Whiskey has a long and colorful history, with more than a little bit of it being the less legal, gun-toting variety. There was the Whiskey Rebellion put down by our government (which led to today’s lovely taxes and the rebellion leader still haunting his plantation in Louisiana), and all the gangster shenanigans – Al Capone, born right in Williamsburg, Lucky Luciano, who brought organization to crime in NYC, even Bonnie & Clyde (the former possibly being less gun moll than she was portrayed). Some of these men and women decided that one lifetime wasn’t enough and are said to still hang around the places they died. Think so? Grab your glass for a little liquid courage, read on and decide for yourself!
Over at 279 Water Street, sits the Bridge Cafe, that’s been serving customers in one fashion or another since 1794. I say “in one fashion or another” because apparently the upper floors were also used as a brothel at several points in Cafe’s history. It seems that some of these ladies (and maybe their patrons) have hung around since and cause of a bit of a scare from time to time. Stop by and ask manager Adam about it. To read more about it or to learn about the history of other dive bars in NYC, grab a copy of Bucket List Bars.
Just outside Syracuse, there’s a small village named Baldwinsville. There’s a stretch of road named Whiskey Hollow that’s some two miles long, connecting the more traveled thoroughfares of the village. It’s said to have been the site of KKK meetings, Satan worshippers that practiced ritual sacrifices, and suicide by hanging of a grief-stricken widow. Or is it just a misunderstood stretch of unpaved road, enjoyed by hikers and other visitors to the area? Go ahead and find out, if you dare….
Located in Big Bear, home of many skiers and snowboarders in what passes for winter here, and mountain bikers in the summer, you can find Whiskey Dave’s. Legend has it that Dave was a regular during Prohibition, and liked women almost as much as he liked his whiskey. Whiskey Dave met the lovely Lulu, married her and knocked her up in short order. What he didn’t know was the that town Sheriff, “Lefty” Dalton, also had his eye on Lulu. Not to be outmaneuvered, Lefty didn’t warn Dave about a raid – which ended with Whiskey Dave going to prison for bootlegging. Three years later, shortly after Dave finally got out of prison at the end of Prohibition (and Lefty had high-tailed it to Alaska), Dave’s young daughter died from pneumonia. What’s a good ghost story without vengeance?! Ten years later, Lefty made the mistake of coming back to town – and into the bar where Whiskey Dave was sitting. Dave’s knife in his gut, Lefty shot Whiskey Dave with the gun from his boot and that was that. They say Whiskey Dave’s buried under the bar, and his spirit still hangs around. I’m willing to bet that the story of Whiskey Dave was written by some enterprising marketing person….are you? Wanna go?
If you’ve driven in to Vegas from points west, you’ve gone through Stateline – a small collection of casinos, just about 50 miles outside the bright lights of the Strip. If you’re like most of us heading that way, you want to get to your hotel, whiskey and maybe a blackjack table (mostly in that order) as quickly as possible, so you probably haven’t stopped in Stateline. What you’re missing is Whiskey Pete’s. Back in the 1920s, Pete MacIntyre was a gas station owner, but he was having a hard time making ends meet, so he decided bootlegging whiskey was the answer. When he died, he asked to be buried standing up, with a bottle of his whiskey in his hand. Fast-forward a few years, and the Casino Age begins (no dinosaurs and the only ice you’ll find is in drinks). Two casinos were built, Whiskey Pete’s and Buffalo Bill’s, and some enterprising soul decided to construct a bridge connecting the two. What they didn’t count on was disturbing Pete MacIntyre’s soul – and body to boot! During construction, they accidentally dug up Pete’s unmarked grave (and they’re pretty sure it’s Pete, or at least that dead guy had a bottle of whiskey in his hand, too!) They reburied the body in one of the caves that Pete supposedly made his moonshine in, but he doesn’t seem to have been super happy about being disturbed. Guests repeatedly report eerie sightings while gambling in the casino. Is it Whiskey Pete, looking on? Or the result of too many glasses of whiskey and hands of cards? Feeling lucky? Go find out!
These are just a few of the hair-raising tales that surround whiskey, and that’s just here in the US. Places like Ireland or Scotland, that have more than just our mere three hundred years of history, likely have more tales of vengeance, bloody death and spirits that still haunt their earthly homes. But those are all just ghost stories…..aren’t they?
Article by: Jeanne Runkle