You’d expect to find spirits in a bar, but they’re usually the pour-it-yourself kind.
Patrons of the Legal Tender in Lamy, New Mexico, have long reported some sort of intangible “presence” at the bar, which sits on the site of a former saloon dating back to 1881, but things have reached a creepy pitch. one night earlier this month. .
Cindy Lu Jednak and Phillip Heard were sitting with their spouses at a table when they heard the unmistakable sound of a woman screaming coming from the restaurant’s kitchen.
They checked the kitchen but it was deserted, with the back door locked.
Spooky Saloon: Mysterious screams have been heard overnight at the historic Legal Tender bar.
“I don’t believe in ghosts,” said Heard, who works at Legal Tender. ‘There has to be an explanation for what that was. When I’m faced with something like this, I want to know the facts.
Two other members of the bar staff, Dachin Frances and Avery Young, say there is much more to the story than that blood-curdling scream;
“Here, even when you’re alone in a room,” Avery says, “you never feel alone.”
And Frances said that at the end of a shift she was getting ready to close up when she and her co-workers heard pots and pans clattering in the dark kitchen. As discretion proved to be the greater part of courage, they closed the door, locked it, and left.
Many employees refuse to stay in the establishment after closing time.
Ghost of an Opportunity: Christine Mackenzie of Galisteo, left, Lewis Hawkins of San Marcos, center, and Mike McMillan of Santa Fe play a round of faro in the Legal Tender poker room
There is too much evidence of a sepulchral presence to dismiss the story as a mixture of imagination and liquor.
Staff and customers alike have reported unexplained voices and what sounds like a heavy object being dragged across the floor of the main dining room. A chandelier hanging above that room has more than once begun to swing wildly without the slightest breath of wind.
For those who know Legal Tender, it makes sense that some of their long-dead clients are still around.
A business first opened at the Legal Tender site in the early 1880s, serving the trade brought by the newly built spur line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Somewhere along the way, the old saloon became known as the Pink Garter.
In the late 1960s, it was renamed Legal Tender under ownership of RO Anderson. ‘Wichita Lineman’ singer Glenn Campbell played there in its early days.
Those pots and pans rattle: the kitchen has been at the center of several of the ghostly happenings.
The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Over the years, several historical figures have passed through the Lamy area, including Teddy Roosevelt and Billy the Kid; The latter was reportedly on a train that stopped in Lamy on the way to serve a prison sentence in Santa Fe.
Darker figures also found their way through the town, and perhaps never quite left it: the border crosser supposedly shot by a stray bullet during a poker game gone wrong and the train passenger who supposedly died of appendicitis in a from the back rooms of the living room. For example.
Their spirits, known as the Man in Black and the Lady in White, have long been rumored to roam Legal Tender.
The spirit of a young girl is also connected to the site, although no one has ever discovered her backstory.
But Cindy recently met a woman in her 90s who lived in Lamy in the 1920s and remembers a playmate from that era who died of tapeworm at age 7 or 8. The two girls often visited the store that once stood on the site of the Law Course. Cindy also tells stories of kitchen workers who felt the invisible touch of a finger on their sides and a presence tightening the strings of their apron.
Cindy Lu isn’t afraid of the ghosts of legal tender, but she still has a flashlight on hand, just in case.
Cindy Lu’s nonprofit Learning Mind has teamed up with the Lamy Railway and History Museum to revitalize Legal Tender. She and other volunteer workers reopened the restaurant last spring. Serves food Thursday through Sunday, plus most holidays. The staff usually sit down for about half an hour after closing to talk about work and exchange ghosts. stories .
Parapsychologist Joni Alm has conducted about five investigations in Legal Tender over the past six months, using a high-tech audio recorder and a “ghost meter,” a device that records changes in electromagnetic fields and therefore could reveal paranormal energy.
That ghost meter flashes red when it encounters unexplained power, and it nearly went crazy during a recent nighttime tour of the kitchen area, around the same time a New Mexico photographer’s flashlight went out. The batteries were new. The flashlight worked fine when he left the restaurant.
On a recent October afternoon, a four-hour ghost hunt produced a chorus of unexplained noises: although Cindy admits that the ice machine sometimes makes a noise that sounds like a distant gunshot.
Alm’s ghost meter lit up when Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata was played: “If anything is going to bring out a ghost, it’s that,” Heard said.
On his audio recorder, Alm captured strange sounds, including what appeared to be ghostly whispers and, at one point, what appeared to be a man’s voice saying, “Go away.”
“I firmly believe there are multiple entities there, at least three,” he says.
She has felt that boy’s spirit in her presence at least twice, she said. She also feels a masculine energy. ‘There is no fear at all. In fact, she felt a sense of impatience from the spirit of the Man in Black, as if he wanted to take back her space,” she said, laughing.
Cindy has doubts that the Lady in White or the Man in Black are still around. She said several “cleansings” have occurred inside the building over the past two decades in an effort to exorcise the spirits, and perhaps these two veterans have vanished.
But Cindy is sure that a feisty feminine energy clings to the site. She has reason to believe that it is a more contemporary spirit, that of a young woman who disappeared in the area not long ago.
Cindy is reluctant to describe what happens at Legal Tender as disturbing. “It’s just a presence, an energy, of someone or something that’s here,” she said. ‘It is an energy from another era; Even from a different dimension.
And she said she is never afraid, not even when she hears inexplicable whispers or when other people call her name when she is alone in the building.