* This post begins as a story already shared by our Tour Guide, Aundrae, but told in a different perspective from one of our bartenders. *
When I started bartending at Shaker’s last September, I was intrigued by the building history. The spirits residing in the 100-year-old building captured my interest immediately, and even though I’m a skeptic by nature, I kept an open mind. Aundrae gave me and my friends a tour my first night at Shaker’s. I remember walking up to the third floor, Sazerac in hand. We sat around and listened to the stories of the spirits who were trapped here still. I asked if a ghost ever tried to hurt anyone. She explained that what most people report isn’t evil, its more mischievous. As if the weird things that go on at Shakers are nothing more than children’s pranks. We finished the tour and were already eager to come back and learn more.
Fast forward to January, I’m bartending on a Monday night and two girls walk in. They’re paranormal fans, like me, and ask if I believe Shaker’s really is haunted. I tell them that I know that it is. When they ask if I’ve seen a ghost, I tell them no, not exactly, but they have turned on faucets and moved things around to let me know that they’re here. Aundrae walks over and suggests that they go on a tour. As they walk down to the basement, I hear one girl tell her friend how exciting it is to be in their first haunted bar. Some customers get nervous about the basement, but these girls were having the time of their lives.
Not long after they had gone to explore the basement, I hear a crash as the three girls come running up the stairs. They run past the bar to the lounge area, where they’re finally able to take a breath. Aundrae couldn’t explain exactly what happened, but had felt a presence near the cistern. She’s not sure if this was responsible for the girls’ reaction, but it had made her feel very uneasy. Later that night, I had felt negative energy inside Shaker’s for the first time. It was coming from the basement.
I admit their reactions scared me a bit, so I waited until the end of the night before going back into the basement. I did not want to go alone. Aundrae came with me to stock, and as soon as we start nearing the basement door, the air begins to feel heavy and its hard to breathe. My head is spinning. We grab what we need, run upstairs, and finish closing as fast as we can. As I’m walking down the alley, I think to myself that the energy I just felt was unlike anything I’ve ever felt at Shaker’s.
The next week goes by and things seem normal at Shaker’s – at least as normal as they can be in this interesting little place. I’m working my usual Sunday night shift and Melissa, a veteran Shakerette, walks in with two friends. Her friends had never been to Shaker’s and Melissa walks them around telling them all about the building’s history. She asked me if I’m familiar with the rods. She had asked me if I could show her friends how they work, and her friends expressed clear excitement, having never seen them before.
Standing in the basement with them, I pick up the rods and steady them in my hands. I take a deep breath. Exhale. Clear my mind and focus my energy on the rods. I try to think of a question and draw a blank. Melissa asks if there are any spirits who want to communicate with us tonight. The rods cross, confirming a yes, and then begin shifting to point to the corner of the basement to my right. I felt almost as if they had jumped over there. Still a little nervous, I decide I have got to know if whomever was communicating with us tonight was the same as who was down here the night that Aundrae had had that scare on her tour. I am quick to ask. The answer was yes.
After confirming that, the questions that followed were all answered with a bunch of “no’s”. “Are you O’Connor?” No. “Were you a victim of the Capone family?” No. “Has Bob, Michelle, or any other tour guide identified you before?” No. “Did you attend this place when it was a brothel?” No.
“Have you just recently become active at Shaker’s?” Yes. I told this energy that they had given us quite a scare the other night. The rods crossed rapidly. Clearly, this had been intentional. “Are you okay with us asking you questions?” No. “Would you like us to leave the basement?” Yes.
In other words…