Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hoosier Haunted Spirits at the Gas Light Inn

It’s October and all this month we’ve explored haunted drinking establishments - restaurants, taverns, wineries; any place that serves spirits, and has “spirits.” 

So for our final round, let’s hit the road and discover who or what it is that makes these places so dark and brooding…

John Dillinger
Indianapolis is home to many legends and ghost stories. One ghost Hoosiers seem proud to embrace is that of native son, John Dillinger. Born in 1903 in a near-eastside Indianapolis neighborhood, Dillinger began his life of crime in nearby Mooresville, eventually becoming “Public Enemy Number One.”

Soup Line
But locals had a soft spot for him, his ne'er-do-well attitude, and his flair for robbing banks. Dillinger, true to his Hoosier roots, was always polite. He became a modern day Robin Hood, robbing from the banks and, many times, giving assistance and food to the poor. During the Depression this evoked the sympathies of those who were struggling just to get by.

Dillinger's Body
Dillinger's Grave
But Dillinger’s life of crime was cut short on July 22, 1934 when he was gunned down at the Biograph Theatre in Chicago. His body was put on display at the Cook County Morgue before being sent back home to Indianapolis for interment in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Gas Light Inn
Nonetheless, Dillinger may still be roaming around Nap-Town, visiting some of his favorite “haunts,” one of which was the Gas Light Inn. Located south of downtown Indy, the Gas Light Inn is easy to miss. 

Located at the corner of Meridian and Kelly this unassuming two-story building blends with other in the neighborhood. 

One of the Cemeteries
Built around the turn of the century, your first impression might be that it looks a bit divey, but once you’ve tried the food, there’s no turning back. Except of course to check out what’s located behind the Gas Light Inn – not one, not two, but three cemeteries!

 Gas Light Dining Room
Bullet Holes (?)
The building is well over 100 years old and has housed a grocery store, a confectionery, a brothel, and a morgue, before it became a bar and restaurant. During Dillinger’s time it was one of his favorite hangouts in the city. The story goes that Dillinger was having a drink at the bar one evening when a man walked in through the swinging doors and fired two shots at him. Dillinger was not hit but the brick column behind where he was sitting still bears two bullet holes.

Death Mask
Dillinger’s death mask now hangs in the dining room, along with a “Most Wanted” poster of him. But Indiana’s bad boy is not the only spirit that may still be imbibing here.

According to Todd Phelps, founder of the Indiana Scientific Paranormal Investigators several ghosts linger at the Gas Light. Employees have reported seeing full apparitions, being held in place in the basement, hearing voices and gunshots, and have experienced the feeling of being watched.

IndianaSPI's Equipment
IndianaSPI did a paranormal investigation here a couple of years ago and picked up a child’s voice on the walkie-talkies in the early morning hours. Maybe this is the spirit of the young girl who is said to enjoy teasing and touching patrons in the dining room.

Stairs to the Basement
Employees don’t care to go to the basement alone when more liquor needs to be brought up to the bar.  Staff members say that there is a male spirit that hangs out down there. Employees have been touched by something unseen, even held immobile. Shadowy figures move around in the gloom, and sound of glass breaking can sometimes be heard from the bar.

Stairs to the Comedy Club
Second Story Windows
There are also reports of a woman, dressed in the style of the early 1900s, who’s sometimes seen or heard on the stairs leading to the second floor Comedy Club. She has also been seen looking out of a second story window. 

The television program, “My Ghost Story” investigated the Gas Light in 2011. Paranormal 911 Investigations
contacted “My Ghost Story” and got the ball rolling for a TV investigation after they came away with over 90 separate EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon) from a single night.

If you’d like the chance to take part in a paranormal investigation, the Gas Light Inn welcomes you with its Ghost Tours. Choose from two to four hour investigations, led by owner Joe DeMore. Or if you’re feeling very daring, go for the “All Nighter” from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. and see what “goes bump in the night”...

Ghosts aren’t guaranteed, but amazing pub food in the “Best Ghost Bar in Indy” is a sure thing!

~ Joy

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Haunted Winery in the Show Me State

Belvoir Winery – Liberty, Missouri

It’s October and all during this month we’ll explore haunted drinking establishments - restaurants, taverns, wineries, any place that serves spirits, and has “spirits.” 

So let’s hit the road and discover who or what it is that makes these places so dark and brooding…

Liberty, Missouri is a quiet suburb just north of Kansas City.  The town was founded in 1832.During the Civil War, Liberty sided staunchly with the South. When Lincoln ran for President in 1860, not one person in Clay County cast a vote for him.

Downtown Liberty
Liberty was the site of the first day-time bank robbery. It happened here on February 13, 1866 when former Confederate soldiers banded together and robbed the Clay County Savings Association.

It was also home to the Missouri State I.O.O.F. The Odd Fellows purchased Reed Springs Hotel in 1895 to be used as a home for the widows and orphans of members. The I.O.O.F. is one of the largest fraternal and benevolent organizations in the U.S.  The 80-room structure burned down in 1900 but was rebuilt and reopened one year later.

I.O.O.F. Home
The entire complex consisted of several buildings, including the main home, hospital, school, church, and cemetery - all on 250 acres of land. In the waning years of the Twentieth century it was used as a nursing home.

And that brings us to the most well known haunted winery in the Midwest, located here in the "Show Me" state.  And, it appears that they have a lot of spirits to show….

Belvoir Winery
Belvoir Winery is located on the grounds of the former I.O.O.F. District Home.  Belvoir is French for “beautiful view,” and that’s what the owners, Dr John and Marsha Bean, thought when they saw the I.O.O.F. property in the 1990’s.  They knew this was the place for their winery and vineyard.  But once they began work on the buildings, they realized they had more than rooms with a view…

Today, only three of the original buildings remain, the Administration building, the Old Folks building, (nursing home,) and the Old Hospital.  The winery occupies the Odd Fellows Administration Building, the oldest structure on the property.  The basement was renovated to be used as the wine cellar and processing area.  The first floor holds the winery, ice cream shop, and event rooms.

Several paranormal investigative groups have been to Belvoir and all have reported some type of activity.  Reports range from footsteps, screams, and unidentified laughter, to male spirits, shadows that move on their own, and clothing being tugged on.  Much of the activity is reported to be in the cellar area of the winery.

Paranormal Investigation
There has been enough activity on the grounds and in the buildings that Belvoir Winery offers public and private paranormal investigations of the facilities. A group called Paranormal Research Investigators heads up the monthly public sessions.  According to PRI members, Belvoir is one of the most haunted locations they have investigated.

Cemetery on Grounds
There is also an I.O.O.F. cemetery on the property.  A plot, headstone and funeral were made available to all Odd Fellow members when the district home was in operation.  Over 600 members are interred here.

Belvoir Bar
While home to numerous ghosts, Belvoir Winery is also home to six wines.  The winery is open seven days a week and free tastings are available.  To learn more, or schedule a ghostly tour, visit

John Dillinger
We have one more stop to make for October - Next week, we'll visit a bar where John Dillinger may still be hiding out...

~ Joy

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Haunted Winery and Restaurant in St Charles Missouri

Little Hills Winery & The Mother-In-Law House – 
St. Charles, Missouri

It’s October and all during this month we’ll explore haunted drinking establishments - restaurants, taverns, wineries, any place that serves spirits, and has “spirits.” 

So let’s hit the road and discover who or what it is that makes these places so dark and brooding…

St Charles is a quaint town located on the banks of the Missouri River. Settlers began arriving here in the 1700s and called the region “Les Petites Cote” – The Little Hills.

Borromeo Church
The region grew and prospered to the point where having a cemetery in the middle of town became a problem. The local officials decided to move the bodies to the outer edge of town in order to utilize the nine-square-blocks that the cemetery was taking up.

But some bodies were never moved. Headstones were taken away and the remains forgotten as progress built up over them. It is little wonder that the historic downtown district of St Charles has so many ghost stories tied to it. Apparently a number of restless sprits still remain, seeking a proper burial…

Little Hills Winery
One place with a sordid past is Little Hills Winery located in the heart of the historical district.

It is said that two ghosts frequent this location, a man and a woman, both speaking French. Research shows that a couple fitting that description lived in a residence here  around the turn of the century.

Bar Area
It has been reported that someone enjoys moving dishes and silverware around the restaurant when no one is looking.  And the entity also finds is amusing to play havoc in the bar area.

Dining Room
Restaurant servers at Little Hills have said that the dungeon-type storage area gets turnedupside down at night and the next morning things looks as if a fight had just taken place there. Servers can put everything back and the next day find the room in the same state of disarray.

Employees have reported hearing a couple arguing in French in the back storage area. Michael Henry of St Charles Ghost Tours had a French student transcribe the voices caught on tape.

The words spoken were “Don’t hit me.” “Don’t hurt me.

Courtyard During the Day
Outside Courtyard
The man who lived here at the turn of the century was known to severely beat his wife from time to time. One morning in 1906, neighbors noticed that the front window of the residence was broken out. When they went to investigate, both the man and woman were gone. It was speculated that he had beaten her to death near the stable and buried her body in the yard; what is now the outside patio area, and then disappeared into a new

Although no apparition has been seen, cold spots seem to manifest in certain areas…

Another haunted restaurant on Main Street is the Mother-In-Law House Built in 1866, the two sides of this home are mirror opposites. Francis Kremer built the house in this arrangement so that his mother-in-law could live on one side while he and his family lived on the other. It provided Kremer’s mother-in-law with a separate place to live, yet the opportunity to be next to her daughter.

Mother-In-Law House
Today the structure is a restaurant with the name paying tribute to its history. Employees report there are always problems on the north side of the building. Dishes, glasses and silverware routinely disappear from here, food changes temperature without reason and coffee cups have been known to turn over into customers laps. Items also tend to move around more on the north side of the house.

Dining Room
A psychic informed the current owners that the mother-in-law was lonely and just wanted to be acknowledged. Once her side of the house was redecorated, she seemed to quiet done – at least for now…

Downtown St Charles
St Charles is definitely worth the trip, just for the ambience alone. But if you go, make sure sign up for the St Charles Ghost Tour and get the low down on all things spooky in this charming river town.

~ Joy