I am a confirmed skeptic who had my very own brush with the “supernatural” not long ago. It was served up at lunch, oddly enough, and was made out of two coincidences combined with a heavy dollop of insufficient data – the perfect recipe for a poltergeist story, if not legend. I’ll give you the details and see if you agree with my conclusion, that “supernatural” belongs in quotation marks.
All the details will make this run to a long word count, so I have to make it a two-part blog. (By the way, this blog is not a promo for the new movie, Poltergeist!)
Last September I was having lunch with a friend at this restaurant in Ashland, Massachusetts. Stone’s Public House. We were out on the patio of this place, seated in wrought iron chairs with a wrought iron table. The floor was made of staggered rows of brick with no mortar showing between them. (This is all relevant, I guarantee!)
We were talking about movies, and I said that you can’t sell a story about real life anymore because the public has to have “tales of the supernatural.” I was going to list other kinds of stories the public wants instead of real life, but as I was pronouncing the word supernatural, as it was leaving my lips, it felt like someone kicked the right rear leg of my chair.
I don’t want to exaggerate the sensation. I didn’t go flying across the room. The chair didn’t move at all, except that it reverberated. Being wrought iron, it vibrated like a dinner bell. Something had struck my chair, but nobody was there when I looked over my shoulder.
It became all the more eerie as I saw that there was no space for anyone to be there without being seen. I had a brick wall to my back a few feet away, and there was only limited space on the sides. Seeing how unusual this was, I had the presence of mind to immediately replay the sound of the reverberation in my mind as a fresh memory, to try to estimate how long it lasted. I figured it took between two and three seconds for the chair to start and stop vibrating. And that is with all 235 pounds of me sitting on it.
I tried to replicate the event by moving the feet of the chair across the brickwork, thinking that maybe a foot had caught on a brick, and some pressure had been somehow applied and released with a sound. I couldn’t get it to do that.
I said to my pal, “Just now as I said the word ‘supernatural,’ it felt like someone kicked the leg of my chair.” (The timing of the “kick” was coincidence #1 of 2.)
He said, “Well, some people think this place is haunted.”
At the time I shrugged it off, thinking that one incident does not make a pattern, and who knows what hit that chair. I didn’t really examine the area of the floor around us. Maybe somebody’s baseball was sitting off to one side. But again, there wasn’t space enough for something to be thrown at us from anywhere, and I heard nothing bounce across the floor.
Months went by, and one night I felt like going out to eat. I remembered Stone’s Public House in Ashland, and thought I would see if they had a web site with a menu. So, the search engine produces their name, and directly underneath it was another entry: Stone’s Public House/ghosts.
So, I click that one. Lo and behold the place is Ghost Story Central. For decades all kinds of weird encounters have been reported there. (Coincidence #2. The location.) It’s listed in something called “Most Haunted Pubs in America.” Local folks have investigated, in all-night vigils with tape recorders and movie cameras. One of those abysmal ghost investigator shows on cable TV did a segment at Stone’s. Then I checked their Yelp reviews, which turned out to be variations on a theme:
Yelp review of 11-3-14
I would definitely return for the food and service. I am also familiar with the ghost stories which have been told to me by numerous servers as well as a previous owner or manager. I’ve never experienced the supernatural here but I always keep an open mind.
They offer live music many days of the week, which is a nice touch. Legend has it that the building is haunted, however, I personally have not experienced any supernatural happenings (although many people have).
We were sitting at a table next to a door that leads outside (out onto the patio area maybe.) Anyway, no wind at all that day but the door swung open as if someone had been sitting outside and was coming back in but I didn’t see anyone. It stayed wide open for several seconds, closed, then reopened again about halfway before closing again after another minute.
… This place is way better than some dopey sports bar.
PS- It’s haunted as all hell, so if that interests you then it’s incentive enough.