When I was in high school my then-boyfriend got me a job as a server in a local gourmet restaurant in a very rural town--Harmony, TN. Although this was the only restaurant in this tiny town, people came from far and wide to eat there because the food was very well-known and delicious. My boyfriend had worked there previously for seven years. He warned me before I began working there that very strange things often occurred on the premises. The place was over 200 years-old and had been a residence, grocery, and now a restaurant. Being skeptical, I tried to put it out of my mind when I began working there.
The owner was a very accomplished chef and he did the majority of the cooking. He did not hesitate to let me know that I would immediately experience unexplainable phenomena in the building. This unnerved me a bit but I resolved myself to doing the best job I could.
My first night on the job I could not shake the feeling that I was being watched and maybe even critiqued at my job. It was my first serving experience in a fine dining restaurant so when I was tasked to set the tables, I had to set the serving ware down on the table and go to the back of the restaurant, to the kitchen, to ask the owner (who was the only other person in the building with me) how he preferred his tables to be set.
After I was told how to set the tables, I returned to the back dining room to find the table completely set for me. I was astonished, to say the least. I kept shaking and scratching my head. I slowly backed out of the room and I remember murmuring, "Thank you for your help. I will try to do better." And I did as I said I would.
The rest of my first night was quite uneventful. Once the restaurant was full of patrons, it was quite hard to detect the spirit energy except in the bathroom where it was especially strong. There was a lit candle on the vanity that I constantly had a strong, unexplainable urge to extinguish.
When it was closing time and we were cleaning up after the guests had left, I kept hearing a woman say my name. Several times I felt something brush my hair. I got goosebumps, but I was not terrified and I was able to perform my duties. Twice the chef/owner would walk into the dining room while I was sweeping and ask me if I had called his name. Nope. He would just roll his eyes and go back into the kitchen. At one time I heard him curse and exclaim, "There's no need to throw things!" I called to the kitchen and asked him what happened. He sighed and said, "The spices just flew across the room." I guess he must have made her mad.
I say "her" because my boyfriend told me that an older woman had lived and died in the home. It had been a grocery before it was a restaurant. My boyfriend had also told me that a little girl had drowned in the creek behind the building and that he had seen her often accompanied by blood-curdling little girl screams. I knew that my boyfriend enjoyed telling stories and I had hoped he had been exaggerating but now I was not so sure. I noticed that everyone in the restaurant acknowledged that there was a matronly female spirit in the place and everyone seemed to respect and do their best to abide by her wishes.
When I got home that night I was telling my boyfriend about my experiences. He stopped me when I mentioned the candle in the bathroom and he shivered. He told me that one night after a particularly bad tipping night he had said, "I wish this place would just burn down!" While doing the final sweep before locking up that night, he had discovered the candle from the vanity underneath the drapes in the women's bathroom about to catch fire!
I worked at the restaurant for a few months before I was fired for being a spoiled (yes I admit it), irresponsible high school brat who preferred to enjoy her summer instead of work in a creepy, haunted restaurant. Several things stand out in my mind when reminiscing on the time I spent working there.
One day while we were waiting for our first patrons of the evening, I was speaking with another male server who was some-years older than I. We were talking about the old lady who had lived there and about why she was so attached to the place. He asked me if I had ever been upstairs where he said the presence was the strongest. I said I hadn't and he was like, "Oh my gosh come with me!" We went toward the stairs and I reached to open the door and we both watched it unlock and open into my hand. We bolted back into the kitchen and never mentioned it again.
The last thing I remember from the restaurant was being tasked to go upstairs to retrieve Styrofoam to-go cups while we were particularly busy. Needless to say, I was petrified. I reached the door and I started speaking to her saying, "I respect you, I respect this place, please don't mess with me..." I went up the dark stairs and I fumbled for the light switch at the top. Seeing the upstairs for the first time I realized that I was surrounded by dozens of porcelain dolls--you know the kind whose eyes are weighted so that they close when lying down. Against my better judgement I looked at one and it winked at me. I grabbed the cups and hurled myself back down the stairs.
I really was not emotionally devastated to have been dismissed from employment a few weeks later. Now the building is abandoned. I would not go back in there for anything! The lady was not evil, but she was very mischievous and I am just too sensitive to be messed with!