Halloween: Ghost stories

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Ringside Cafe

19 N. Pearl St., Downtown

Based strictly on stereotypes of buff dudes who own political-and-boxing-themed bars, Adrian Rosu doesn't seem like the type of guy who would believe in ghosts.

He didn't until Aug. 25.

Employee Tyler Cooper came into the building around 9:30 a.m. that morning. He says he saw a figure standing in the corner by the basement doorway. Then the figure headed to the stairs - straight through an industrial-sized fan.

Sufficiently freaked out, Cooper says he didn't run out of the building until bartender Kim MacPherson came in and described the apparition in perfect detail.

"I had seen it multiple times in the corner," MacPherson said, "but I work with all guys and didn't want to say anything. I knew I'd never live it down."

Rosu was skeptical, so he turned his attention to the security tapes. At 4:43 a.m. that morning, the cameras, which turn on when they detect motion, start showing footage of a light floating around the room.

At about 6:06 a.m., the tape shows the light moving downstairs. There are no windows down there, so there's no way for light to seep in, Rosu says.

"For so many of my staff to have seen it and for these cameras to only come on when motion is sensed," Rosu said, "it has to be something."

MacPherson and Cooper describe that "something" as tall, dark and spooky.

"He has a top hat, he's dressed in all black and he's really, really tall," MacPherson said.

Ringside certainly has a history that could enamor potential ghosts. Open since 1897, it's served as a ring for politicians to duke it out after-hours and was a speakeasy during Prohibition, according to Dispatch archives.

The staff says they think the ghost is the building's architect, whose photo hands on the wall. He is lanky and wears a top hat. Another tale holds that a bar owner who died in 1993, Clem Amorose, also visits from beyond the grave.

"We sometimes see a figure who is bigger sitting in the first booth," MacPherson said, "and a couple of our regulars recently told us that Clem used to sit there and smoke cigars."

"I was not a believer," Rosu says, who bought the bar last September. "I definitely am now."

Ghostbuster ranking: Four Slimers. Tell this story while eating your Angus burger in the first booth.

Studio 35

3055 Indianola Ave., Clintonville

The theater's most recent paranormal experience happened this month, says owner Eric Brembeck. The women's restroom was being remodeled, and the cleaning crew heard someone crying in it. They kept going to check, but there was no one nearby and the sound would stop as soon as they got close.

Other stories involve a dog ghost and a man in a military uniform who is said to occasionally come sit in the seat he died in while watching a movie. Oh, and an employee's child once kept asking to play with the children by the stage, but there was no one there.

Brembeck doesn't really buy it. "But I believe in aliens, oddly enough," he said.

Ghost buster ranking: Three Slimers. These stories are weird, but Brembeck says they've had a couple of paranormal investigations and only one returned evidence of a haunting.

Palace Theatre

34 W. Broad St., Downtown

The story floating around is that after CAPA bought the theater in the late '80s, a seance was held in the lobby. A medium tried to contact Howard Thurston, the rival of magician Harry Blackstone Sr.

Instead of getting Thurston, the medium supposedly called upon a man who had had a stroke and died in the theater. The medium had a stroke in the process.

Ghostb uster ranking: One Slimer. Sounds like the lady had a medical emergency and blamed it on a ghost. CAPA officially denies any haunting.

Char Bar

439 N. High St., Short North

There are tunnels running under Columbus that connect to the building's basement. Ghosts supposedly lurk down there, where thirsty patrons head to use the restroom.

Ghostbuster ranking: Two Slimers. The thought of seeing a ghost with your pants down is scary.