Friday, September 17, 2010

Case Files: Ernestine and Hazel's

When you have investigated as many haunted places as we have, you start to crave a 'challenge' of sorts.  Ernestine and Hazel's, a bar on South Main in downtown Memphis, Tennessee would turn out to be just what we needed.

Besides the fact that we were limited to a daylight investigation, traffic in that area is constant, stray noises are in abundance and the building itself poses its fair share of difficulties.  The wiring, much like the rest of the joint, is old so you can imagine the stray EMF's throughout the place and I believe that every single board, stair, etc. has its own creak or groan.  But this is what you get with a location that has so much history...

Back in the 'old days,'  Ernestine and Hazel's served a dual purpose; it was a 'sundry' store that sold goods to the local, black community and it hosted a small hotel of sorts on the upper floor that was a favorite with visiting musicians.  The bar tender told us tales of these musicians, such as the time Wilson Pickett stayed on the premises along with guitar player Steve Cropper.  According to legend, Pickett and Cropper would put together two of their biggest hits there:  Mustang Sally and The Midnight Hour.

Of course, with the good tales also comes the bad...  In addition to the typical services offered by a hotel, it's said that E & H also operated a brothel for its patrons.  And the business saw more than its fair share of violence over the years (a no brainer considering the ingredients of booze, whores, gambling, etc.).  It is because of these turbulent times that the bar is now thought to be haunted.

Witnesses to the on-site phenomena claim to have heard ghostly voices and moans coming from upstairs and to have occasionally seen  an apparition in the downstairs bar area.  The juke box is said to turn on by itself as well.  When we visited and toured the building, a few things became obvious:  The place does give off a bad vibe of sorts.  But this is not paranormal...
Fun House Effect

Ernestine and Hazel's is like an adult fun house--and I'm not talking about the fact it serves alcohol!  The stairs/floors are crooked and cause you to weave and bob your way across rooms, the walls are painted in garish colors and the bar is filled with strange, old furniture that makes you feel out of sorts (or at least like you've stepped back in time).  The combination of these things can make visitors instantly feel 'odd' and put off.  If you introduce a ghost story to that visitor, now you're really ill at ease...

Though it was daytime, we approached our investigation at the bar much like any other:  Audio recorders were placed in various areas (as far from windows as possible), photos were taken (infrared and otherwise) and attempts were made to interact with any spirits present in the property.  After about two hours of constant EVP work we were finally rewarded with our own ghostly experience...
Location of Moan

Mike and I were performing an EVP session in one of the upstairs side rooms (one of the possible brothel/hotel bedrooms) when we both heard a loud disembodied voice make a groaning sound.  And by loud, I mean really loud!  When we reviewed the audio on the spot, the odd voice was nearly as loud as us (listen below).

There would also be some strange EMF hits around the area of an old piano.  When we reviewed the audio recorded from this same area, we would get our only EVP:  The sound of a long, ghostly moan (listen below).  A really cliched moan that almost sounds like something from a cartoon or movie.  Of course, this is exactly the sound that employees of the bar have claimed to hear coming from upstairs...
Location of EVP and EMF Hit

All in all, I recommend visiting Ernestine and Hazel's for yourself.  They have inexpensive beer and drinks, their own unique take on the hamburger (something they call the 'Soul Burger' that features fried onions and Worcestershire sauce) and an environment you're not going to encounter anywhere else.  What better place to run into a ghost?

Clip 1:  This is the audio clip of the disembodied voice captured upstairs at Ernestine and Hazel's.  You'll hear Mike say, 'Do something.'  Then there's the groan.  Right after the voice, I say, 'What?'  Then Mike actually talks about hearing the voice as a sigh, etc.


Clip 2:  This is the EVP captured at Ernestine and Hazel's.  At this point, the room is empty of people, etc. so it is the only sound you'll hear in the clip.  It sounds like a cliche ghost sound.