Waves crashed in the darkness, their foam a gleaming line in the moonlight. In spite of her trembling hands, Mary Ellen’s feet seemed to float above the sand, the hem of her blue dress fluttering just below her knees.
Her husband had caught them, and they’d had it out in the speakeasy on the cliffs above. But her lover, John, had sent her husband – a notorious bootlegger – packing. She’d been set free, the guilt of her secret now out in the open.
John, the speakeasy’s piano player, walked beside her, his footsteps crunching in the cold sand. He pulled her closer, his breath warm on her cheek. Free.
A wraith of fog twisted along the beach, and she shivered. She wouldn’t think about her husband, not now. And if she had to admit it, the illicitness of the affair was part of what had made it so delicious, as delicious as the bootleg rum that heated her stomach.
There was a shout. Men, bulky shapes in the darkness. Fear tightened her throat. A sharp pain in her side. And then… nothing.
What happened to the Lady in Blue? Does she even exist? How much is legend and how much real?
We really don’t know.
But since the 1930s, hundreds of visitors to Northern California’s Moss Beach Distillery claim they’ve encountered whispers of this ghost. She levitates objects, breathes against their neck, and even follows them from the restaurant.
The Distillery itself has a storied history. Built in the 1920s on the San Mateo County coast, south of San Francisco, “Frank’s Place,” as it was then called, was initially a speakeasy. Gripping the high cliffs over a secluded Pacific beach, Frank’s Place was an ideal spot for rum runners to bring in and distribute their illicit cargo during Prohibition.
Unlike other speakeasies on the coast, Frank’s Place was never raided. His political connections were too powerful. But that didn’t prevent violence from occurring on the shores below.
According to one legend, Mary Ellen and her lover were attacked by her husband. The husband pulled a gun, John pulled a knife, and Mary Ellen was stabbed in the struggle. Another story has them set upon by random thugs. Whatever the truth, the bar and restaurant, now known as the Moss Beach Distillery, has a vivid history of hauntings. Objects have reportedly been moved by unseen hands, items have flown off shelves, and chairs mysteriously stack themselves. Restaurant doors have locked themselves from the inside. The phones ring, someone answers, and no one is there.
There’s also a rumor of a second ghost haunting the Distillery – an unnamed man who likes to lurk in the ladies room. We don’t know much about this restless spirit. But I think we can safely say he might like the ladies a bit too much.
For a time, the Blue Lady’s spirit was seen wandering the cliffs. Over the years, however, the sightings have migrated to the bar and restaurant itself. Her apparition has appeared and been felt in the Torres room and wavered in the reflection of mirrors.
Decades ago, two local sheriffs participated in a séance at the Distillery to contact the Blue Lady. Afterward, a bit sheepish they’d been involved in something so outré, they headed home. Driving the dark and winding highway, their car veered into a ditch. The sheriffs were taken to the hospital for observation, and the Highway Patrol Officer who’d rescued them came to visit. They were shocked when he asked them what happened to the lady dressed in blue who’d been at the accident scene. Did she cause the accident? Was she their good angel, making sure they came through it okay? Or had she followed them in hopes the two cops could put her own unsolved crime to rest?
Big name psychics, like Sylvia Brown, have come to the Distillery to raise the ghost. Ghost Hunters also explored the bar and restaurant, but they found no evidence of a haunting. Still the ghost remains so famous, that some guests at the restaurant complain to the manager if no spirit appears. But spirits appear in their own good time, and not because we want them to.
Today, you can enjoy a good meal and perhaps spot some ocean wildlife from the bar and restaurant. Only a few blocks north of the distillery is a short walking trail along the bluffs and leading down to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. I have it on good authority that pagans often hold rituals amidst the windswept cypresses here. Who knows, maybe you’ll spot some paranormal wildlife as well?
About the Author
Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer reruns and drinking good wine.