many times, as have the rest of the staff who've grown used to the shades that occasionally flick across the corner of the eye.
Martyn Jones and Brendan McAleer are two of the barmen who regularly see and hear the spooks. Like Adam, neither is keen to be on their own for lock-up.
Says Brendan: "After everyone else has gone I've been here in the bar with a pint of Guinness and you can hear the toilet doors downstairs opening and shutting, opening and shutting, and you know there's no-one down there."
Hasn't he ever gone to have a look?
Brendan delivers a look that questions the inquirer's sanity.
Figures have also been captured on the cellar's security CCTV cameras. Adam, Martyn and Brendan know that they're phantoms. Why? Because they've watched as people walked through them.
Many of the comedians have also had strange experiences.
BRENDAN Riley, along with other witnesses, saw a glowing ping-ball-sized orb of light - traditionally an indication of paranormal activity - flash past him.
Others are afraid to stay the night in the green room upstairs which female comic Janey Godley claims has two ghostly inhabitants. She is also petrified of the cellar stairs adjacent to the toilets. She claims there's something evil there.
"I think there's potentially a few dead slaughtermen down here or maybe a few restless cows," jokes Adam uneasily as we later pace the gloomy cellar bar, which possesses an undeniable edge to its atmosphere, a sort of low voltage shock that tingles the spine and shoulder blades.
Adam's aware of the popularity of UK Living TV's Most Haunted, in which flamboyant Liverpool medium Derek Acorah flounces through ghostly houses accompanied by a screamingly hyperactive Yvette Fielding and clodhopping cameramen making enough noise to, pardon the pun, raise the dead.
He's not impressed.
He is also not especially keen on any cheap publicity gimmick to pull in more punters. But he is genuinely interested in finding out what is going on.
However, when yours truly announces that he is a very reluctant volunteer to spend a night alone in the cellar he becomes genuinely concerned.
"Even if the Post was to pay me £5,000, I wouldn't spend a night down there on my own."
Stout man that he is, he strikes a deal. He'll spend the night too and promises to bring along Brendan and Martyn for support.
For my part I decide to look for expert help.
Billy Roberts is a well known Liverpool medium and claims to come from a long line of psychics. A sickly child, he spent much of his early life in Alder Hey children's hospital with a serious bronchial disease.
It was there that he first saw dead people walk and where he developed a fear of the dark.
"The darkness would act like a screen for the lights and faces I would see there," says 57-year-old Billy.
One of his earliest recollections is, as a three-year-old, the death of the old lady who lived next door to his Wavertree home.
His mum told him that she had "gone to heaven after being taken away in the box".
What he couldn't understand was why, after the funeral, she had come in through the back door to greet him - something she continued to do periodically for years afterwards.
WHEN he was about nine, he was walking home and saw a well-dressed man drop down dead in front of him.
"He then stood up from the body, walked away and disappeared," explains Billy matter of factly.
He didn't begin nurturing his gift until his 30s.
Before that he had spent much of the 1960s and early 1970s on the road with such bands as the Kruzads - who supported the likes of the Stones, Chuck Berry and The Moody Blues - acquiring a life-threatening heroin habit along the way.
Since then he has written a number of books about the paranormal and lectured about the phenomenon in colleges and universities around the world.
Billy is relating his truncated biography 48 hours later.
It's just before midnight on bleak, cold night inside the pub's eerie, dimly-lit cellar and we've been joined by Adam, Martyn,
Brendan and Billy's business partner, Joe Bielawski.
Joe claims he harbours a healthy cynicism for the histrionics of Most Haunted but admits to wearing protection all the same, a crucifix once owned by the saint, Padre Pio.
He's also carrying a "ghostometer" a hand-held detector that measures fluctuations in magnetic fields, a reliable indicator of paranormal manifestations. When a spirit comes calling, it's supposed to emit a high oscillating pitch and its dial indicator fluctuate wildly.
At the moment, it's purring quietly.
Billy doesn't need this device though. This is a visual aid purely for our benefit - being clairvoyant and clairaudient he says he can both see and hear the dead and doesn't need a machine to know that they're there.
"The voices that I hear can be very clear like a radio on inside my head," he says. "If there was something here I'd talk to it not like I'm talking to you. It will be a voice inside my head which is very specific."
So far he has heard and seen nothing - and has not been told anything of the manifestations he is expected to encounter.
Which is the way it should be. "I'm not easily led, I'm a very sceptical medium. And not all mediums are genuine and I don't like people filling my head with all kinds of s--t before I go into a place.
"I like to go in and work it out for myself. If we had a conversation on the phone beforehand, little things would be going into my mind. It can produce what's called retrospective analysis. The subconscious mind will hold on to things and bring them out later on when it's quite easy to imagine that you've felt or seen something."
Not all images are ghosts of the dead either, he maintains.
"WHEN people frequent an establishment, they impregnate these subtle atmospheres with a sort of energy that can become visual and create images so that anyone in here alone might see an old person and surmise that its a dead person's spirit when it might be the image of somebody still living."
We decide to go walkabout. On the "evil" stairs leading out, the ghostometer begins to sound uncomfortable and Billy claims he feels a presence but nothing too strong and certainly not malevolent.
We proceed through the main upstairs bar where the rain is clattering against the windows from the empty streets outside. On the first floor landing is the green room, complete with table, settee and empty beer bottle left behind by a previous comic occupant.
Again nothing really and the ghostometer remains well behaved.
It seems a good time to ask why hauntings and why, more especially, houses?
Billy says: "If you go into an old house, sometimes you can get a lovely warm feeling. That's because of the people who lived there. They impregnate the psychic structure of the house and that becomes the representation of those people.
"And it can work the other way whereby an evil or unhappy family who've lived there will influence the minds of the people who subsequently come along."
We proceed to the top floor and it's here, at the top of the stairwell, that Billy first detects something.
"The impression that I get here is that there was some kind of self destruction that somebody committed suicide. Somebody died in this area but it must have been some time ago. It was a man who hanged himself here."
The ghostometer duly goes slightly bonkers emitting a fluctuating whine like that of the dentist's drill. We head a little more quickly back downstairs where, back in the bar, it's thought that it might be a good idea if Billy went back down in the cellar, alone this time, so as not to be distracted.
Billy, for some reason, doesn't agree.
Minutes later Joe and I are perched on stools downstairs and after a brief surf with the divining rods - this area of the city apparently being awash with ley lines which convey psychic power - Billy has placed the ghostometer at the centre of the low stage at the far end of the room.
He then retreats to another stool on the far side where he sits occasionally stroking his chin apparently preoccupied in thought.
No words are spoken. The only sound is the warble of the ghostometer in mild distress.
Ten minutes later Billy springs up and walks over. "I've just been having a conversation," he says calmly and then points at the stage.
"It's a guy sitting over there. He says his name's is Walter Langton. He worked here in the 1800s. He's very rude and bad tempered and he says he wants to do me harm. I've told him he can't. He chooses to be here. He also knows that we are here and he wants us to go. But I don't feel intimidated."
Billy then says that there is another presence on the stage. It's a middle-aged woman dressed in grubby smock and bonnet. She's possibly from the 19th century and called Meg or Mary. She's unaware of us but is apparently looking for her son.
" He was crushed to death here," adds Billy simply.
Needless to say neither Joe or I have seen or heard anything - it is, unfortunately, the drawback of the medium's trade that concrete proof is hard to produce.
Nevertheless there's an unnerving feeling that we're not alone and there's relief in finding the stairwell behind the bar - and not adjacent to Walter's alleged spot at corner of the stage - to return to a curious Adam and co upstairs.
It's now 3am and, despite his recent encounter, Billy remains surprisingly magnanimous to his erstwhile opponent.
"There's a lot of paranormal here but nothing malevolent. Walter's been here so long he just lives here now so a blessing by a priest would not make any difference."
He's asked if there are any more spirits to be uncovered here.
"I'm sure there may be - but I'm not waiting around tonight to find out," he replies.
Was that a look of amused relief on his face.
If so, the feeling, rest assured, was entirely mutual.
In the 1970s, I personally confirmed some of the more mundane parts of her story. The events she described occurring in the 1950s had been reported in the local news, and although there was now an empty lot where it and a gas station once stood, the house did exist. I will call her "Irene" because that was really her name.
Irene is dead now and I have rewritten her story as a short story, almost exactly as she told it.
The Landlady's Tale
It was September, 1920. The Smith family was moving from San Francisco, where their youngest daughter Irene had lived her entire 15 years, to their new home in Sacramento, where Irene's father had his new job. The job was probationary at first so Irene's parents had rented a house instead of selling the San Francisco house and buying another in Sacramento, in case the job did not work out and they wanted to move back.
Irene's father had found a great bargain. The house was a three story Victorian complete with attic and basement located only seven blocks from the State Capitol Building. It was located on a corner lot in an upscale neighborhood of other stately Victorians. The rent was much lower than usual for the neighborhood.
Their new landlord explained to Irene's parents that he was merely the agent for the owner, his sister, who had "moved back east, because of her health" several years earlier. The owner's brother was apologetic that they could not have the entire basement for their use, but, he explained "The back storeroom of the basement is packed full of some of my sister's belongings that she hasn't sent for yet. You can have the other two basement rooms for your belongings."
The house had large, airy rooms with large windows. The first floor consisted of a large kitchen with walk-in pantry and breakfast nook, a formal dining room with oaken hutches and sideboards built-in, a living room, and a separate "sociable parlor" for entertaining important guests. The front entry led into the large staircase wrapping around a central core and was open from bottom to top, giving a clear view of all landings and stairs.
The second floor had the master suite for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the bathroom, another bedroom destined to become Mr. Smith's office and which would double as a guest room, and a small storage room. The third floor had one bedroom with a closet that Irene would share with her 22 year old adopted sister, Nita, and Nita's two and a half year old daughter. The attic was actually an unfinished space on the third floor that could be made into more bedrooms.
Nita and Irene got along very well. Although Nita had been adopted (she had literally been left on the Smith's doorstep 22 years before), she and Irene could not have been closer. Irene had been a 12 year old maid of honor when Nita had married her childhood sweetheart, just before he shipped out to Europe where he died in a foxhole, just eight months before his daughter was born.
Irene had been given the option of sleeping in the guest room with her father's desk and files but she much preferred sharing the big double bed with sister (and best friend) Nita. Nita's little girl would sleep in a crib in the room with them.
The five members of the Smith family all had their jobs in the move... Mrs. Smith directing the workmen moving the large furniture from the horse drawn drayage cart to the house, Mr. Smith hanging family pictures, Irene and Nita unpacking the fine china and putting it into the built in hutches in the dining room and "The baby", which is how they always referred to Nita's daughter, was heavily involved in everything, getting in the way, skipping, laughing. It was a hectic but homey scene.
The trouble started that very first day. The family was absorbed in the mundane tasks of moving in. The baby was left to her own resources and was skipping around the house, watching this, watching that, asking questions and generally having loads of fun.
She skipped past her mother and aunt and went by herself into the kitchen. She had not been in there very long when she started screaming... loudly and piercingly.
Nita dropped one of her mother's heirloom plates, shattering it on the hardwood floor, and dashed into the kitchen with Irene close on her heels.
The baby was standing, petrified, screaming, and shaking her head from side to side. Nita dropped to her knees as she hugged her daughter to her, trying to comfort her. The baby was inconsolable.
For over an hour Nita carried her and rocked her in her arms before the child quieted and finally fell asleep. The baby never could tell them what caused her fear and even in later years, she would waken screaming in the night and could only vaguely describe a room in her dreams that Nita and the other could recognize as the kitchen. The child would never again walk into the kitchen alone as long as they lived there... which would not be that long.
Strangely, none of the other events that occurred in that house would ever bother her.
That night an exhausted but satisfied Smith family retired for the night. They had gone out to dinner because the kitchen had not been completed enough to cook in. Nita carried the sleeping baby up to the third floor and put her in her crib. She and Irene took turns taking baths and watching the sleeping child. It was about 10:00PM when the lights were turned out after all good nights had been said.
The bedroom Irene and Nita shared with the baby was a square. The headboard of their big double bed shared the wall with the door to the landing. The baby's crib was on the inside wall next to the landing door and the wall opposite the bed had two large dormer style windows. The wall to the right of the bed had a closet that was large enough to hold a couple of dressers and some trunks. The door to the closet was right next to the head of the bed and next to it, closer to the windows was a large dresser with a basin and pitcher.
Both girls were very tired after a day of hard labor and fell quickly asleep. Several hours later, Irene awoke with a feeling that someone was watching her. She got up and went to check the baby who was fast asleep. As she turned around she was surprised to see that Nita, who was a deeper sleeper than she, was also awake.
"I'm sorry I woke you... I tried to be quiet," Irene apologized, "I know how tired you must be."
"You didn't wake me," Nita answered, "I woke just before you got up. Were you looking at me? I felt someone was was watching me."
"Nita! That was what woke me. I thought the baby was awake," said Irene, as she climbed back into bed and pulled the covers up.
The girls lay there and chatted about the events of the day and what lay ahead in Sacramento. Irene and Nita talked girl talk for about fifteen minutes, when without warning...
Knock! Knock! Knock!
The sound came from the closet door on the right. Both girls turned, startled, toward the closet.
The last knock had just knocked when the closet door swung open! The girls stared. Just as suddenly...
Knock! Knock! Knock!
... and the door swung closed!
Both girls jumped out of bed, screaming. Nita rushed over and picked up the baby and both ran out yelling for their parents.
"DADDY! There's someone in the house! Help!"
Mr. Smith came dashing out of the second floor master suite in his nightshirt with his big revolver and ran up the stairs, meeting the panicked girls on the way down. Both pointed up stairs, turned and fled to Mrs. Smith, who pulled them into her bedroom and shut the door.
Mr. Smith continued up the stairs to find an empty room and closet. He searched the attic, checked the windows, turned on all the lights and searched every room, checked every window, and even took a light down and searched the basement. Nothing.
"There's nobody here except us" he called out as he approached the master bedroom.
"No, Daddy, there was someone in our room... in the closet!" Nita cried.
"Look, I've searched the entire house. Everything is normal and there is no one here. It was probably the wind." Mr. Smith stated.
Mrs. Smith offered her opinion. "Its a new house for you. You're not used to it, so it's strange. You let your imaginations run away with you. You probably had a nightmare."
"BOTH of us? The same dream?" asked Nita. "It was not a dream."
"Nita, it was a dream." When Momma made up her mind, it was made up and NOTHING could change it. "Go back to bed. We have more work in the morning. Go to sleep."
"I'm going to turn off the lights and go back to sleep. You girls do the same." When Mrs. Smith made up her mind, Mr. Smith's mind was also made up. He clomped off to shut off the lights.
Irene noticed that he took the gun with him, though.
Both girls trudged back upstairs. "It's only the wind." Nita said, trying to convince herself.
Nita put the still sleeping baby between them on the bed and both got out their Rosaries and started praying. Irene was certain she would not sleep a wink for the rest of the night. She was wrong. Both of the girls fell asleep before they could complete their prayers and slept soundly.
At breakfast, 'Topic A' would have been the events of the previous night but Mrs. Smith's mind was made up and she would brook no disagreement: "It was a dream."
"It was the wind," Mr. Smith said, under his breath.
The second night in the house, the girls went to sleep having talked it out between themselves and decided it HAD to have been a dream. Sleep came quickly because it had been another full day of settling in.
Both girls awakened with the same feeling... someone was watching them. Irene grabbed her Rosary and just held it. A few minutes after they awakened... Knock! Knock! Knock! ...and the closet door swung open! And then... Knock! Knock! Knock! ... the door swung closed!
Again, two screaming girls grabbed the baby and dashed out the door, awakening their parents. Mr. Smith again, searched the house, and again found nothing.
"It's the wind!" said Mr. Smith.
"It's only a dream!" said Mrs. Smith.
"Go back to bed," they both ordered.
The next night was a repeat of the previous nights. By the fourth night, Mr. Smith refused to get up a search. Mrs. Smith had decided that maybe the girls were doing this deliberately because they didn't like Sacramento and wanted to return to San Francisco. On the fifth night she had had enough.
"If you girls disturb my sleep one more time, you will NOT like the consequences. We are staying."
"Momma," cried Irene, frustrated, "we aren't making this up. It really happens."
"Mother..." Nita tried to enter the discussion.
"NO MORE! We're staying... get used to it. I don't want to hear anything more about it."
Get used to it they did. In fact, it became a normal thing for them.
Nita bought a clock and they found they always awoke within a few minutes of 1:35AM and the door would knock three times, open, knock three times and close at 1:43AM. It was like clockwork. It got to be routine.
They discussed it with everyone except Mrs. Smith. She would not allow the subject to be brought up at all. Mr. Smith was certain it was a phenomenon of weather... the wind. Others we sure the girls were making it up or joking. Dreaming was another popular theory.
In late May of 1921, a friend of their father's came to visit one weekend from Stockton and was to be "put up" in the guest room/office. In after dinner conversation, while Mrs. Smith was finishing in the kitchen, the subject of the closet door was brought up. The visitor did not believe them.
"I don't believe in stuff like that. It ain't possible."
The girls assured him it happened every night.
"Tell you what. you gals take the guest room. I'll sleep in your room tonight... and I'll prove you wrong."
The girls agreed, even though Mrs. Smith would object to changes in sleeping arrangements (if she knew about it), especially for this purpose, and the guest room only had a single bed. The two sneaked downstairs with the baby after Mr. and Mrs. Smith had gone to bed and the guest went up to their room.
The girls slept through the night for the first time since moving in to the house. The next morning, they sneaked back up to awaken their guest so they could exchange rooms again and, more importantly, learn what he experienced.
On the floor of the landing, they found his hat. The door to their room was wide open.
He was gone! His overnight bag, and all, gone.
The bedspread was strewn across the floor toward the landing door and the bed was pushed at an angle away from the landing door. His truck was gone from the street in front of the house.
Irene's father was perplexed. His friend never answered their father's letters and he never came back to the house.
Years later, Irene met him again and asked him what happened. Obviously distressed, he refused to tell her and told her never to ask him again. He then got up and walked out.
Several months passed. Irene and Nita were completely used to the phenomena. It was even a bit boring. Knock, knock, knock, door open; knock, knock, knock, door closed. Ho Hum. However, they NEVER slept through it and the baby always did.
Mrs. Smith would not hear anything about it and Mr. Smith ignored it.
Everything changed on the night of June 7, 1921.
That night, about 1:45AM, Mr. Smith had a call of nature and got up to go to the bathroom.
As he left the master bedroom, he glanced up the stairs and caught a glimpse of a man standing on the landing. He darted back into his room and grabbed his revolver and charged out, yelling at the top of his lungs. The girls, still awake from the closet door event of the evening came out to see their father dashing around the house opening doors and turning on lights looking for a burglar.
He found nothing.
Mrs. Smith decided that Mr. Smith had been sleep walking and dreamed the whole thing.
"I did not dream it... I saw a man." Mr. Smith insisted.
"You dreamed it." Mrs. Smith insisted... and a glorious argument developed.
The girls went back to bed.
The night of June 8, 1921. Mr. Smith cleaned and oiled his revolver before going to bed... and he loaded his shotgun for the first time. Mrs. Smith was not speaking with him.
His theory was that someone, perhaps a previous tenant, had free entry to the house and he was going to catch him.
Over Mrs. Smith's objections, Mr. Smith left the door to their bedroom open and he propped his shotgun next to it. The revolver was on the nightstand.
The girls went to bed.
At 1:33AM both of them awoke, feeling they were being watched again.
Ten minutes later the closet door SLAMMED open without knocking! A bloodcurdling scream, the most terrifying sound Irene had ever heard, echoed out of the closet! SOMETHING DARK ran out of the closet, around the bed, opened the door to the landing and slammed it behind it!
Both girls were so frozen in fright they could not move to go check on the baby!
Mr. and Mrs. Smith, awakened with a start, hearing a horrible scream coming from upstairs. Mr. Smith jumped out of bed and grabbed the revolver. As he dashed out the bedroom door he hit the light switch for the landing. To his shock, he saw a man, covered in blood, carrying a knife, running down the stairs from the third floor landing!
With visions of his daughters lying dead in their bed, he raised his revolver and took aim.
The man disappeared! He vanished in plain site with nowhere to go. Gone as if he had never been there!
Mrs. Smith was climbing out of bed to find out what the commotion was all about.
Mr. Smith dashed up the stairs and slammed open the girls bedroom to find two very frightened girls frantically saying their Rosaries and clutching the beads. The baby was still sound asleep in her crib.
Nobody went back to bed that night.
Mr. Smith woke a neighbor who owned a phone and the police were called. They found nothing and chalked it up to a prowler that Mr. Smith had scared off.
Mrs. Smith latched onto that explanation and adopted it as her own. She spent the night demanding that Mr. Smith call a locksmith to replace all the locks on the house as soon as possible in the morning. Mrs. Smith was adamant... a prowler was NO reason to move out. The police would catch him and everything would go back to normal. The girls' story was dismissed as just another nightmare.
Mr. Smith moved the desk out of his office and moved the girls furniture and clothing in. They would never sleep or go into the room on the third floor again.
Mrs. Smith refused to even consider moving. She thought moving the girls into the office was a bunch of nonsense, but if Mr. Smith didn't mind having his office on the third floor, alright.
Two days later, Mrs. Smith came in from a day of shopping with some friends and lay down on the sofa in the living room. As she lay there, she looked over toward the kitchen.
Remember the kitchen?
"Who is that man in the kitchen," Mrs. Smith asked Irene.
"Momma, there is no one there," Irene replied, looking toward the kitchen.
"Why there certainly IS... I can see him plain as day..." Suddenly, Mrs. Smith screamed! "Oh, MY GOD! I can see right through him!"
The Smith family left the house within an hour, never to return. They stayed in a downtown hotel for three weeks while Mr. Smith found and bought a house. Movers packed and removed their belongings from the house Mrs. Smith refused to ever return to.
Many years passed. Irene grew up, married a fairly wealthy man with interests in Real Estate and she, herself, became a Real Estate agent and later a property developer. Her husband, became enamored of his secretary, and divorced Irene (but did not get a Catholic annulment). Over the years, Irene kept an eye on that house and noted a strange pattern.
No one ever lived in the house for more than about 10 months.
Almost everyone who lived there moved out within a week of June 8th. All were gone by the end of June. Often it went unrented for long periods of time.
In the late-1930s, the brother of the owner cleaned out his bank accounts and moved out of town, abandoning the properties in his charge. No one knew where he went and he was never heard from again.
The neighborhood fell into disrepair as the city grew eastward and it soon became an area of broken down houses. Many of the once stately Victorian homes were converted to low-income apartments and the neighborhood drifted into a slum. The house stood empty for years.
Property taxes went unpaid.
One day in the early fifties, Irene, now a very wealthy woman who owned several hundred homes in Sacramento, noticed that a tax lien auction for the property was listed in the paper. Out of curiosity, with no interest at all in buying the property, she attended the sale.
The eventual winning bidder was a property developer friend who was also a competitor of Irene's. She approached him.
"What are you planning to do with this house?" Irene asked.
"The location is ideal," he said, "for a motel I am planning to build. There is a lot of traffic on this corner."
"I don't think I would build a hotel on this site," said Irene. "I don't think it would work. it's not a good idea. Not on that site."
"Why not?" asked her friend.
"Let me buy you a cup of coffee and I will tell you a story about that house. I know a lot about its history."
They went to a cafe down the block and she related her tale. He was not impressed... except with her chutzpah.
"What are you trying to pull... if you wanted this property why didn't you bid on it?"
Irene insisted she had no interest in the property but felt that he should know about its history. HE, on the other hand, was convinced she had some business plot going.
"I don't believe in that junk... and I'm surprised a hardheaded business woman like yourself would even spout such malarkey. I am going to build my motel." He left in a huff.
Several months later he called Irene at her office. "Can you meet me?" her friend said, "Something has come up. Oh, my god, has it come up!"
Irene agreed to meet him for lunch.
They met at the Senator Hotel dining room and Irene's friend was obviously agitated.
"My men started demolition of that house you were wanting," he said.
"I DIDN'T want it..." Irene interrupted.
But he just continued. "Irene, there were TWO BODIES in the basement wall!!!"
"Two skeletons actually. It'll be in the papers tomorrow. I told the police about your interest in the house. I think they want to talk to you."
The police never did talk to Irene as they had a confession in hand.
Along with the bodies, the police found a box containing a .45 Colt Single Action and a worm-eaten, handwritten confession from the killer. As the story was finally related, the owner of the house had lived in the house with her younger brother in the early part of the 20th century.
The writer of the confession wrote how, on the night of June 8, 1902, a little after 1:30AM, he was awakened by a terrible scream from his sister's upstairs bedroom. He had gotten out of bed, taken his old army revolver out of the nightstand and ran out onto the landing where he saw a man with a knife, covered in blood, running down the stairs from the third floor. He shot and killed the man on the stairs.
Running up the stairs to his sister's bedroom, he found her naked, brutally stabbed body in the closet next to her bed. Covering her body with the bedspread, he went down to put on some pants to go get help.
As he dressed, he wrote, he thought about his future. His sister owned everything and HE was not included in her will. She was leaving everything to charity.
Instead of getting help, he carried both bodies to the basement and buried them in the wall. He moved a lot of furniture in front of the wall.
He announced to the neighbors and friends that his sister was not well and had gone back east to live with a nonexistent sister. He then took over managing her properties for his own benefit.
When he decided he couldn't keep it up anymore, he decided to leave... but his conscience made him leave the confession which, along with the gun, was placed behind the same wall where the bodies were buried. He wanted people to know what happened, and that he really didn't do anything wrong.
Thus ends The Landlady's Tale.
Except for the ghostly story Irene related, this was all duly reported in the early fifties in the local newspapers as a old crime that solved itself.
The medical examiners office determined the skeletons were those of a young man and a middle aged woman.
The brother, if he was still alive, was never found.
The motel was never built... instead a gas station was erected on the site. It was never successful for very long.
When I researched this story in the mid to late 1970s, after Irene's death, the lot was empty, a home for derelicts sleeping in bushes.
I again repeat that Irene swore this all happened as she told me it did. I recall seeing the goosebumps that rose on her arms as she told the story. I get goosebumps when I retell it even today.
Mr. Smith died in the 1930s but Mrs. Smith was still alive in the late fifties and I knew her. She was still a no-nonsense type. After Mr. Smith's death, she had gone back to work... as a store detective for a large department store chain.
My mother asked her once about the events related here and she confirmed that it happened as Irene told it. She then said she didn't want to talk about it ever again... and excused herself to go to evening mass.
What do you all think?
Yea, but what's a ghost gonna do? "Boo" you to death?
The owner's wife was spooked at closing time and will not talk about it with anyone other than her husband.
Sorry Curly, that was MY error. I had the story put together and forgot the part about the visitor. I stuck it in where it went, and forgot about the "several month's pass" after it. Thanks for catching it.
My parents had divorced when I was around 5 or 6. My mother got custody of us kids and my father moved to another state. As a result, we fell out of touch with my fathers side of the family and my contacts with my father was few and far between. When my grandmother died, I did not learn about it until two years after the fact when I went with my father to my grandfathers home to stay over for the weekend. I was about 13 or 14 years old at the time. My grandfathers house was a two family apartment house in the city. My grandmother and grandfather lived their entire married life in the apartment on the top and usually rented out the apartment on the bottom.
My grandparents apartment was shaped like a capital "i" The two bedrooms are back to back of each other in the back of the apartment (the top of the "i") the long hallway in the middle of the "i" Halfway down the hallway is the entrance to the only bathroom. The bottom of the "i" is the eat in kitchen and the living room (back to back just like the bedrooms). The living room and kitchen is seperated by a wall with two open doorways (no doors), one at each end of the living room.
After my grandmother died (she died peacefully in her sleep on the couch in the living room) my grandfather moved out of the master bedroom and moved into the second bedroom in order to preserve the master bedroom as it was when my grandmother died. A way of preserving a memory of her. On my first day at my grandfathers house, my father and grandfather filled me in on what has been going on with their side of the family. Among which, they both claimed that my grandfathers apartment was haunted by the ghost of my grandmother. I thought that they were both trying to have a bit of fun at my expense. I loved to read about true ghost tales, but I wasn't buying my father's and grandfathers ghost stories.
One such story, according to my grandfather, he took a nap on the couch in the living room (the same couch my grandmother died on). He awoke to the sight of my grandmother standing there, looking lovingly down at him. He got a very good and long look at her before she vanished right before his very eyes.
My grandfather also told me that, when she was alive, one of my grandmothers habits was during the night was to come out of the bedroom, go to the kitchen to get herself a cold drink from the refrigerator. The door to the master bedroom often got a bit stuck in the door jamb and if you were inside the bedroom, you had to pull it open with all of your might which created quite a bit of noise. (Indeed, I got to know what the sound was like because upon my arrival, my father showed me my grandmothers bedroom and he had to roughly push the door open). So, she'd pull the door open noisily, she'd shuffle down the long hallway (my grandmother always shuffled when she walked) and then she'd pull open the door to the fridge, causing the bottles in the door to clink against each other (when my grandmother was alive, and even after she died, they were still putting soft drinks in glass bottles instead of plastic). Then she'd have her drink and go back to bed. According to my grandfather, even though she was no longer alive, she still made the same trip from time to time.
My grandfather would be sitting in the living room in his favorite chair watching tv....he'd hear the distinctive sound of the bedroom door being roughly pulled open, the sound of shuffling feet down the hallway, the creak in the floor (the part of the hallway floor, directly in front of the bathroom door, would creak whenever someone would walk over it), more shuffling, then he would hear the fridge door being pulled open and hear the sound of the bottles in the fridge door clinking against each other.
Many is the time, he said, that instead of hearing these sounds from the living room, he'd be sitting in the kitchen giving him a vantage point of being able to look up into the hallway itself, the sounds would start, but he would see nothing. Even though he would hear shuffling footsteps, he'd see no one walking down the hallway towards him. Even though he would hear the fridge door opening and the bottles clinking against each other, he would not see the fridge door opening even though he was sitting only a few feet away.
I refused to believe these stories. I had not seen or heard a ghost in my life (even though I was a believer) and I assumed that I would never experience a haunting in my lifetime. How wrong I was.
That night, my grandfather went to his next door neighbors house to play some poker while my father and I prepared to go to bed. Because my grandfather was preserving the master bedroom and had moved into the second bedroom, my father and I slept on the couch in the living room (yes, the same exact one my grandmother had died on) which opened into a double bed. My father went right to sleep while I stayed up to read.
I'm laying there in the couch bed alongside my sleeping father, the lights in the living room was off, but the lights to the kitchen was on and it was bright enough to shine through the living room doorways on both ends of the room which provided enough light to let me read.
After a while, I heard the distinctive sound of the door to my grandmothers bedroom being roughly pulled open, then I hear the sound of shuffling feet, the I hear the sound of the creak in the hallway floor in front of the bathroom, then I hear more shuffling, then I hear the sound of the fridge door opening and the sound of glass bottles clinking against each other. Thinking nothing of it (already I had forgotten about my grandfathers ghost story) and feeling a little thirsty, I decided to join my grandfather in a cold drink. So I hop out of bed, go through the living room doorway nearest my side of the bed and go into the kitchen only to find myself standing there all alone. At first I'm a little puzzled. I could have sworn I heard my grandfather come out of the bedroom, shuffle down the hallway (my grandfather also shuffled when he walked, but only when he got tired) and open the fridge door.
THEN I came to the realization that my grandfather was STILL at his neighbors house playing poker and had not yet come home. And on top of that I realized that the sound of the door being pulled open that I heard, was the door to the master bedroom, the bedroom my grandfather had not slept in since my grandmother had died. THEN I remembered my grandfathers ghost story. And then I started to get scared.
I had to work up the courage to move my legs, and then from the kitchen, I raced towards the living room doorway that was near my fathers side of the bed, ran into the living room, did a perfect 10 point leap right over the sleeping body of my father and landed in my side of the bed.
I laid there in bed for a while looking at my father, wishing he wasn't sleeping so that he could comfort me in my fright.
Soon after I pulled the covers over my head, (not out of fright, but because in those days it was my habit to sleep with the covers pulled over me completely, head and all) and went to sleep.
But that wasn't the end of this haunting. I always was a very heavy sleeper and could sleep through anything, but sometime during that night, all of the sudden, I woke up with a start, (laying on my right side, facing my father's side of the bed, covers still completely over my head) with a paralyzing fear going up and down my spine. A feeling that I have never felt before that night or since. I just laid there completely paralyzed with fear.
My brain was still in working order and I kept asking myself, "Why am I so scared? What am I so afraid of? Why can't I move?"
I decided to turn my head and then take the cover off of my face in the hopes I would find out what was scaring me. When I decided to simply turn my head, it was easier said than done, for it took me what seemed like several minutes just to work up the courage to turn it. I finally got around to turning my head to the left.....only to see a shadowy outline of a womans head and shoulders being cast onto the underside of my blanket (which was still covering my face and body). The shadow was kind of rocking from side to side. AND I could hear heavy breathing coming FROM the shadow. I know it wasn't my father because he slept soundly and he was laying down, while the shadow was in a standing positionand he was sleeping on the opposite side of me. The distinctive thing about my grandmother was that she had a beehive hairdo (One of the things I remember about her). Even years after it went out of style, she had a small beehive up untill the last few months before her death. (I know this because of the pictures taken of her that my grandfather showed me) This shadowy outline of a head and shoulders being cast onto my blanket, the top of the head had the distinctive shape of a beehive hairdo.
Then I decided to tear the blanket off from over my face to see what was casting that shadow onto me and my blanket. Again, this was easier said than done for, what with that paralyzing fear still with me, it took me several minutes just to work up the courage to move my hand to grab the blanket and pull it off my face.....only to see absolutely nothing standing there. And the paralyzing fear went away in a split second as if it was never there.
The kitchen light was still on and was shining through the living room doorways. I sat up and looked around at the rest of the living room and at my father (who was still sleeping peacefully). Everything was still in place. That wasn't the end of it.
I laid back down, pulled the cover back over my face. From underneath my blanket, I looked back in the direction from where the shadow came from and saw nothing there except for the bright light of the kitchen shining on me. No sound of any heavy breathing either. I somehow fell back to sleep, only to wake up again with a start, AGAIN laying on my right side facing my father, AGAIN with a paralyzing fear going up and down my spine. And again I had to work up the courage just to turn my head to the left only to find the shadowy outline of a womans head (with the shape of a beehive hairdo) and shoulders being cast onto my blanket. And yet AGAIN the shadow was rocking back and forth and breathing heavily. And yet AGAIN I had to work up the courage to tear the blanket off of my face only to find nothing there. I pulled the blanket back over my face to find the shadow gone, the heavy breathing gone, etc., and fell back asleep only to have the same things happen to me again and again.
Wake up on my right side paralyzed with fear, work up courage just to turn my head only to find myself staring at a shadowy outline of a head, with beehive, and shoulders, worked up the courage to tear the blanket off of my face only to find nothing there, pulled the covers back over my head to find the shadow gone.
That still wasn't the end of it.
It happened to me so many times that night that I lost count. Maybe a dozen or a dozen and a half, I don't remember. I do remember that after the fifth or sixth time it happened, I was angrily looking at my still sleeping father asking myself why couldn't he be awake and make all of this stop happening. I felt such fear of going back to sleep knowing that it was going to happen to me again and at the same time I had a fear of staying up because I did not want to see with my own eyes what was scaring me. Yet, I would fall asleep, hoping the last time WAS the last time, and yet it would happen again and again.
Finally the next morning, I confided to my father about everything that happened to me throughout the night...from hearing the bedroom door being pulled open, to the shuffling footsteps and fridge door being pulled open, to me going into the kitchen finding no one there and remembering that my grandfather was still next door, to going to sleep only to wake up paralyzed with fear, working up the courage to simply turn my head, to the shadowy outline of a head and shoulders (with beehive hairdo) rocking back and forth, to the heavy breathing, to the tearing the blanket off my face only to find nothing there, and the many repeat performances throughout the night, etc. I expected to be told that I was just seeing and hearing things, but instead he smiled and exclaimed: "That was Grandma!!!"
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.