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The Story of the Blue Lady

For more information, go to "The Haunting of the Moss Beach Distillery" page

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Loyd Auerbach Director, The Office of Paranormal Investigations
adapted from his article published in the October
1992 issue of FATE magazine.

According to local history, the Moss Beach Distillery, originally built in the late 1920s by restaurateur Frank Torres, hosted a number of celebrities from both politics and film. The restaurant was extremely popular during Prohibition days, due to its supply of illegal alcohol and excellent food. During the early 1930s, a piano player at the restaurant was graced with the presence of a beautiful young woman night after night. It is said that the two had an ongoing affair. Unfortunately, the young woman, who is said to have worked in the hotel that once stood where the parking lot is now, was married. One night the husband showed up in the bar. A fight ensued between the two men, which eventually moved outside the place, and supposedly onto the beach. Just what happened is not recorded anywhere, but the beautiful young woman, dressed that evening in a long blue dress, was found the next morning on the beach. She had been stabbed to death. Of the husband, there was never any sign. The piano player (who may have had family ties to the owner, Frank Torres), was apparently bruised, but alive and playing the piano the next night. Actual historical records and death certificates of the time in the area are sketchy, even when they still exist. Apparently, because of the illegal alcohol traffic and surrounding activities, many death certificates were either destroyed or lost, and few were willing to ask questions. The woman in blue was dead, her husband gone, her lover still tickling the ivories night after night. It was your basic lover's tragedy, ripe for a haunting. And of course, that's exactly what happened.

Over the 60 years or so since the death of the "Blue Lady," there have been reports of an apparition in a torn and bloody blue dress in and around the restaurant (though sometimes, with appropriate fashion consciousness, her clothing is clean and intact). Her apparition has been seen in several places in the restaurant, including in and about the ladies room, in the main dining area, the kitchen and even, it is said, on the bluff opposite the main dining area.

Reports have come from patrons of the place (adults and children), and from employees. Two policemen reportedly saw her standing on the highway one night after an unsuccessful attempt to contact her in a séance. They were shaken up enough for their car to go off the road. Over the past few years, there have been very few actual sightings of the Blue Lady, but plenty of other activity. Most of what happens at the Distillery takes the form of moving objects and subjective "feelings" of a presence. In one particular spot in the main dining area, patrons regularly ask employees about the table where they're sitting, as they feel a presence or something strange, and people who didn't know the "legend" of the place routinely have asked if the restaurant is "haunted."

As to movements of objects, there seems to be little pattern to the events, but they all take place with people available to witness them. One of the kitchen help reported being hit on the rear end while alone in the kitchen. Several workmen have reported a similar experience over the years. The locked electronic thermostat has gone haywire, against all programming and tampering. One employee told me about a chair moving. The chair, made of fairly light wood, sat in the entryway near the hostess station. The waitress told me that she, the hostess, and another waitress watched as the chair fell over by itself one night. That in itself wouldn't be too farfetched, but then, before they could right the chair, it did a somersault. That, they thought, was the Blue Lady!

My own first encounter with the restaurant, as well as subsequent visits, yielded some interesting events. I first investigated the Moss Beach Distillery in late summer, 1991, as part of the filming of a TV show for Japanese TV. With me were others of my group, the Office of Paranormal Investigations, as well as the Japanese TV crew and famed Japanese psychic Mrs. Aiko Gibo. She was able to sense things about the restaurant that went beyond the scope of the information presented to her or to the crew. At that time, fairly new owner John Barbour was adding a new dining room to the place (the Fitzgerald Room).

While Mrs. Gibo did not sense anything in particular in that room at first, it was there that the first events happened. The exit door, with a push bar on the inside and no handle outside, popped open by itself. I personally closed the door, and checked that it was locked tight. A few minutes later, Mrs. Gibo pointed to the door as she said the Blue Lady was coming in. The door opened, slowly this time. It was windy that night, but I was positive I had closed the door tightly. Also, it was well after hours there, and a TV crewman was outside the restaurant. No one with a key came anywhere near the outside of the door. Mrs. Gibo spent some time in the main room speaking with the ghost. From our perspective, it was a rather one-sided conversation. She also described the woman in similar ways as the other witnesses, except that the apparition was wearing a black evening gown (Mrs. Gibo said the Blue Lady "wanted to look her best" for us, even though no one besides Mrs. Gibo saw her. The door opened again a bit later (just after Mrs. Gibo said the ghost was gone).

The Blue Lady's black evening gown featured prominently in another situation I was involved in later that year when I and mentalist Larry Loebig did our first session of our Séance Fiction Theater show at the restaurant. During the intermission, three women came up to me separately. One was a professional psychic, one was a local resident who had seen the ghost several times before, and the third was someone who claimed to have had no psychic experiences in her life. All three separately described the same female figure standing next to me during the show, apparently intent on watching what I was doing. All three described her with the same hairstyle and dressed in a black evening gown similar to the one reported by Mrs. Gibo (said observation not mentioned to the audience --- as far as everyone knew, the ghost always appeared in a blue dress).

Later, when one of my effects didn't come off (a fact unknown to the audience, since they didn't know what or what not to expect), one of the women told me that the ghost was smiling, and perhaps even giggling a bit during that particular effect. During another session of Séance Fiction Theater, a magnetic effect, utilizing a powerful bar magnet, didn't work. Actually, for about a minute, the bar magnet was demagnetized. But then, suddenly, it worked again.

This was followed immediately by a weird happening surrounding a plasma ball (also known as a lightning ball) that we had as a bit of window-dressing. An audience member pointed to it and we could all see what looked like the outline of a hand drawing the "lightning" to it, even though the closest person to the device was at least six feet away.

Since that time, I have kept tabs on what's happened at the Moss Beach Distillery, have visited the place on my own and with other investigators, and have been back with other TV crews. There are numerous other stories of my own as well as those from other witnesses I can recount.

 For more information, go to "The Haunting of the Moss Beach Distillery" page

Contact information:
Contact the Moss Beach Distillery at (415) 728-5595
Or call the Office of Paranormal Investigations (415) 553-2588
Email Loyd Auerbach at:


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