“What’ll it be Mr. Torrence?”
By Carolynn Chapman
In honor of Halloween, the Whiskey Goldmine thought it would be a good idea to warn our readers whether or not their favorite watering hole was occupied by demons, ghostly ghouls, portals to hell, or just playful poltergeists. The list below is a compilation of the scariest places to have a drink. You might not be scared, but the walking dead have been known to take advantage of the inebriated so watch your step.
Broad Axe Tavern, Ambler, PA
The Broad Axe Tavern/Inn/Hotel dates back to 1681 and is the 2nd oldest tavern in the United States. According to local legend a ghost named Rachel haunts the Broad Axe Tavern. The story goes that Rachel was the daughter of one of the owners. She and her family lived on a farm behind the Broad Axe Tavern. A group of men left the Broad Axe one night after one too many drinks and were taunting her. Fleeing from the inebriated men, she ran into the bathroom of the tavern and she was never seen again. She is said to be most active when there is any sort of construction going on at the Tavern. There are stories of people being pushed down flights of stairs, being knocked over with a tray full of food when nothing was around them. Sightings of Rachel in the 3rd floor windows have been reported by people when driving by the tavern. Whiskey Goldmine headquarters is right down the block from the Broad Axe, maybe we’ll stop in and by Rachel a drink.
This restaurant and bar used to be the carriage house of the former U.S. Vice-President, Aaron Burr, who is famous for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel. It is believed that he haunts this restaurant to this day. Many visitors and restaurant employees have observed flying dishes and chairs being pulled out from under patrons. Burr’s daughter, Theodosia Burr Alston, who vanished off the coast of North Carolina en route to visit her father in New York, is also rumored to haunt the carriage house. Female patrons at the bar are rumored to have had their earrings removed by Theodosia.
Pirate’s House, Savannah, GA
The Pirates’ House first opened in 1753, as an inn and tavern for the merchant marines, sailors and for the less than stellar Savannah citizens, English and French privateers. It is the oldest building in Savannah. In this very establishment negotiations were made by shorthanded ships’ masters to shanghai unwary seamen to complete their crews. Stories still persist of a tunnel extending from the Old Rum Cellar beneath the Captain’s Room to the river through which these men were carried, drugged, and unconscious, to ships waiting in the harbor. Robert Louis Stevenson is said to have been inspired by this house, and wrote a segment of his novel, Treasure Island in 1881 basing some of the characters on the clientele. Employees have experienced seeing fleeting apparitions of entities out of the corner of their eyes. Laughter has been heard coming from the 2nd floor and the chairs and place settings have been rearranged during the night after the restaurant closes for the evening. An apparition of surly male, dressed like a 18th or early 19th century sea man has been seen as well as entity of a scar-faced apparition of a rough privateer, called Captain Flint.
Cafe Lafitte in Exile, New Orleans, LA
Lafitte’s is the oldest Gay bar in the country and has a long and interesting history. Famous ghost that have been said to have been encountered or be seen near or at Cafe Lafitte in Exile include Marie Laveau, Jean Lafitte and his brother, also Truman Capote, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Tennesee Williams, Huey P. Long, and Louis Armstrong. The Dance floor is said to be a popular place to spot a ghost or while shooting Pool. The ghost of a man the regulars call “Mr. Bubby” is said to be a frisky ghost and has been known to pinch a butt or two. Many locals, Ghost hunters and tourist have reported seeing ghosts spotted ghosts wandering the balcony that surrounds the second floor over looking Bourbon Street and Dumaine. Ghostly figures are said to walk upon it and even wave to tourist or holler out at many a passerby then just disappear.
The building was used as a speakeasy during prohibition and a woman who worked here was married to a seaman but had an affair with the piano player. When thr husband returned from Alaska and found out about the affair, he murdered his wife on the beach below the distillery. Many strange events have been documented since that time that can not be explained such as mysterious phone calls from no one, levitating checkbooks, locked rooms from the inside without any other means of entry, women diners losing one ear ring and then several of these are found in one place weeks later, date tampering with computers, sightings by small children.
Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder, Kentucky
According to urban legends and modern folklore, the location of Bobby Mackey’s Music World allegedly houses a “gateway to hell”. The site was originally used as a slaughterhouse in the early 19th century and later torn down for the construction of a roadhouse that took on various names and ownership. It is reportedly haunted by several unsettled spirits including Pearl Bryan, whose headless corpse was found in a field near the club. It is said that Bryan’s murderers were Satanists who cursed the location and vowed to haunt everyone involved in prosecuting the case. Another woman who met a sad end at this establishment was a dancer named Johanna. She committed suicide after her father murdered her lover, a singer at the club. Workers have noted that lights turned themselves on and off, usually late at night. There were also stories of an old jukebox repeatedly playing “Anniversary Waltz”, even when it was unplugged from the wall. Visitors have heard people laughing, voices talking, and things moving on their own. There are also stories of full body apparitions that haunt Bobby Mackey’s Music World. One is an angry looking man who stands behind the bar and others have claimed to see a headless female ghost, who matches the description of Pearl Bryan.
White Eagle Cafe, Saloon & Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel, Portland, Oregon
Built around 1905 the White Eagle tavern has served as a tavern as well as a brothel, the establishment at one time held the nickname Bucket of Blood. As the Port area developed, more sailors off the ships also began to call The White Eagle their place to enjoy alcoholic beverages, good grub and other pleasures of society. Tradition says that male customers were sometimes shanghaied onto ships who needed men. Supposedly, there was an underground tunnel from the basement of the building which led outside. This route was taken by the kidnapping thugs who transported the men to the ship who were incapacitated in some way. Unexplainable incidents have been reported such as when a waitress was going to the basement and felt someone push her-twice. As she fell down the steps, she got the attention of the bartender and bouncer. When the two reached the bottom of the stairs, they discovered a mop and bucket had been thrown down after them. In another occurrence, one of the former owners reported hearing someone upstairs crying. When he went upstairs to see what was going on, the crying was so strong, the hairs on his back were raised. The man ran across the street and saw a glowing figure in the window from whence the crying came. No one has been near that room in thirteen years. Most recently, there are reports of flushing toilets, whispering voices, moving furniture, and loose change with mint dates over forty years old.
Red Lion Pub, Chicago, IL
The Red Lion Pub building was originally built in 1882, just a few years after the great fire. John Dillinger saw his last movie in the Biograh Theater, located across the street from The Red Lion, before he was gunned down by the G- men right outside the theater. Al Capone and his thugs hung out in this neighborhood during Prohibition. In the 1940′s, Red Lion Inn building was a “Wild West-type” saloon that “respectable” people stayed out of. The building was rescued from disrepair by a well-known Chicago architect, John Cordwell, an Englishman who decided to renovate and turn it into an English Pub. Stories of ghostly activities include objects being moved in closed rooms, voices are heard when no one is present, there are cold spots, invisible touches, and ladies getting locked in the women’s restroom…only to be released after a few minutes with nobody around. Apparitions that have been observed by patrons and staff include a man in cowboy clothing, a man who sometimes walks up the stairs the through the downstairs bar, a blond-haired man and a bearded man wearing a black hat.
Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, in Tombstone, AZ
Built in 1881 this saloon was originally named the Grand Hotel and owned by Mary Katherine Harmony, aka “Big Nose Kate, who was the town’s 1st prostitute and Doc Holliday’s girlfriend. The Clantons and the McLaurys had stayed here the night before three of them were killed at the shoot out at the OK corral, which occurred on Wednesday, October 26, 1881 around 3:00 pm. With such a rich history it is no surprise that there are reportings of active spirits. Staff, locals and tourists alike have seen an old miner, nicknamed “Swamper” roaming the halls, stairways, and especially the basement. Legend claims that the he hid his silver somewhere in the building and returns to protect it. Other witnesses have claimed to have heard phantom people singing and talking in deserted rooms, reported that things fall to the floor of their own accord, doors open and close with unseen hands, lights turn on and off by themselves, and silverware has been known to go flying off tables. The mannequins on the false balcony have seemingly moved and sometimes even tossed from the balcony. Areas in the saloon also experience extreme cold spots and gusts of cold air.
King’s Tavern, Natchez, MS
Kings Tavern is the oldest standing building in Natchez, being erected before 1789. Along with being a tavern and inn, it was also the city’s first post office. Richard King, owner of the tavern, was a prominent man in Natchez of that day. .In the 1930s, workers were expanding the fireplace and tore out the chimney wall. They found a space behind the wall that contained the skeletal remains of three bodies: two men and one woman. Laying on the floor was a jeweled dagger, which was assumed to have been used in their demise. The woman is thought to have been Madeline, Richard King’s mistress. As the story goes, when his wife found out about the affair, she had Madeline killed and bricked into the fireplace in the main dining room. Who the two male skeletons are is anyone’s guess… much of the supernatural mischief today is blamed on Madeline, however. An apparition of a young woman has appeared in front of patrons and staff. Water faucets and lights turn on and off without any help from living hands. Jars have fallen off of shelves for no apparent reason. Water has actually been seen pouring from the ceiling area to the floor below, leaving no sign of a leak in the roof or the floor above. The chairs that are hanging on the wall are said to rock and move of their own accord. The fireplace where the bodies were found will emit heat as if it had been burning wood, although it isn’t in use. Women’s footprints can be seen on freshly mopped floors. Another entity of a man with a top hat who has been described as sinister has appeared to staff.