Last Call: Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Every bar has “issues.” For a couple of weeks a while back, J&J’s Hideaway was swarming with fruit flies. The Cellar’s jukebox is from 1992. The Library has frat brats.
Behind West Seventh Street, on White Settlement Road, is a little bar called V.I.P.’s that when it comes to “issues” has much bigger, ectoplasmic fish to fry.
“Recently, some of the supernatural activities have been happening more and more,” said V.I.P. owner Becky Baker. “Our brand new jukebox player has been playing backwards. One of the neon beer signs went off. Some things get blown out in here, and we don’t know why.”
Sources both behind and on the other side of the bar, including regulars and even the beer delivery guy, all say that the joint — suspiciously located across the street from Greenwood Cemetery — is haunted.
Bartender J.J. claims that one night she heard a continuous racket coming from the back, where she kept finding dishware repeatedly “knocking itself onto the floor.” One customer recalled watching the lights above the billiards table shake. Though she had been drinking (a lot), the customer said she’s confident in what she saw.
Said V.I.P. regular Sheila: “One time, I saw an older man looking around the corner from the kitchen area. I followed him there, and he disappeared. He couldn’t have been a bum or anything because we had the back door bolted.”
Stuff like this has reportedly been happening at V.I.P.’s for years with little fanfare, until one night not too long ago, when Baker and some of her crew were stirred by the sound of car doors slamming — at a time when everybody who’d been in the bar that night had already gone home. Baker and company duly broke out a Ouija-like apparatus to try to get some answers. Even though the séance didn’t reveal anything, the V.I.P. crew has been a tad freaked-out ever since.
“I’m still not sure if they’re old friends or drifters from the cemetery,” Baker said. “At one time we thought it was a customer from a long time ago. Bob was something of a prankster. He always told us that after he died he would come back.”
Local psychic/fortune teller Annie doesn’t think the cemetery has anything to do with the alleged haunting. “Something must have happened there many years ago, because ghosts can’t cross a road,” she said. “Why? I don’t know. Their spirit doesn’t let them. Bob could have died on or around the property in a house or something. He could walk from yard to yard there. He just can’t cross the road.”
While other bars might cringe at the thought of being haunted, V.I.P.’s is kind of embracing the phenomenon. The ghosts are actually becoming part of the scene.
“They like to play with [my fiancé] when he goes to the commode,” Sheila said. “He puts the seat up, and we’ll go in there 10 minutes later when we know for sure nobody’s been in there, and the seat’s back down.”
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