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by Loyd Auerbach
first published in FATE Magazine, August 1998
More on The Moss Beach Distillery's Ghost…
I mentioned a while back that there'd be some interesting goings on at one of my favorite haunted restaurants, the Distillery in Moss Beach, CA (near San Francisco). For several years, I have been visiting there as both an investigator (of their ghostly "Blue Lady") and as a performer (of psychic entertainment).
As to the former, employees continue to report occasional goings on that can be attributed to the Blue Lady. As to the latter, last November, and again in April, psychic Annette Martin (see my columns in FATE, August and December 1996) doubled up with me for special evening events. During the events, I performed some mindreading and other psychic feats of the entertainment variety, while Annette ended up playing medium for the Blue Lady (who likes to be called Kate).
While I know some FATE readers may question this combination of pseudo-psychic display (me) and mediumship (Annette), the combination worked well for the audiences, for Annette, and for the ghost (after all, if anyone should be upset, it ought to be the psychic and the ghost).
Annette (or Kate, through Annette) provided us with more information each session about the Blue Lady than we had gotten before. Interestingly enough, there were a number of items Annette provided that had also been spoken by two other psychics (and one or two local witnesses) who had been in some sort of "contact" with the ghost. More interesting is the fact that these items were not common knowledge (I try to hold some things back from the public for just such situations).
The Blue Lady has passed along her opinion that she the more fun people have at the restaurant, the happier she is, so mixing magic and psychic is fine with her.
The April "show" was held for an audience of reporters to promote a new feature of the restaurant (I'll get to that in a moment). During the evening, reporters got to chat with Annette and I while being entertained by my fellow magician Robert Kane and palmist Michael Riley. I had them with their mouths open by the time I finished my act, and then Annette drew them in. It was a rare chance for a bunch of reporters to ask questions of both a psychic and a spirit.
Kate, who was knifed to death on the beach below the restaurant by her estranged husband during the early '30s, became upset whenever her husband was mentioned (outwardly, Annette portrayed Kate's distress). Very interestingly, the two electromagnetic field detectors I had beside Annette, which each measure different frequency ranges, BOTH began registering high readings whenever the subject of the husband came up (but not at any other time).
Annette and I will continue these events at the Distillery beginning in the fall, so if you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, check the place out.
The new feature of the restaurant I mentioned above is a series of reenactments. John Barbour, the owner of the Distillery, wondered what would happen if the ghost was "helped" along with a few special effects reenactments. I, too, wondered whether such effects would help or hinder the ghostly goings on and the events reported by visitors. Fortunately, there is a model of psychic functioning that says, basically, that a little artificial help can actually increase paranormal occurences.
That model, put succinctly by the late British psi researcher Kenneth Batcheldor, was used to great success by the Philip Circle in Canada a number of years ago (see the book CONJURING UP PHILIP: An Adventure in Psychokinesis by Iris M. Owen with Margaret Sparrow). A little fun "trickery" can help witnesses get over their inhibitions of actually acknowledging the phenomena.
Therefore, strictly for the fun and amazement of the restaurant's patrons (and perhaps because the ghost is not active every day), the Moss Beach Distillery has installed a few "special effects" designed as reenactments of some of the more frequently reported happenings cause by the Blue Lady.
The reenactments are directly related to past reported (and often repeated) events attributed to Kate, the Blue Lady. These include: swinging lamps above the bar, sounds of honky tonk pianos and people partying where no such sounds should be, strange rapping noises coming from many places at once, the shadow of a figure moving across a stained glass window in one of the dining rooms, a chair in the entryway bouncing up and down, and a ghostly face that appears in the mirror in the ladies room.
There'll be some controversy over these effects, I'm sure." Disbelievers will claim that it's been a hoax all along. To them I can say we know when these effects went into operation, and it's recent! The effects can't account for the decades of experiences reported by so many people, including people who knew nothing of the "legend" of the Blue Lady.
What of the folks at the opposite end of the spectrum from the debunkers? True believers of spiritual phenomena may note that such reenactments will insult the ghost, make her go away. If that were true, the TV coverage, including reenactments shot by UNSOLVED MYSTERIES and a forthcoming show on the History Channel would have already affected her. Not so. There are still non-effects related events being reported.
In fact, even David Richardson of D.R. & Associates, who installed the effects, has been experiencing a number of events and encounters with the Blue Lady as he and his crew have worked after hours. And Annette Martin has assured me in her contacts with Kate (and we've asked Kate more directly when Annette's been channeling her) that she is happy with anything that will draw people to the restaurant. The ghost has made one emphatic point to each of the psychics and other witnesses who have asked her why she's still there: she likes to be around people, especially people who are happy, since she (the ghost) expects her lost love (a piano player at the original restaurant she was in love with before she died) to also be drawn there.
At present, I have the owner and others on the lookout for reported events at the Distillery. Since we know what and the reenactments are and exactly when they happen (computer control), we can eliminate the effects, and look at what's left over more readily. I expect that more people will report things via asking an employee "how's that effect work, anyway" (no longer any fear of ridicule for witnessing an event that would otherwise have no explanation).
Copyright 1998, FATE magazine
Loyd Auerbach, M.S.
Instructor, HCH Institute Parapsychological Studies
Director, The Office of Paranormal Investigations
Paranormal Research Organization
Adjunct Professor, JFK University
Advisory Board, Rhine Research Center
Scientific Advisory Board, Forever Family Foundation
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