A ghost walks into a bar…
Wait, stop, that can’t happen, I need to change that! A ghost walks through a bar. And that happens more often than you’d think. Ghosts and bars are like pickup trucks and country music, there is just something about that combination. So, without further ado, let’s go bar-hopping for some ghostly happenings.
The Daily Mail featured this story about a haunted bar back in 2012. “You might expect to find spirits in a bar – but they’re usually the kind that pour.
Patrons of the Legal Tender in Lamy, New Mexico, have long reported some kind of intangible ‘presence’ in the bar, which stands on the site of an old saloon dating back to 1881, but things reached a spooky peak one night earlier this month.
Cindy Lu Jednak and Phillip Heard were sitting with their spouses at a table when they heard the unmistakable sound of a woman’s screams coming from the restaurant kitchen. They checked the kitchen, but it was deserted, with the back door locked.
‘I don’t believe in ghosts,’ said Heard, who works at the Legal Tender. ‘There has to be an explanation for what that was. When I deal with something like this, I want to know the facts.’
Two other members of the bar’s staff, Dachin Frances and Avery Young say that there’s much more to the story than that one spine-chilling scream; ‘Even when you are alone in a room here’, says Avery, ‘you never feel alone.’
And Frances said at the end of one shift she was preparing to lock up when she and co-workers heard pots and pans rattling in the darkened kitchen. Discretion proving the better part of valor, they slammed the door, locked it and left.
Many staff refuse to stay in the joint past closing time. There’s too much evidence of a sepulchral presence to write the story off to a mixture of imagination and liquor. Both staff and patrons have reported unexplained voices and what sounds like a heavy object being dragged across the floor of the main dining room. A chandelier hanging above that room has more than once started swinging wildly without the slightest breath of wind.
To those that know the Legal Tender, it makes sense that some of its long-dead customers are still present.
A business first opened on the site of the Legal Tender in the early 1880s, catering to trade brought in by the newly-built Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway spur line. Somewhere along the way, the old saloon became known as the Pink Garter.
In the late 1960s, it was renamed the Legal Tender under the ownership of R.O. Anderson. ‘Wichita Lineman’ singer Glenn Campbell played there in his early days.
The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Over the years, a number of historic figures have passed through the Lamy area, including Teddy Roosevelt and Billy the Kid — the latter was reportedly on a train that stopped in Lamy on the way to doing some jail time in Santa Fe.
More obscure figures also found their way through the village, and perhaps never quite left — the frontier bystander reportedly shot by a stray bullet during a poker game gone sour and the female train passenger who supposedly died of appendicitis in one of the saloon’s back rooms, for instance.
Their spirits — known as the Man in Black and the Lady in White — have long been rumored to roam the Legal Tender.
The spirit of a young girl is also connected to the site, although no one has ever quite worked out her backstory.
But Cindy recently met a woman in her 90s who lived in Lamy in the 1920s and recalls a female playmate from that period who died of tapeworm at age 7 or 8. The two girls would often visit the store that once stood on the site of the Legal Tender. Cindy also tells anecdotes of kitchen workers feeling the invisible poke of a finger in their sides and a presence tightening their apron strings.
Cindy is loath to describe what happens out at the Legal Tender as a haunting. ‘It’s just a presence, an energy, of someone or something that is here,’ she said. ‘It’s an energy from a different time; from a different dimension, even.’
And she said she’s s never afraid — not even when she hears unexplained whispering, or her name being called by others when she is alone in the building.”
Sure, Cindy, it’s just an energy, an energy that just happens to be called a ghost.
From New Mexico, let’s travel east to New Orleans and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Pub. The website Haunted Houses gives us some chilling information about the ghosts who reside there. “The Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Pub is said to be the longest running pub in the United States that hasn’t been moved. Two known entities, a male, and a female are known to haunt this building.
The first entity, believed to be the ghost of Jean Lafitte, seems to enjoy the first floor of the pub. The fireplace found in the first-floor bar area is surrounded by what some describe as “an unwholesome aura,” complete with cold spots.
Staff and patrons alike have seen a pair of watchful red eyes, studying them through the fireplace grate. Some say that the eyes belong to Jean Lafitte.
Patrons of the bar who sit at the tables, located near the fireplace, have reported being touched by a cold, ghostly hand.
Lafitte’s presence is said to be near when the aroma of cigar smoke is detected. And when he is not hiding in the fireplace, Jean Lafitte has appeared in the dark corners of the first floor, looking annoyed and glowering at the living, while twitching his mustache with his gloved hands. When seen by witnesses, he disappears quickly.
The entity of Jean Lafitte has been seen sitting at a table with a drink in hand, at the back of the piano bar, surrounded by the strong aroma of cigar smoke.
The entity of Jean Lafitte has also been seen in the restroom. Seeing as Jean loved women during his lifetime, it makes sense that he would like to check out women here!
The second entity is a woman. The owners don’t know for sure who she is, but she must have some connection to this building.
A mirror on the second floor often shows the reflection of a female entity from a much earlier time. People speculate that the spirit could be of Marie Laveau or the infamous Madame Delphine Lalaurie, but there is no proof. While either two of these women could be attached to the mirror, it could be a variety of their women, who had lived on the second floor of this long-time business building.
From websites to Reddit to hear some first-hand experiences in haunted bars.
This one was simply entitled Haunted Bar. “In college, I worked at an old bar. The building was ancient and was rumored to have been several different types of establishments and originally a chapel/church. I always worked alone and would often close up after hours counting my money in silence when I would hear strange sounds. These sounds were usually hushed conversations or the sound of a stool moving that I would eventually learn to just ignore. Everyone that worked there was accustomed to hearing strange things after hours while closing up. One particular sound scared me very much, however. At the end of the bar, maybe 10 feet from where I was counting out my cash drawer, I heard what sounded like a stack of books being pushed right off the bar top onto the floor- it was LOUD! I examined the area, there was nothing there, even though I heard the sound right next to me. I heard the sound one other time after that the same night- I remember calling out, telling whatever it was that I did not want it there and to stop trying to scare me. I never heard that sound again but the hushed voices and small sounds of things being moved never stopped.
If you’re thinking the voices were patrons lingering outside- that’s not the case. The location of the bar was in a spot off the beaten path where people wouldn’t generally hang out. We also had live feed cameras that would display on tv screens that the bartender could see up by the ceiling.”
The last story in our pub creepy-crawl is another Reddit story entitled “I work in a haunted bar.”
“I work in a bar that has existed since 1934. There’s an attic, the main floor, and a basement. It’s very common to hear people behind you on the stairs. It’s also very common to have your name called or be whistled at. Sometimes you hear crying in the ladies’ bathroom.
I first heard the crying a couple of years prior, heard it again a few times since. One day I got to work a touch early and stepped in to use the ladies’ bathroom. My prep cook was using the other stall. When I walked in, she asked if it was me. I answered that it was, and she said, “Oh thank goodness! I thought maybe you were the Fantasma!” I respond, “Why? What have you heard?!” And she tells me that she hears a woman crying now and again!
Anyway, I thought it was exciting we’d both heard it. And sort of creepy too!
I’ve heard, with no physical proof, that someone was shot in the building, someone had a heart attack upstairs, and someone had a heart attack in the kitchen. The kitchen has the most activity. I think I’d have loved to live in a haunted pub!”
How about you? Would you like spirits with your spirits?
Like what you read? Find more stories by Terri Reid here.