A Ghostly Story: Paranormal Activity inside an Ice Cream Shop
This is a True Story.
Have you ever seen a ghost? Have you been victim to a haunting? I have and it did not happen in a haunted house. It happened in the most unlikely of places.
With Halloween approaching and everyone decorating their homes with ghosts, ghouls and skeletons, it reminds me of a time not too long ago when a ghost annoyed and bothered my business, staff, husband and me. This is a true story.
A few years ago--July of 2007 to be exact, my husband and I opened an ice cream shop in Long Beach, California. The land previously had a gas station which was torn down to make way for a new retail center. The building we chose was a small 550 square foot stand-alone building. It was brand spanking new. We were excited to open and could hardly wait but it seemed there was one delay after another so much so that we worried the place might be "cursed"
Eventually we did open and to our pleasant surprise, we had lines of customers who wrapped around our tiny building.
Things that go Bump do not always do so at Night!
Our little ice cream shop stood out as a jewel on a small triangular shaped piece of land. There was a bank of other retail spaces adjacent to our little building but none of their walls were connected to ours. Our walls were our own, therefore when we heard the faint mumbling of voices and the frequent loud thump on the exterior of the building, we were baffled. What was causing these noises?
The muffled voices and laughter were not the only weird things going on inside the shop. On a couple of occasions there were inexplicable incidents. One evening when one of our young female staff was working alone, the water was suddenly turned off. We were up to date on the bill and even called the water department to be sure they did not turn off the water. Upon our inspection, we discovered the main water valve located in a really obscure place, had been turned in the "off" position--no one could have turned off the water intentionally or mistakenly, at least NO humankind!
A tragedy was averted when a very heavy wire rack that was securely bolted to the wall suddenly fell off with no warning, only seconds before, my son had been under the rack but moved. The rack fell off the wall crashing down, dumping heavy boxes of dry goods all over the floor.
The electrical power was an issue many times. Even with turning on the outside lights, they would flicker and go out for unexplained reasons. Another time there was a mysterious power outage caused us to loose several gallons of expensive ice cream.
The phone lines seemed to always have a strange crackling and reception was terrible. It was all very creepy and we seemed to be getting a message to GET OUT! Who was sending us this messages and why was a big question mark for us.
A Ghost who is a Big Tipper
One early evening our employee, a young college kid named Mony was working alone and as he looked up from the cash register a man suddenly appeared. The door to our store was made of heavy glass and it would swing for several seconds after anyone entered but not so with this man. The door was completely still. As Mony would later tell us, the man just appeared seemingly out of no where.
Mony described the man as looking from another era. He had a long white beard-not a cute beard like Santa Claus- but a beard down to the middle of his chest. He was dressed like an old cowboy or gold miner Mony told us. He wore clothes from the 1800's and suspenders held up his old jeans. Mony said he had a creepy, goose bump feeling when he saw this man. Something about the man, made Mony dislike him. Mony asked the man if he could get him some ice cream and he replied in gibberish. Mony was able to make out some of what the ghostly customer was saying about the "outside the store" "the statue of that little boy with the boxing gloves, has red eyes", he was referring to a little bronze statue the owner of the property had placed outside our store. The center's owner had placed several bronze statues of children doing various things throughout the center in an effort to promote it as a family friendly shopping place. Now this customer was trying to convince Mony the statue was alive and its eyes were glowing an evil shade of red!
Mony shrugged off the customer's comment and scooped up some ice cream. As I recall now, the ghost had a preference for Rainbow Ice. He paid Mony and left him a $5.00 tip, Mony looked down for only a second to put the money in the cash register and when he looked up, the ghost was gone and as he entered, so he left, without the door so much as making a swing or two. Later when Mony retold this incident to us, we all laughed at the $5.00 tip. At least this mysterious, possibly ghostly person was not a cheapskate!
Days went on and we forgot about Mony's ghost customer. Each of us took shifts working alone in the store as business slowed when Summer turned into Fall.
Our little shop was the only business to be officially open at this new shopping center. The other spaces were not yet occupied and they were in various stages of being completed. At night we were all alone in our little store surrounded by empty, dark spaces. It gave the center a dark and haunted feel made creepier if our store was not busy. The only relief we had was when other business owners who were hurrying to get their tenant improvements completed had their construction crew work late into the evening, it was welcomed company for us.
We became friendly with one of the contractors named Sam. He was an immigrant from Cambodia and told us delightful stories about his homeland. He was usually a very outgoing and happy guy, however, one evening when my husband was working alone, Sam stopped by to visit, he appeared bothered, shaken and pale.
Other Businesses who Experienced the Ghost
Sam ordered an ice cream but my husband got the impression Sam really was not there for a friendly visit or to feed a sweet tooth. Sam stammered and stuttered then finally said "Have you had any unusual things happen around here?" My husband thought and said "No, what do you mean?" Sam rolled his eyes up to the ceiling and said " I may sound crazy but I think we had a ghost in the restaurant the other night!"
Sam went on to tell my husband how he was working late in the night at the semi-completed restaurant trying to finish some trim work inside the customer area. His girlfriend had come along to help him. They had been working inside the store for a few hours when about 12:30 am his girlfriend decided to take a break. She sat down on the floor since there was no furniture as of yet inside the restaurant. She was closing her eyes when she got the distinct feeling of someone staring at her, she looked upward and suddenly a figure of a man appeared over her. Sam could not believe what he was seeing. It was not a human figure. It was a transparent figure of a man. A man that looked like he was from the 1800's. Sam could see the man had a long white beard and he wore pants with suspenders. The figure did not speak, it just stared at Sam's girlfriend. sort of hovering above her head. When Sam and his girlfriend came to their senses, they both screamed and the figure disappeared. Later Sam went looking for his tools and they were gone. He searched everywhere and they were not inside the restaurant. Days later the tools were found inside a cabinet in the kitchen of the restaurant! Sam did not put his tools there, he was certain the ghost did it in an attempt to delay completing the build out of the restaurant and its opening.
Upon hearing Sam's story, my husband recalled Mony's ghost customer from a few months before and told Sam about the incident. Sam yelled "this gives me the creeps. I need to talk to Mony, compare ghosts!" My husband told Sam that Mony was due into work in any minute. Sam suggest they not tell Mony about his experience so as not to influence Mony. Sam wanted to hear Mony's story first to see if they had seen the same person. Ghost?
Mony arrived at the shop and ever so casually, Sam asked him to retell the story of the unusual customer who gave him a $5.00 tip on a $3.00 cup of ice cream purchase. Mony cautiously and carefully told his story. He described what the customer looked like going into detail not only about his out of date clothing, but the creepy, cold feelings the customer extruded . After hearing Mony's story, Sam turned pale and said "that is what this person looked like who was inside our space last night!"
Like us, the restaurant also had unexplained, annoying events that either delayed getting their business open or once open, interfered with their doing business. One day the crew arrived in the early morning to find the glass door mysteriously shattered. Another time a major leak created damages and caused the restaurant to undergo expensive water damage repairs. The source of the water was traced to a facet in the bathroom being turned on and left to flood.
Angers flared. Sam found himself involved in a fist fight with one of his subcontractors. This mild mannered man we had come to know, suddenly found his body temporarily possessed by something so evil he had no resistance to lashing out uncontrollably.
We all became convinced something evil must have happened on the property, but what?
Researching the Property's History
We researched and could not find any information on any murder or violent incidents on the property where our ice cream shop was located. We do know that area of Long Beach, California has areas considered sacred to Native Americans but those, we discovered were mostly on the campus of California State University Long Beach not our store which was over 5 miles away. What on earth was going on inside our store?
Paranormal Activity-A Ghost messes with our furniture
Mony had a second experience one night when again he was alone working the store. The store was empty. A rush of customers had just left and Mony was cleaning up. He swears one of the tables in the customer area suddenly began to rotate, spin and eventually fall over on its side. This was not a lightweight table. This table had a wrought iron base and a tile top.
Mony ran outside of the shop thinking maybe we had one of our California earthquakes, but the ground was not moving. He thought maybe a large truck had caused such a rumbling the table toppled over from the vibration, but when Mony attempted to lift the table back into its upright position, he had a hard time. This table was heavy! Mony's conclusion was the ghost was at it again!
We knew Mony as a level-headed kid. We had no reason to doubt him and we ourselves had felt the creepy ambiance of the store many times. Therefore, we trusted and believed what Mony told us. We wondered why none of the other staff had these kinds of interactions with the ghostly pests. We decided that Mony being a very artistic and sensitive person was more susceptible to the ghostly presence and their shenanigans.
I worked alone several times at the store, even during the daylight hours there would be muffled mumbling of a distinctly female voice and laughter. The laughter was louder if I sang! I sang at the top of my lungs hoping that would be a sure fired way to get the ghostly presence to run from the store. It wasn't, all I got were laughs-hysterical laughter. A ghostly Simon Cowell?
If it was a slow day and very quiet, suddenly a loud thump would happen at the side of the store on the outside. I would run out of the store, look around all sides of the building and there would be nothing! Oddly too, were the many places inside the store where there were "chill spots" unexplained areas where it was very, very cold and the air conditioner was not on.
A Little Holy Water will cure the Spirits
Mony's second experience along with my growing fear of being inside the store, took me to the local Catholic church for some holy water. A crash course about cleansing your space of evil spirits via the internet instilled me with the knowledge and faith I could remedy our little problem with water and a few chants.
I read that you should never talk crap to a ghost or entity. Talking crap only annoys and angers the little buggers. Instead of using a threatening voice, you are to remain calm and firmly state in a voice apparently reserved for preschool teachers to "Please leave. You are not wanted here. You are free to go" as you chant, walk around to the areas where the ghost presence is strongly felt and sprinkle the holy water.
I did this for an hour before opening the store one morning. Not sure it worked, however, I did feel much more at peace and unafraid.
Evil Things can Happen on Land that is Cursed
Apparently the holy water and the chanting at the ghost to leave did not work. Within days of doing this routine, we were served with a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Apparently, unknown to us, before we opened our business, during the building of the center, a man had fallen off the roof of the building. He did not die from the fall but received very serious injuries. He brought us into a lawsuit because the owner of the building would not compensate him for his injuries so he was suing everyone and anyone.
After being served with the lawsuit, my husband was working the store by himself when a strange kid came into the store, banished a gun and robbed him. We had two other armed robberies that followed. Coincidence or is the land cursed with evil?
If Holy Water is not the cure, how About Leaving an Offering?
Sam told us in Cambodia his people, as in other Asian cultures, believe if you leave an offering of food it will appease the spirits and they will leave you alone. Sam periodically would leave an offering of an orange and his half eaten cup of ice cream outside the door of our shop. He did this for several days and weeks. It did seem to stem the flow of ghostly incidents for a while. One day we noticed the offerings were disappearing. Were the spirits taking them? After a little investigation we found out where the offerings were going. Apparently the property manager did not like the idea of offerings being left for fear word would get around about the haunted shopping center. He did not want any ghost stories to be public knowledge as that was bad publicity.
We feared the stolen offerings would only served to upset the ghosts and cause us more problems.
The Final Ghostly Joke is On Us
After a few years of unexplained events, real or imagined along with the very real robberies and lawsuits, we made the decision, enough is enough. It was time to close our doors. We tried selling the business, we had no offers. We needed out!
We ran ads to sell off some of our equipment. We managed to sell some things but before we could escape the hauntings, the ghostly jokesters had to get one more prank on us before we could leave.
Early one morning way before any of the businesses in our center were open, I met with a prospective buyer of one of our ice cream makers. As I went over the features of the machine with the buyer, we both had our backs to the front door. I did not bother to lock the door thinking it was too early for anyone to be out. Suddenly an old familiar feeling came over me. It was not a good feeling, it was instead a feeling of creepiness with impending doom.
I turned to see a man standing in the middle of the store. We had not heard him enter the store. I looked at the heavy glass door of the store, it made no movement. The "man" stood there, staring not moving. He was bald. His fingernails were painted black. He wore an old jean jacket. Around his neck, he wore an obvious woman's scarf tied tightly around in a noose-like fashion. Instead of pant, this man-like ghost wore a long black skirt and on his feet were flip flops, but there was something odd about them, then I noticed they were women's sandals with a 3 inch heel. He had a nap sack-type purse flung over his shoulder cross ways. He had several bracelets on his wrists but they did not jingle apparently when he entered the store. He looked like an observer from another World. His eyes were an odd shade of unnatural blue. He was pale-very pale. I am not sure if he wore makeup to make him look pale or if that was his actual skin color.
Once I recovered from my shock of this strange being inside my store, I quickly said "sorry we are not open." He looked me up and down and said "When will you be open?" I told him we were closed forever and would be moving. I said "This man is buying our equipment." I had never seen this strange ghost person at my store. I had no idea who or what this being was, but it looked at me with sort of sad eyes and said "But I don't want you to leave" That struck me as an odd thing to say. I think I sort of giggled and said "Well too late, we are going. Sorry but you will need to leave." The ghost-or whatever he was-then said "I want to buy your store." Knowing he was not serious, I mumbled "well sorry. It is sold" hoping that would get this oddity out of my store. He replied with "But I have silver and gold." Who says that? Even more, who carries silver and gold? Someone who is not of this era or world maybe?
The buyer of my equipment and I repeated to the man he should leave, but he would not budge. Finally the buyer came out from the counter and made a move toward the being. Suddenly he disappeared. Evaporated. The glass door was not moving.
Baffled by what we saw and disbelieving what we saw, the buyer and I went back to discussing the ice cream machine. We did not say a word to each other about what had just occurred. I was given cash for the equipment and the buyer abruptly left, almost running out of the shop!
Are ghost real? I think so. My husband did not want to salvage anything from our store. He feared whatever was attracted to the location could grab onto anything we brought from there and haunt us forever. There were other weird and freaky things that happened at this store. I have not mentioned the voodoo doll our other employee Michael found on an outside table or the strange prank calls that sounded like they were coming from another place, like white noise. We finally got the message and left our little shop of horrors.
Happy haunting to you all! ;)