Flagstaff, AZ—We heard through the grapevine some folks were having strange experiences at one of the local brewpubs…not the kind of experiences usually associated with half-priced drink specials. All kinds of spooky things were happening after hours at Flagstaff Brewing Company. Looks like the Ghost Blunders were going to have to put in some overtime on this one. One of the managers, Marcus, called us in dire need of assistance. Okay, we called him, but he was willing to let us do our thing if we promised not to break anything.
Marcus explained how some of the staff was becoming increasingly “weirded out” at the end of their shifts. Strange occurrences made staff increasingly uncomfortable closing shop in both the brewery and the adjacent café, where our friend Marcus is the main hasta barista, baby!
Some staff claimed to hear the sound of children playing and splashing in one of the mop closets. Allegedly, two children drowned on that very spot some 80-years ago. But, as a natural skeptic, I already had a theory: maybe it was just one staff’s ill-advised daycare plan.
“Like… guys, no one go in the mop closet. Umm, there will be ghost children playing in there clear up to the end of my shift.”
Yeah, I wasn’t buying it, not yet. During a related historical and extensive Google search we were able to retrieve this important image….
Er…I found this while searching drowned children and flagstaff. Well, it’s one theory of what happened to the children. We can’t rule Frankenstein out, is my point. The timing is about right and he does love the skiing here. The Google Gods revealed nothing else about this creepy drowning incident, but, in all fairness, I only searched the words Jessica Alba and naked, which might have been part of the problem.
We thanked Marcus for the information and reminded him of our strict ‘free beer during the investigation’ policy, which he immediately put a limit on (I knew we shouldn’t have brought Bone man! His Viking-like consumption is legendary in Flag).
But, today I decided our resident Viking was going to lead this investigation. Indeed, it was time for Alex Bone to flap his over-sized pterodactyl wings and fly. He’s been waiting a long time for his chance to show the team his skills and, boy, were we sorry.
He immediately put on some latex gloves—never really explained why—and then pulled out some divining rods. Bald Tony, Cokie, and I stared in disbelief as he jerked the divining rods around wildly, uttered a strange guttural chant, and started interviewing random bar patrons (all at the same time).
Whereas one of the waitresses, Carolyn (left), never experienced anything paranormal at Flagbrew, she did report having almost constant nightmares about the place. Heh, heh.
For those of you unfamiliar with my important para-abnormal theories, there’s a good summary at the end of my recent Durango investigation. In a nut shell, the Ghost Blunders tend to find apparitions around beer (ecto-pilsner formed phenomena) or dead animal heads (taxidermically emanated manifestations). In our ghost misadventures, places with both of these elements tended to be the most haunted spots. I really felt our team was starting to contribute meaningful insights to the field of para-abnormal research…and then the pot wore off.
As a brewery, Flagbrew was obviously lousy with beer, but I don’t remember seeing any dead animals on the walls?
Er, except this one…
That’s no ordinary rabbit! Look at the bones! Okay, it looks like a rabbit with antlers being ridden by some type of creepy 50s ventriloquist’s dummy. Pee Wee Herman, maybe? That’s scary. Run away! Run away!
While Cokie and the Great Bald watched more of the Alex Bone show, I took 107 pictures of this rabbit-thing in the hopes of capturing a taxidermically emanated manifestation. Four AA batteries later, I determined this rabbit—er, with antlers being ridden by some type of creepy 50s ventriloquist’s dummy, possibly Pee Wee Herman—was not haunted. I then declared to staff and patrons alike that, “This hare is clean.” (Just be thankful the Bugs Banshee joke was omitted).
After the interviews in the main bar room, we headed to the back where there are allegedly more ghosts and, more importantly, beer tanks. The staff almost immediately caught our fearless leader sucking on one of the tank vat hoses.
“Dude, that’s a backwash fermentation hose thingie!”
The warning did not stop Alex and the hose needed to be wrestled from his hands by brewery personnel. Not five minutes into our investigation of the back room and we were already on probation. Nice, real nice. I can explain, Marcus!
Learning from our past séance mistakes, like our ill-fated Yahtzee séance at the nearby Weatherford Hotel, we used beer as the bait for this establishment’s ghostly residence. I strongly believe that ghosts require brew energy to appear. It’s a force yet to be identified by science known as ecto-pilsner. Of course, these spirits were supposed to be children when they died, so did they drink? Is the beer attractive to those who imbibed in life, or do spooks use the beer itself to manifest? More importantly was Cokie going to be able to flirt her way to another round of free beers for everyone?
Each member of the team entered the haunted mop closet, beer in hand, and agreed to be locked in there for no less than 30 minutes or until they kicked their pint (cue spooky pipe organ music).
Yours truly, the first to take the plunger, reported feeling a strange cold experience on my legs, which turned out to be some beer I’d accidentally spilled on my pants. It was really hard to concentrate, especially when right outside the door I could hear Alex Bone, renegotiating our ‘free beer during the investigation’ policy with Marcus and Cokie, had apparently found some letter magnets. She was busy creating a whole slew of important phrases that she then felt the need to share with everybody. Professionals…I need to get some.
Meanwhile, Alex Bone immediately emerged from the closet, utterly horrified! He had forgotten his beer. Cokie McGrath was the most uncomfortable during the experience, especially since everyone periodically tried joining her in the closet. And perhaps the most telling evidence, due to societal pressures, Bald Tony never came out of the closet at all. Boo!
During the séance we captured two ghostly orbs. One above Bald Tony’s head and the other above Alex Bone’s. Dos Orbies? I don’t always hunt for ghosts, but when I do I try to drink for free. Hey, have we found the most interesting manifestation in the world?
When all our ‘free beer’ negotiations broke down, our fearless leader took the news a little hard.
The beer obviously worked at manifesting these brewery spooks, but too many questions remained. Who were they? Why wouldn’t they leave this brewery? Why can’t they make it through the portal…at least over to that tapas place across the alley? Then something happened that blew this case wide open. Bald Tony spotted Marcus, the same man who originally enlisted our aid, sucking on one of those same vat hoses! Everything fell into place. He was probably scaring people away at night so he had all the beer to himself! Like a bad day at the air show, things were all starting to fall together.
The Ghost Blunders all confronted Marcus about the strange sounds, the spooked staff, the less than liberal beer rations. We tried to pull off his mask, but it was still Marcus—now in angrier form.
After our reenactment of the dentist scene from the movie Marathon Man, he caved like a South African mine on an active fault line. He admitted he had made up the stories to scare the staff. He did it just so he could keep all the beer for himself! He said he would confess to anything provided we would get the hell out and stop frightening the other customers.
And then he said, “And I would have gotten away with it to, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”
Finally, we had a proper Scooby Doo ending…except for the one small fact that it’s all bullshit. We got orbs, we have strange stories, but at the end of the day we have more questions than answers. Let’s just blame Marcus anyway. Agreed?
|Alex Bone, Cokie McGrath, Mick Zano, and "Vegas Great" Bald Tony
|The Ghost Blunders