When it’s quiet at the Rusty Dory Pub in Avalon, owner Joanne Teti says she hears some of the longtime residents of the building moving chairs, arranging silverware, closing doors or leaving pennies on the bar.
“They’re good ghosts,” says Joanne, who has owned the inn built in 1827 for 11 years. “I think they protect the building for me.”
In May, after a chance meeting with medium Gary Miller of Westview, Joanne held a séance in the newly-remodeled downstairs gay bar Under The Rainbow.
The founder of the inn, “The Captain,” is often seen passing through in fisherman gear, as is his wife, “The Lady in Blue,” with long red hair pinned on top of her head and wearing a dress with rosebuds.
“There definitely are numerous spirits that reside in that space,” Gary said after recounting his séance that took place after midnight this past summer.
After walking through the building, the group sat at a table in the bar, and said a prayer to ask for protection. After some guided meditation in subdued lighting, those gathered started to share impressions they were feeling from the spirits around them, Gary says.
The reflection of a small boy showed up in a mirror near the dance floor, one who Joanne says whispered “My name is Matthew,” at an earlier gathering.
A face appeared on top of the image on a poster hanging on the wall.
“I think it was a very good place to encounter spirits,” Gary says.
Longtime patron and worker Babs Kauffeld says she has had many such encounters, including a recent one in the kitchen.
While she was working, a can that was sitting above the sink shelf behind some ladles was thrown onto the floor.
“If it would’ve just fallen from shaking, it would’ve knocked all those ladles down,” she says. “It didn’t hurt me, it just wanted me to know it was there.”
Another time, she was closing up for the night downstairs when she heard a distinct whistle come from nearby.
“It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up,” Babs says, adding that she was never skeptical and has always believed in the spirits.
“It’s comforting to me sometimes when I’m here by myself at night” to know she’s not alone, she says.
The ghosts, who also include a former bartender Anthony, have kept out burglars and saved the building on at least one occasion, Joanne says.
An ice machine, only two weeks old, caused a short that melted the copper wires in the outlet, but the breaker never caught, and should have burned the building down.
“I said, ‘The ghosts must have blown it out, they don’t want to lose their happy home,’” she says.
Under the Rainbow opened earlier this year, but six weeks after its opening, a water leak caused the drop-ceiling to collapse.
Joanne plans to have the bar open again by the beginning of this month with a grand opening event soon after.
She says between October and February are usually when she notices the spirits the most, so patrons to the renovated space may have a chance to encounter them firsthand.
Miller says the spirits at Under the Rainbow and the Rusty Dory, aren’t malicious, in part because of Joanne’s welcoming attitude toward them.
“Joanne does a wonderful job with her own energy, she’s very positive and upbeat,” he says. “There’s nothing unwelcoming or threatening in any way.”
A medium since the late ‘70s, Miller says the spirits, like those in Avalon, are “just a part of nature,” and the human energy that guides each one of us.
With the new energy at Under the Rainbow, plenty of encounters could be in store for the future.
Under the Rainbow is located at 850 Ohio River Blvd., Avalon, PA 15202. 412-761-1258
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