The present day haunting at the restaurant seems to have begun sometime after the brick addition was installed. Disembodied voices are often associated with the antique staircase that occupies the center of the old mansion.
One evening, the manager was talking to a pair of customers when they all heard a burst of laughter that seemed to originate from the third floor. This was most unusual, as the third floor is sealed off to the general public by a gateway built onto the actual stairs themselves.
Assuming that a group of people bypassed the gate and were wandering around upstairs, the manger went up to chase them back downstairs. When he arrived, he thoroughly searched the entire third floor, but was unable to find anyone. After his search, he was still uncertain about the source of the laughter, so he located the customers he had been talking with earlier and asked them about it. They agreed that the laughter was definitely coming from the third floor. The phenomena associated with the stairs works both ways as well. Late one night, long after the restaurant had closed, a former manager and employee were up in the employee’s break room, located on the third floor, unwinding after a long day’s work. As they conversed, one of them suddenly noticed an unusual sound coming from the stairway. After listening for a few seconds, they both went over the stairs where they could distinctly hear the faint sounds of a piano and the muffled conversation of a crowd of people. Knowing that they were the only ones inside the building, they cautiously went down the stairs to discover who or what was inside the building.
When they arrived on the first floor, they discovered that all of the lights were out and the room was completely empty. Stranger still, it was completely quiet.
So, they shrugged it off and went back upstairs. As they approached the third floor, they once again heard the piano playing, along with the distant sounds of conversation. Quickly, they ran back down the stairs to once again discover that the room was empty. Having enough of the mysterious voices for one night, they gathered their personal effects and left for the night, leaving the building to the ghosts.
Another waitress, who I will call Maria, wishes to remain anonymous. She has worked at the restaurant for about three years. During that time, she has witnessed several bizarre things—ashtrays being turned upside down, doors opening, music playing, the sound of footsteps walking up behind her and dishes being tossed about.
Some employees hear their names being called out when no one is around them, and an apparition of a woman has been seen by two of the restaurant’s employees. On one occasion the ghost even sent one of her co-workers running out of the door. She explained it as hard, heavy, footsteps running right at her. She was very skeptical until this happened to her.
“I named our ghost Jose. I always say goodnight to him when I close at night.
Another story interesting story about the restaurant happened to a couple of customers, late one November evening.
When they walked in, the waitress greeted them while she was cleaning up a table and asked them to take any table they wanted while she finished her task. The restaurant was empty, and they were the only patrons at that particular time. A little while after they sat down, she came to their table with three glasses of water plus three sets of silverware. “Where’s the boy?” she asked us.
“What boy?” was the husband’s reply?
“The little boy that came in with you into the restaurant?” she asked.
The couple looked at each other, knowing the answer, or at least thinking they did. Is the restaurant itself haunted or was the waitress just plain nut?”
The oldest known ghost story of the La Hacienda restaurant comes from a woman named Frances and was recorded by the WPA during a series of interviews that they were doing in Old Town. Here is her account of what happened;
“It happened in 1958, on a Tuesday in February at about 6 in the morning. I had just gotten to work at the restaurant, and I was about to put on a pot of coffee. When you come through the main door, it’s a straight shot, more or less, to the coffee pot and about five feet to the table where we sit and have our coffee before starting work. The other waitress had not gotten to work yet, so I was alone in the building except for the cook. As I started toward the coffee pot, I saw a cup on the table. I walked up to it and noticed that the cup contained coffee probably left there from the previous night. I was going to dump it out, but when I touched the coffee with my finger; to my surprise it was hot. Thinking it was just a coincidence, I reached to pick up the cup, and when I touched it, the outside of the cup was ice cold.
At that time, Luis, the cook, entered the building, so leaving the cup on the table, I went over to the door and called to him, “Come over here and see this”; however, when we reached the table where the cup had been, it was gone. Stranger still, Luis insisted that he did not have any coffee that morning and I was making the first pot of the day. I haven’t had any more experiences like this and I hope I never do.”
“There’s always some sort of presence here”, say’s the cook of several years. He believes there are 2 or 3 ghosts here including a gentleman, who may be the ghost of a Spanish soldier who served and died here. He is always watchful but never hostile.”
Another waitress reported seeing something in the kitchen doorway, feeling someone standing there and one time catching a glimpse of a girl disappear into the second floor storage room, only to find the room empty when she looked. Many visitors have also reported seeing, hearing and feeling the presence of ghosts. One is thought to be the ghost of Mary who had worked in the gift shop and restaurant around 1980. She was dating a local gangster when one day she decided to drop him and move on with her life. The boyfriend was outraged and showed up at the restaurant’s back door later that night. Banging on the door, he demanded to see Mary. The kitchen staff immediately called the police and sent a runner to the gift shop to inform Mary that boyfriend was outside and violently upset. Tragically, before the runner reached the gift shop, Mary clocked out and left the building, exiting out the rear door.
The irate boyfriend spotted her and shot her two times with a 38 special before shooting himself. They died together by the old tree behind the building. After her death, customers of the restaurant reported seeing the ghost of the dead girl around the building, as if she was still cleaning and serving drinks as she had done when she was alive. Through the years many people have seen Mary and have also seen their drinks move around their table while dining at the restaurant. Mary is also known to pull people’s hair, move objects around their table and sometimes people find fresh water rise up around the table while they are eating, as if someone had just cleaned their table with a dish rag!
Former waitress named Amanda said she was closing one night when lights started “flickering,” on the second floor. When she went to investigate, she looked in a mirror and to her horror the reflection wasn’t hers, but that of an old person. Needless to say, she ran for it.
“It scared me. The whole thing was just so eerie,” she said.
There were many reports of a woman in a white flowing old- fashioned dress that could walk through walls. The apparition, thought to be Sophie Blueher, always brought about feelings of not only peace and tranquility, but also sadness. As well, workmen reported a figure of a woman in old-fashioned dress who would stand at the top of the main staircase. At times, the sound of children crying could be heard from the second floor. One employee who worked in gift shop often heard the sound of footsteps and furniture scraping the floor above her head. At first, she gave no thought to the sounds and assumed someone lived on the second floor. It was several months after she had quit before she discovered the second floor was unoccupied.
Another older account of the building being haunted comes from the year 1960. A carpenter named Ruben was working late one night, alone, on the third floor, removing old paint from the window frames with a hammer, chisel and screwdriver. Every time he would set his tools down and turn his back, he would find his tools hung up on the wall several feet away. Occasionally, he also would smell a faint fragrance of perfume or flowers after his tools had been moved. He eventually was able to tell where his tools were located by simply following his nose.