At least five customers
have seen a shadowy figure walking down the hallway at the rear of the
bar. One customer described seeing the shadowy figure "scoot down the hall
and around the corner”.
Vrhel invited Spiritual
Advisor Lee Murphy to walk through the building to see if her insight
validated the ongoing investigations of supernatural activity. After
touring the main floor and the basement of Cigars and
Stripes, Murphy confirmed the findings of the SOS Inc. group - several
spots were charged with energy. Her insight brought to life many stories
of the past as well as many possible explanations of the haunting
Murphy’s insight points
to several sources of supernatural activity, including a former customer
who fell dead in the business entryway nearly 30 years ago, and who may
still be walking in to enjoy the social atmosphere.
A presence at the rear of
the building is sensed to be an elderly woman who prayed and worried
considerably about the well-being of family and friends.
The large hand-crafted
bar, which was brought over from the former Stardust Lounge several blocks
down from Cigars and
Stripes, may be the source of a true love story playing out in
some of the current "playful” events.
Murphy said that the
energies of the bar are especially intense in one location, which Vrhel
shared was the place where Rose, the late former owner of the bar, was
best remembered to sit. Rose and her husband Joe owned the Stardust
Lounge, and he built and hand-crafted the bar especially for her. Murphy
said that Rose’s presence is an exceptionally loving one.
As investigative results
are gathered and more and more testimonials of unexplainable occurrences
and sightings are being documented, the Supernatural Occurrence Studies,
Inc. group has agreed that the place is definitely haunted.
"I do believe that this
location is haunted,” said SOS Vice-President William Wolfe who, along
with his group, made an overnight visit to the location.
The SOS group, which was
founded in 1998, set up their equipment in various locations of the first
floor and basement, especially in the areas that have been noted to have
the most paranormal activity. After leaving the location for several
hours, the group returned to study the results of the camcorders, infrared
cameras and tapes.
When the group played
back the tape recording, definite sounds and voices could be heard. "We
heard knocking sounds, voices, whispering and conversations. One voice
sounded like it was saying ‘No, no, you can’t!’ in a man’s voice. There
were some howling or screaming sounds in the background, too. We will
definitely do some more audio recording here,” said SOS Theorist/Field
Guide Dave Black who added that extensive analysis will be performed on
the EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) tapes.
readings showed that there were drastic temperature variations in some
locations. "We were getting readings of a 30 degree temperature variance
in the area known as the hot spot,” said Wolfe.
"You never know with old
buildings, and you suspect explanations such as drafts and such. They
said, ‘Get over here. You have to check this out!’ They were feeling
something. I went over there and it was so intense that my eyes started
watering and I was having difficulty breathing. I had to put my hand on
the stool to stay upright. We all felt it,” said Black.
Numerous Cigars and
Stripes customers have reported seeing a shadowy figure in the hallway
near the rear of the bar. Owner Ronn Vrhel said that most people describe
it as an outline of a figure. "People describe it as having no arms or
legs – just a shape. They see it go around the corner,” he said.
SOS researchers and many of the customers
report hearing footsteps on the stairs when no one is there. Sounds have
been heard in the basement as well. Wolfe said that the night they did
their research, they heard sounds like beer cans being thrown around.
"Ronn doesn’t have beer cans in the lounge, only bottles,” he said.
Wolfe also thinks that the location was likely an Al Capone haunt. "Based
on the history of the place with people dying at the bar and the age of
the building, it’s a good possibility that Capone visited here or offered
his protection for the businesses that were here. It’s a prime location
for Capone tactics,” said Wolfe.
With a long list of
stories which include four deaths in the building, keys dropping out of
nowhere, martini shaker tops flipping and rolling down the bar, phones
falling off the hook and then ringing, light switches and spotlights
turning on by themselves and bottles and glasses toppling with no reason,
the conclusions are clear that the place is "special”.
Spiritual Advisor Lee
Murphy agrees that the place has many stories to tell. She said that for
the most part, the place has a "very colorful” energy. She walked through
the basement, upstairs game room and bar area and told Vrhel some of the
stories she "picked up” which included the story of a former owner who
prayed and worried about her family and friends. She said it is a good
possibility that this former occupant, who passed away on the premises,
still occupies the scene and even, perhaps, cares for the present owners
and/or customers in some way.
Murphy feels that there
is a special energy attached to the hand-crafted bar which came from the
former Stardust Lounge located several blocks from Cigars and
Stripes. Vrhel had always admired the bar, brought it to his
establishment and set it in place carefully.
Murphy said she feels
especially strong impressions from the area that Rose, the former owner,
used to sit most often. Vrhel said that the "hot spot” seems to be a
favorite place for many customers. Murphy offered an explanation as to why
that might be.
According to Murphy,
Rose’s energy is clearly present and may even be working in a match-making
kind of scenario. "I sensed that Rose’s relationship with her husband was
very loving and special. She may be helping others in finding the same
kind of relationship. She seems to have had a very good understanding
about such things,” offered Murphy.
Along with it being a
spot where many like to gather, the "hot spot” was the place where two
customers met and then married not too long ago, explained Vrhel. "It’s
likely to be a great place to meet someone or even to improve your
existing relationship. The energy is really very special,” said Murphy as
she sat in Rose’s former seat.
Vrhel said he is getting
used to the occurrences and even feels like something is working on his
behalf. "A while back I was talking about getting out of the business. It
seems like some of these things really started to happen then. I get the
definite impression that ‘they’ want me to stay and are looking out for us
in some way,” he said.
"In conclusion, yes, this bar is haunted. It
probably has more activity than a lot of other places we’ve been to and
documented. There are a lot of testimonials - to a degree that I haven’t
experienced in most places we have been,” said Black.
Dave "Od” Black first sensed the strange goings-on when he was at the
lounge performing his stand-up comedy act. After the show, the
comedian/paranormal investigator asked Vrhel if his place was haunted.
"Funny you should mention it…” answered Vrhel.
Spiritual Advisor Lee Murphy has assisted
police investigations and worked with clients across the U.S. for almost
25 years. She is semi-retired and lives in the Western suburbs.