Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Is the Tin Lizzy haunted?
I’ve been here in the Tin Lizzy penthouse for three months now and have yet to see a ghost.
This is disappointing to many people who are either convinced or want to believe the building is haunted.
I can’t say whether I’m disappointed or not.
I guess it'd all depend on the kind of ghost.
A friendly ghost would be cool, as would a topless one. You never hear of nude ghosts, but if I ever get to ghost I’m not wearing a stitch of clothes.
Well, maybe a hat, one with a stylish ostrich feather.
People who work here tell me they know people who swear they’ve seen ghosts.
Buck’s owned the building for, gee, I think about 40 years. He said paranormal enthusiasts often approach him about ghostbusting the 3-story building that dates back to the 1890s.
“I let ‘em in,” he said. “They always say they’ll give me a full report of their findings, but none of them ever do. I think they’re just getting out of the house to have a good time.”
I can buy that. I used to tell my wife I was in a dart league.
The Tin would be a great place to be a ghost. The basement foundation Rathskeller is positively historic. Buck said the twin fireplaces and sturdy foundation were constructed in the 1750s. I’ve heard the site served as a way-station for the underground railroad.
Lots of Latrobe-area restaurants have pictures of Arnold Palmer from the times he’s stopped by to dine. The Tin Lizzy has those, too.
But the Tin Lizzy is one of the few places left known to be one of Arnold Palmer’s father’s favorite haunts. Old Deacon used to frequent the joint when it was Amer’s Pub, a fact Palmer mentions in his bio, “A Golfer’s Life.”
The 2014 Steve Carell/Channing Tatum/Mark Ruffalo movie “Foxcatcher” about homicidal billionaire John du Pont was filmed near here and the stars stayed at the Marriott SpringHill Suites across from the airport.
Where did they dine?
Jaffre’s is the building’s resident restaurant and chef/owner Mike Jaffre recently posted a '12 snapshot of the signed receipt from the day when Channing Tatum and Steve Carrell were here.
They eventually dined here three times and were cool with the staff and the customers.
I’ve never heard of any stories of homicides happening here, typical precedents for any Hollywood ghost story. It's usually either that or the property was carelessly constructed over some ancient Indian burial ground, which was the premise for “Poltergeist,” another scary flick made even spookier by the fact that four cast members died in the four years after the film was released.
Some explain the curse as being a result of real skeletons being used as props in the movie and the ’86 sequel.
I remember reading a Weekly World News story about a business that was supposedly haunted by a farting ghost. People said they’d be at their desk and be struck by an overpowering stench followed by maniacal laughter.
I wondered if the building had been constructed over the site of what had once been an ancient Indian diaper factory.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see a ghost here.
It seems especially haunted on this pre-dawn morning. It’s miserable out with lots of blowing rain, leaves and neighborhood debris.
Up here on the 3rd floor, doors are intermittently slamming and the building creaks like’s it’s eager to settle into a big messy pile.
But it’s always creaking a bit. Just last month I found a loose spot down the hall where I’m convinced if me and three stout buddies jumped up and down just twice we could reduce the whole shebang to rubble.
And it is spooky.
Besides the elemental noise, there is a constant sound track of 1920s big band music — it’s right now “Puttin’ on the Ritz” — to add quaint ambience to Flapper’s, the 2nd floor martini bar and its 1920's throwback theme.
It’s maybe my favorite place to drink here.
But the music always reminds me of what Jack Torrance in “The Shining” heard in the near-deserted Overlook Hotel when he says to an empty bar he’d sell his soul for a drink and a bartender named Lloyd satanically appears.
And if one day I look up and see expressionless twin girls asking if Danny can come out to play, I’m getting the hell out of here.
Now, after what a friend told me, I’m starting to wonder if just by me rattling around by the window up here adds to spectral speculations.
“Yeah, it was about 6:30 Monday morning and I was stopped at the red light,” he said. “I looked up and saw your silhouette up there typing away. I gave a little toot and you looked out and waved.”
I told him he had to be mistaken.
I wasn’t here on Monday.
He swore I was.
Really, it doesn’t matter.
There’s liquor on three floors of this building.
There may not be ghosts, but there’s always been lots of spirits.
Related . . .
Ghosts and ghostings in haunted Virginia