Probably one of the eeriest but most intriguing ghost stories out there is the haunting of the Blue Lady of the Moss Beach Distillery in Moss Beach, California. The Blue Lady is seen in her long dress, either blood stained or clean, in different parts of the establishment. Legend has it that she was brutally murdered by her husband on the beach as revenge for her unfaithfulness.
The current Moss Beach Distillery in California was once known as Frank’s Place, in honor of the original owner Frank Torres. The place is located on the beachside facing the Pacific Ocean. The restaurant was erected in the 1920s, during the time when the importing, selling and drinking of alcohol was illegal, known as the Prohibition era in the United States.
Frank’s Place was one of the famous speakeasy’s, an establishment that sold and served illegal liquor, from the 1920s-1930s and even beyond that period. With its easy beach-side location, Frank’s Place was often the first place where smugglers of illegal alcoholic beverages dropped their supply.
The place was often hidden behind the fog, waves and some hills surrounding it so it was never suspected of any illegal activity. Other speakeasies were raided, but not Frank’s Place. The restaurant had a reputation of serving the best steak and seafood in the area to the regular customers. However, to the patrons such as actors and politicians, it was their refuge when they wanted a shot of their favorite booze.
Continuance of the Business
After the Prohibition era in 1933, other speakeasies closed down but that wasn’t the case for Frank’s Place. The restaurant was renamed Moss Beach Distillery and retained its beauty and pull for various customers.
Up until the present time, the Moss Beach Distillery is still in business; catering to the people who want to try good food and drink with a touch of mystery on the side.
The History of the Blue Lady
One of the most famous stories that hangs around the Moss Beach Distillery is that of the Blue Lady. The ghost of the lady in a blue dress is seen in different parts of the area; on the beach, kitchen, storage room, main restaurant and even on the road near the establishment.
Though it is said that the blue lady is a harmless ghost, the consistent haunting gives a certain amount of fright to the employees, visitors and even its owners. Upon investigation and research by psychics and experts, a story of a beautiful woman, thought to have the name Catye, was formed.
Catye worked in a nearby hotel during the Prohibition period and she frequently visited the distillery to listen to good music. She allegedly fell in love with a pianist who played at the hotel. Catye and the pianist’s love grew and her husband found out.
One night during one of the lady’s visits to Frank’s place, she wore her favorite long blue dress to meet her lover. However, she was shocked to see her husband barge in. There was a large brawl in the restaurant and the confrontation was taken to the beach side. The restaurant employees, thinking that it was not their job to break up a domestic problem, let the fight ensue.
The next morning, they found Catye’s dead body on the beach, her blue dress cut and tattered and her chest full of stab wounds. Her husband was not seen in the area ever again. However, the pianist still returned to Frank’s Place the night after the murder; with minimal bruises and a small injury to his leg.
It was thought that the pianist was a womanizer and that he had another affair with a different woman. The woman knew about the pianist’s relationship with Catye and she allegedly killed herself by jumping off one of the nearby cliffs. This information, however, is an unconfirmed part of the story.
Ghost Activity and Encounters
Since the murder, an apparition of a lady in blue is often seen roaming around the property. Through the years, she continues to haunt the Moss Beach Distillery, either walking on the beachside, in the storage room where the employees keep the wines and liquor, the restaurant itself and all over the area. Non-believers of the paranormal are forced to throw away their beliefs when they encounter the Blue Lady of Moss Beach Distillery.
Haunting of the customers
- There were several occasions when customers of the distillery would complain about rather odd happenings when dining at the restaurant.
- Reports of a levitating checkbook are not uncommon.
- Earrings of the female visitors of the restaurant would go missing and would be found in a different location, days after.
- Some would also notice their glassware moving on their own accord. On one occasion, a guest literally saw his glass levitate and move to the other side of the table. He was so shocked that he wasn’t able to talk and move for a few seconds.
Haunting of the employees
- Employees in the distillery believe that the Blue Lady is not a disruptive spirit. However, this doesn’t make them always feel safe. They would often see the Blue Lady in the restaurant itself, sitting at one of the tables, lingering by the counter or descending to the distillery.
- One employee, who admittedly was afraid of ghosts served in the restaurant for four years without being bothered by the Blue Lady. However, during one of her shifts before the holidays started, she was forced to lock up the place by herself. When she went down to the room where the good quality alcohol was stored, she felt that someone was watching her. After a few seconds, she felt a cold hand brush the length of her back. She then heard a woman’s voice saying ‘Stop!’ According to the employee, she felt that the intention of the ghost was to comfort her since she was alone, but it only made her more afraid.
- Two employees have experienced seeing a bar stool levitating. Originally placed in front of the counter, the chair just floated on thin air and softly dropped in front of the two personnel. Although flabbergasted, they tried to return the chair to its original position, but again, right in front of their eyes, it toppled by itself.
- A different employee, more recently, claimed that she felt something touch her leg while she was cooking in the kitchen; when, in fact she was all alone during that time.
Hauntings of the owners
- The Moss Beach Distillery has changed owners several times through the years. Each one of them had a certain encounter with the Blue Lady; even those that don’t believe in the paranormal.
- One of the past owners, Goldfarb, was talking to another manager about business just after the restaurant had closed for the day. Their conversation arrived at the point when they were sharing both their ghostly encounters in the area. While in the middle of their discussion, the clipboard just across the counter moved by itself, creating a creaking sound and a faint clanking from the beads of the Mardi gras behind it. Both were stunned, but they were very sure that the windows were all closed and an earthquake did not happen.
Storage room haunting
The storage room is hypothesized by some to be one of the meeting places of the Blue Lady and her lover. There have been numerous reports of seeing the ghost in the storage room.
During the 1980s, while the restaurant was flourishing, they kept all the wine in a small cellar with only one door without windows. When one employee tried to open the door, it did not move. It was somehow impossible to be locked from the inside since no one entered the room in the course of the day. When the employee, together with the others, finally opened the cellar door, a number of bottles crashed to the floor. They found all the wine stacked against the door to prevent it from being opened. No one was inside the cellar and there was no way someone did the prank and escaped, since it only had one door.
Various owners of the place had reported being locked out of the basement, the room being locked from the inside.
Random Poltergeist activity
Apart from frequent sightings of the Blue Lady, there are several reports of random poltergeist activities in the Moss Beach Distillery.
The glassware is not the only things that move. The furniture would be moved to different positions during the night which makes very loud noises.
There have been many occasions when the telephone rang and only a static noise was heard.
One poltergeist activity witnessed by two employees was when they were working late to finish paperwork for the restaurant. They saw a number of checkbooks levitate and then drop loudly onto the floor. They were stunned and tried to reenact the event that they had seen; however, they concluded that it was possible for the books to be knocked over, but not to levitate in midair and suddenly drop without any external force.
Encounters reported by Children
The Blue Lady is not only seen inside at the restaurant and the shore but also near the cliffs. However, it’s always children that claim to see the lady in the area of the high cliffs. A number of children from different times and situations have wandered outside the restaurant and they would see a beautiful woman in a long blue dress. She would tell them to go back and be careful. Some say that they would just hear whispers urging them to stay away from the edge.
Various children would also spot her near the men’s comfort room or the other unlighted rooms in the distillery.
Because of the increasingly high ghostly activity at the Moss Beach Distillery, it came to a point when one visitor reported it to the police. The policemen, though thinking that the act was somehow silly, still responded but left right away since no one had committed a crime.
While they were on their way back to their station on Highway 92, the policemen had an accident as the car inexplicably veered towards a ditch. They were unharmed, but both policemen were taken to the clinic.
In the clinic, the patrolman who fetched both men from the accident asked them about the woman who was with them in the car. The policemen were puzzled since they were very sure that they left the distillery unaccompanied. When they asked the patrolman to describe the lady, he told them that she very beautiful and she wore a blue dress.
There was a time when the electronic thermostat broke down for unknown reasons. Even after all the repairing and reprogramming, it wasn’t fixed. However, it miraculously worked fine again one day.
The accountant of the distillery was working late in the night when the printer, that she was one hundred percent sure that she had turned off, printed a single page. When she looked at the screen of the computer, no document was open. As she checked the paper, there was a small picture of a heart on the page. The accountant found this very comforting rather than disconcerting and even cut up the small heart and kept it with her. She felt that the Blue Lady was keeping her company while she was doing her work.
Another electronic glitch in the distillery was very notable since it affected all the computers in the area. The dates in all the electronic devices changed to 1927, the year when Frank’s Place started its business. When the technician changed all the dates back, he told the owner that he couldn’t fathom how all the dates in all the computers would change simultaneously.
The place was investigated by a well-known parapsychologist, Loyd Auerbach, in 1991. He had a number of ghostly experiences in the restaurant as well. On many occasions, he felt as if someone or something passed through him during his 1999 investigation.
Another well-known psychic Aiko Gibo, accompanied Auerbach during the investigations. Together, they experienced lamps swinging and glassware moving.
Gibo claimed that she did sense something in the room that was under renovation during the investigation. During one windy night, Auerbach was sure that he closed the door tightly when it popped opened by itself. Gibo said that the Blue Lady was coming in.
Gibo talked with the ghost for a number of hours, which looked like she was talking to herself. Gibo reported to the team that the ghost’s real name was Elizabeth Clair Donovan but she liked the name ‘Cayte’. She came to that town with her husband and her child but left them for some time because of her husband’s beatings.
According to Gibo, the Blue Lady was wearing a long black dress. When asked why she was not wearing her signature blue dress the night when they contacted her, the Blue Lady said that she wanted to look good for the visitors.
The place was also featured in a reality TV show, the ‘Ghost Hunters’. Though they entertained the possibility that indeed, the Moss Beach Distillery was haunted, they revealed that the managers of the place had installed devices to simulate sounds that resembled a woman’s unearthly voice and other effects to make the haunting more believable. The installed devices were not denied by the management or Loyd Auerbach, the parapsychologist who spent years in investigating the place. However, according to Auerbach, the hauntings have been recorded since the early 1930s until the present time. The encounters have been shared through various periods, people and situations and the investigations have been conducted before the installation of the devices. Also according to Auerbach, he was a part of the planning for the installation and it was never kept a secret that the distillery had a number of effects mounted for a complete experience in the famous haunted distillery. He reiterated however, that all the hauntings that he and his team investigated are genuine; that indeed the blue lady exists and she still haunts the Moss Beach Distillery to this day.
True Paranormal Hauntings