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Uncomfort Zone: Creepy Casey's

Casey Moore's employees tell haunting tales

 by Erika Wurst  published on Thursday, April 28, 2005

Casey Moore's Oyster House and Seafood Restaurant is said to be a pretty spooky place. With ghost sightings from owners, employees and patrons, the restaurant has even gained the attention of professional ghost  hunters. Pictured here is the 'Blue Room,' where most of the sightings and experiences are said to occur. 
/issues/arts/693131
Brandon Quester / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Casey Moore's Oyster House and Seafood Restaurant is said to be a pretty spooky place. With ghost sightings from owners, employees and patrons, the restaurant has even gained the attention of professional ghost hunters. Pictured here is the 'Blue Room,' where most of the sightings and experiences are said to occur.
 

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It was a Friday night at Casey Moore's Oyster House in Tempe, and the hostess had just sat a party upstairs in the "white room."

It was the group's first time visiting the Irish pub and they were admiring the old-world decor. Curious about one particular painting, they asked the waitress about its origin. She wasn't exactly sure, but tracked down Patty St. Vincent, the restaurant's owner, to answer the question.

David Schleifer, a bartender at the restaurant for nearly 12 years, says what happened next is no surprise. St. Vincent took one look at the picture and was in shock. She had never seen it before.

Even stranger was the fact that just months earlier, she had bolted down a different picture in the same spot where this new portrait now hung, bolted to the wall with no signs of alteration. The wood had not been damaged; the bolts were the original bolts that St. Vincent had used to secure the other painting to the wall. She was stumped, but not surprised.

Twenty years earlier, when she purchased the pub, the owners warned her that it was haunted.

Not a believer?

Most people aren't, at least until they have their own run-in with the ghost of Mary Moeur, who lived and died in the home, which she and her husband built in 1910.

Schleifer had his own encounter with the spirit more than 10 years ago. He was upstairs and was one of two people in the house on this particular evening when he suddenly felt someone creep up behind him.

"I could hear him working downstairs when I felt someone behind me. Sure enough, there it was," Schleifer says, describing a shadowy figure with flowing hair and an old-style dress. "No matter what anyone tells me, I saw it."

From playful tugs on their ties, to odd taps on the shoulder, the Casey Moore's bartenders have a million stories about the pranksters who loom around the restaurant. Table settings in the upstairs rooms will be completely rearranged by the time the morning shift arrives. Silverware will be lodged in the ceiling and the mysterious blinking of one upstairs light are common annoyances.

"It's eerie," Schleifer says. "You leave the room for four seconds, and all the stuff is up on the ceiling. I've seen that a couple times."

Schleifer says that the restaurant's general manager claims he can get responses from the ghosts via a light in one upstairs room.

"He talks to these things," he says. "He's in the house so much by himself that he believes they know who he is. He says the light blinks in response to his questions."

The light happens to be on the same circuit as the rest of the lights in the restaurant, is a on a timer and has no business blinking.

But it's not just employees who've had their fair share of spooks. Three different renters, all of whom do not know each other but have occupied the house across from the pub at one time or another, have called the police around 4 a.m. reporting a break-in. They claim to have seen a couple ballroom dancing in the upstairs room, Schleifer tells SPM. Each time police arrived on the scene to investigate, the alarms were in tact and there weren't any signs of forced entry.

"Those are stories that get Patty nervous," Schleifer says, laughing.

Stories like how one man claims he was dining upstairs and the female ghost came and sat in the empty chair next to him.

"He was freaked out," Schleifer says, adding that customers rarely have ghostly encounters at the pub. "Every now and then, a customer will say they saw something, but it's usually after a few drinks. 'I just saw the ghost,' they will say, slurring. 'He came up and told me he wants to buy me a drink.' I'm just like, 'Whatever, dude.' "

All jokes aside, Schleifer says that it's impossible to ignore what's been happening. "When you think of a ghost, you think of evil spirits," he says. "But these are pranks, they are childlike. I could care less, but the reality is, there's something going on here. It is what it is."

Trying to catch your own glimpse won't be easy, especially since the upstairs room where most of the haunting occurs is closed by the time the barflies make it to the Moeur's old backyard for a couple beers. Come early for dinner, though, and ask to sit upstairs, in the blue or white rooms, and you just might get lucky.

John Hostak has been working at the pub for just five months. He says he'll need to experience an eerie encounter for himself before he believes.

"It's spooky," Hostak says. "I believe it, but I'm also a skeptic. I need to experience things to believe them. Bigfoot could exist, too, but until I go camping with him, I ain't going to believe it."

Reach the reporter at erika.wurst@asu.edu.



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