March 2004 - Ashley's Restaurant - Rockledge, Florida


Owen
Christyn
Diana
Karen
Dennis
Greg
Ellen
Eddie
Gretchen
Jeff

Legend:

There are a number of ghosts believed to be haunting the restaurant, one is believed to be a poltergeist. Another ghost will often "play" with employees and guests. The building is right on the railroad tracks and it is rumored that a woman by the name of Ethel Allen was either killed by a train or murdered in the bathroom. The image of a woman has been seen coming out of bathroom stalls and as an image in the mirrors. There is also another ghost of a young boy or man believe to be here. He was either killed on the railroad tracks out back, or on the highway in front.

Patrons report feeling like they were being choked in the hallway. Cooking items and dishes are thrown and smashed. TVs in the bar turn on and off by themselves. Furniture is rearranged in front of your eyes.

History:

Ashley's restaurant is one of the most well known haunts in the state of Florida. It seems that this local bar & tavern attracts more than just repeat costumers. There are a number of stories out there why this is so, but not many are supported with hard evidence. The only thing I could really find out about Ashley's is that the building was built in the 1920's and has been a bar type establishment ever since. It's had various names and different owners throughout the years, but it became Ashley's in 1985. What happened there on the property before the structure was built has been a mystery for some time now. I have not seen anything concrete, just a lot of speculating.

One such speculation, is that around the turn of the century a train station stood where Ashley's is today. This could be possible since the railroad tracks run so close. The station burned down to the ground leaving nothing but the foundation, allegedly killing some people inside. Then some time later in the 1920s a building was built using the same foundation and general layout.

Another explanation for the haunts is that the land Ashley's is built on use to be an ancient indian burial ground. It's funny how almost 90% of the haunted stories I come across seem to start that way. In any case, it's unlikely that this is true. Indians of that area liked to bury their dead close to the water. Ashley's is too far inland, and seems very unlikely that the indians would pick there to bury their dead. I will not dismiss that possibility, but there's just no proof.

The legend directly mentions two other possibly sources of the haunting. It mentions a young boy or man being killed either on US 1 in front of the restaurant, or out back on the train tracks. The spirit of this person is supposed to haunt the establishment. I could not find anything to support this claim. I'm not saying it didn't happen, just saying there's no proof. The train does come uncomfortable close to the structure. Take a look at the menu cover to the left, you can see the train pictured behind the building.

The other possible source as stated by the legend centers around a woman by the name of Ethel Allen. It says she was either killed by a train or murdered in the bathroom. In speaking with a man by the name of Charlie Carlson, a florida folk historian and author, said that Ethel Allen was not killed like that. In fact, she was murdered elsewhere and her burned mutilated body was dumped in the Indian River. Mr. Carlson has conducted much research on Ashley's in the past, he's even filmed a documentary there, and added that out of all the stories connected with Ashley's the Ethel Allen story is the only one that actually has some type of physical evidence to support it in the form of some newspaper clippings and a grave. Mr. Carlson went on to say that after hearing all the stories and conducting all the research on Ashley's, and if he were to believe in this kind of thing, it's more likely a poltergeist haunting than the regular ghost variety.

Whatever the case, something seems to be going on here. In June 1993 a television pilot called HAUNTED AMERICA filmed inside of Ashley's. The show never made it to air, but the crew did see some very strange things, and experienced a variety of technical problems, like there fully charged batteries running low in a matter of seconds. A full account of that nights events can be found here.

Inspired by this transcription, and from my correspondences with Charlie Carlson, I will be sure to bring multiple cameras and plenty of batteries along with me on this hunt. Since this is believed to be a poltergeist haunt, I'm going to bring a Ouija board as well, because any ghost hunter worth his weight in ectoplasm knows not to mix the two. If there are such things as ghosts, I'm feeling confident that this could be the chance to finally make contact...

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Saturday, March 27, 2004:

We arrived at Ashley's around 7:30pm. As you walk through the front door you immediately see a bar, and to the right of this bar is the women's bathroom and a staircase. Our table was past the staircase and around a little partition so that our group could have some privacy. Charlie Carlson was able to come out and join us. He also invited Ryan Lewis, the film maker that directed the documentary that was filmed here.

While we waited for our meals we were encouraged, by the staff, to look around take pictures and ask questions. Everyone that worked at Ashley's were extremely nice and ready to share their experiences. I don't think there was one person that worked there for more than a month that didn't have some kind of story to tell. However I did notice a lot of the stories were of things that happened to other people.

VIDEO:

Also while we waited, Mr. Carlson tested the group. At one point he pointed to a dark corner of the room and claimed to see a man in a top hat. He began to snap photos and really sold it, as if something was really seeing something there. Gretchen said that at the same moment she saw a figure with a top hat, and I believe Karen said she thought she saw some mist or something that looked like heat waves, but when she tried to focus on it, there was nothing there. No one else said they could see a thing, including myself. Later on, Mr. Carlson told me that he never saw anything and just wanted to see if by the power of suggestion, what others would see...or think they see. I am not sure if this is were Charlie got his ghost from or not, but on the cover of the menu there is a ghost wearing a top hat (see the picture above in the History). I believe it is entirely plausible that subconsciously Gretchen, who seemed to see a very similar version of what Charlie described, may have seen that drawing on the menu earlier and at that moment wanted to see what Charlie saw, so her mind flashed that image.

Charlie said that the ghost ran into the men's bathroom, so I went in there and took a few photos later on, hoping something would show up. Needless to say, I don't see anything.

The lighting in Ashley's is definitely moody. Large shadows were cast upon the walls. If one was to look quickly at some areas of the restaurant, I could see how some people might think they see something like a figure or a man in a top hat. I asked a couple of the employees if they had ever seen a man in a top hat before, but none of them ever had, nor did they ever hear of anyone seeing a ghost like that. I asked about the menu drawing, and they were not sure.

In any case, since I still at that time believed they really saw something, I got my chance to premiere the new SpookHunters uniform! Talk about sexy. A full orange jumpsuit with a bunch of patches from former spookhunts. The patches didn't stay on since they were iron on, but it was a successfully funny premiere anyway.

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I brought along a digital voice recorder with hopes of capturing something strange on that. Karen went into the women's bathroom with it alone, but nothing happened and after reviewing the recording, there was nothing out of the ordinary on it either. I would have included it on the web page, but I accidentally deleted it. Christyn and I also got a chance to explore the women's restroom. we spent some time in there, but again nothing happened. I wasn't choke, and Christyn wasn't harassed.

After we were through eating. The group split up, some went up stairs where furniture tends to move by itself and strange sounds can be heard, while a few of us went out by the train tracks to take some pictures. I did manage to get this strange recording outside while on the tracks, but something tells me it's not a ghost.

EVP:
VIDEO:

We then returned inside and joined the rest of the group upstairs. The night begins to get interesting. The Ouija board is out. Karen and Gretchen are operating it while Greg observes. Now, I do not believe that Karen or Gretchen or anyone else that was there that night, would purposely mislead or fake a Ouija board session. Karen and Gretchen both seemed to get genuinely upset by some things it was spelling out, however everything it said seemed to link back to them in some way, and once an idea was planted in the operators mind, the board went in that direction. All this will be explained in more detail soon. Below are the two sheets of paper where all the letters that the Ouija board pointed to were written.


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First thing the board spells out was 'Ellen'. That's Greg's wife's name. Karen is uncomfortable at the current time and gets up, so Greg then sit's down and takes over for her. The board then Spells out 'Elijah'. Elijah is Gretchen's Godson's name. She gets shaken by that and can't go on. Karen then sit's back down with Greg and tries to get something going again. The board spells out stuff like 'look' and 'faraway'.

VIDEO:

Also at this same time, some of the others were looking around the upstairs. They found warm spots. That's right, warm, not cold. There would be AC vents that were obviously on, but 5 feet away from them it would be very warm. You could walk from one side of the room to the other and feel two or three distinct temperature changes. I personally feel that Ashley's is an old building with circulation issues, but it was still interesting.

To the left a very defined orb can be seen. Is it dust, dirt or demon? The booth in this picture is only a few feet away from where they were doing the Ouija board.

While this is going on, Diana feels something on her face. A tingling or something. Here in her own words from an E-mail that she sent to me, she describes what happened.

"It happened twice but I didn't think anything of it till it happened the 2nd time. When I was near the outside of the bathroom door by the salad area I felt it the first time. I didn't think anything of it because of the cough attack I had 5 or so minutes prior. When it happened upstairs is when I recalled the first time. Remember when Jeff said for me to come over to feel the difference in temperature in the corner. I left the Ouija board area and walked past the top of the stairs and right there is when I felt it again. It felt like a tingling on my cheeks. I have no idea what it was."

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Now here is where something happens that I really can't explain. Because there was such a large group of people I brought some motorola talkabouts with me. Just two. As I sit down to join Greg and Karen on the board and start to place my hands on it, my radio goes off. I thought it was someone else just messing with me. Then as we get ready to actually start it rings for a second time. Like I said, I don't think anything of it because I figure someone has the other one and they are playing a game or something with me. However when reviewing the video, the other radio is on Greg's side, and it is never touched. Another thing is that Greg's radio it is definitely on. You can see the green light blinking on the video. And when you alert the radios in that fashion to make that noise, they both go off...but his didn't, only mine. I thought maybe there was interference from something outside, but again, they both would have went off, not just the one.

VIDEO:

Since I'm not comfortable with the whole Ouija board thing anyway, I get up and let Jeff sit in my place. They ask the ghost of Elijah if he is still there and he is, but he seems to be warning us of some kind of danger and is telling us to run. They ask him his age and he says that he is four. I then ask the group if Elijah was killed on the tracks. At first everyone says no, but then I push the issue saying one of the legends was that a little boy was hurt like that. So they ask the board and it comes back with a 'yes'. Here is an example I believe of the power of suggestion. Like I've said already, I don't think karen or anyone else was purposely misleading anyone, but it makes sense that if there was a legend of a little boy getting killed on the tracks, and a little boy is apparently talking on the board, they must be one in the same. Keep in mind though, the name Elijah started out as the same name a Gretchen's Godson. Also I looked for a news article or something like that that mentioned a child by the name of Elijah getting killed or hurt on the train tracks in rockledge, but didn't find anything. I'm however not a professional, so if anyone else can find something please E-mail it to me.

Karen then starts to become a little emotional. It's becoming clear that this ghost child is alone and wants help. Karen leads the boy to the light and then the board stops.

VIDEO:

Karen, Greg, and Jeff then try to contact another spirit. They do and this one too says 'run'. Karen leaves the board. The Emotional strain is obviously too much. Jeff and Greg continue to try and contact something, but to no avail. Just a lot of gibberish.

After a few minutes Jeff leaves and Karen returns. Immediately a spirit is talking. Either Karen has a connection to ghosts or subconsciously she may be projecting scenarios onto the board. Anyway, this ghost gives warnings about being outside, and keeps referring to a 'mean man'. The ghosts then asks for me to leave because I 'joke'. It asks that I go outside by the train tracks and wait for it to hit me in the arm to prove to me that it exists. I do go outside and wait, but nothing happens. I tell Jeff and Christyn, who followed me out there, that when Ii go back in I am going to tell them that I felt something hit me in the arm just to see what the boards says.

When I return, Karen is gone and Greg and Gretchen sit by the board. I tell them I was hit, and sure enough the board confirms that I was hit. I believe this is another great example of the power of suggestion. It's not a lie on the part of the users of the board, just a subconscious reality being played out for us to see.

VIDEO:


In the mean time Karen was called to the women's restroom alone by a spirit through the Ouija board. She returns shortly after I let everyone know I wasn't really hit. She said the board demanded she go down there. So she did, but nothing happened.

With that the night pretty much ended. I seriously doubt that Ashley's is haunted. The over all feeling from the staff was that stuff use to happen a lot, but not so much anymore. It sounds to me that if ghosts and poltergeist do exist, they've moved on from this place. There were a couple of strange things that happened, like my radio going off, but I am sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for that. I do feel comfortable in saying that I think Ouija boards are nothing more than a very clever illusion. An illusion that doesn't even need an illusionist, but rather uses a person subconscious and faith in the afterlife to work. Maybe I'm wrong, but I find it hard that a glow in the dark board game that was bought at Toys R' Us for less than $20 can produce results anything more credible than a magic 8-ball. While having plenty spirits behind the bar, Ashley's came up short with the ghostly ones.

VIDEO:
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Conclusion:
Rating: Average rating: 3.4896067415729 178 Ratings
HAUNTEDMaybeWho CaresDoubtfulHell No!