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Subject Names: Gary Monteleone, Laura Monteleone, Carlos Lugo, Evelyn Nargete, Alicia Benauides (“Mrs. B”), Elizabeth “Ellie” Ramos, Ivone Martinez, Diana Calamia, Robert Calamia
Subject Location: El Paso, Texas
Paranormal Experience: A haunted restaurant
Gary Monteleone had always been interested in cooking. He and his wife Laura had been looking to start a small business, and a restaurant was just the thing. They bought a small place, and began renovations. As Gary was working on the demolition, he found something stuck in the wall. It was a porcelain statue of the Virgin Mary. Gary thought it was odd, but he kept the statue, thinking that she could watch over them.
One day, Gary had to run to get supplies, and left Carlos Lugo to continue the demolition. None of his workmates had shown up that day, so Carlos was alone. He saw a shadow walking by one of the worklights, and it wasn’t his. The shadow went into one of the rooms. When Carlos followed, he was faced by something that he didn’t believe was of this world. It looked like a person, but where there should have been eyes, there were just holes in the eye sockets. When Gary got back, Carlos was outside. He wouldn’t go back in. Gary called Laura in to translate, and when they found out what Carlos had experienced, they were both skeptical. They pushed onward, and the restaurant opened to much joy and success.
Late one evening, Gary and Laura were roused from a sound sleep by the police. They suspected an intruder, and wanted Gary down there right away to open the doors. When Gary and Laura arrived, the alarms were clattering. There was no sign of forced entry, but the lights were also not working. Something had set off the motion sensors in the building. The police found nothing in the building, and wrote it off as a fault with the alarm system. Gary and Laura wanted to check for themselves. The register was fine, but the Virgin Mary statue, which usually looked out upon the dining room, had been turned to face the wall. As they investigated, Laura thought she heard someone say her name. She initially dismissed it as being Gary, but it didn’t sound like Gary’s voice. In the kitchen, they began to hear a hard pounding in the walls. Shaken up, they headed through the dining room to get out of the building. The pounding died down, but then the cash register began going mad. Receipt tape flew all across the room. The madness stopped just as quickly as it had begun.
Yes, odd things were happening. As it wasn’t interfering with the business, Gary and Laura pushed onward. Business was going well, and the opportunity to expand opened up when the house next door went on the market. Gary and Laura took the opportunity, and bought the property.
While Gary was working on the expansion, he found an odd collection of documents and a marble plaque hidden behind what he called a “room within a room”. They’d obviously been deliberately buried. He took them over to the restaurant for safe keeping, and went back to work on the expansion.
The Monteleone’s hired Ellie to be an assistant in the kitchen for Laura’s mom, Mrs. B. Ellie started out washing up, but eventually they taught her how to cook. One day, she’d finished cleaning up after her cooking work, and began feeling very cold. She stepped out of the kitchen, and when she returned, the place looked like a flour bag had exploded.
This was only the beginning of the real escalation in activity. On a quiet evening, Evelyn Nargete was cleaning up silverware when something grabbed her leg. On another day, Mrs. B was working on a large batch of sauce, and had taken one vat into the back. When she went back to get the other vat, she heard a loud crash. The first vat had been poured onto the floor, the container clattering to the floor. Gary came to investigate, and was assaulted by a flying pan of lasagna. That was enough to convince Gary that yes, his restaurant was haunted. As Gary and Mrs. B were heading out, the candles on the dining room tables kept re-lighting on their own. Mrs. B deservedly freaked out, and Gary tried to hold it together. He grabbed the candles and put them into one pot, dumping them into a sink full of water. Distraught, Gary didn’t know what to do.
As Gary closed up one night, he felt he wasn’t alone. He had checked everything, and nobody else was there, but he couldn’t shake the feeling. When he walked outside and grabbed the door to close it, an arm reached out. The arm disappeared, and something grabbed the door and slammed it shut. Gary’s heart hammered in his chest as he tried to figure out what to do.
Mrs. B thought that Gary and Laura deserved a break, so she told them she’d tend the restaurant for a day. Gary went off, but he later wished he hadn’t. Ellie had been working on salads, and as she was coming up from getting more vegetables downstairs, she saw a man standing there. There was no way anyone could have gone downstairs without the kitchen staff seeing. Mrs. B investigated, but couldn’t find anything. Later that night, Ellie began hearing breathing in her ear, but nobody else heard anything. Nervous, Ellie looked around, only to just miss a pot of boiling water that had come flying off of the stove. Ellie was burned, but Mrs. B took her to the ladies’ room to help. She held the door from the outside so Ellie could have privacy. The door was pulled shut and locked, but neither of them had done it. Ellie screamed as she saw the man in the mirror behind her. There was nobody else in the room, but something had her trapped in the bathroom. She banged on the door for Mrs. B to let her out, but the lock was on Ellie’s side of the door. Mrs. B was not able to help. Ivone Martinez came down to help, but there was nothing she could do, either. When the door finally opened, Ellie fell out screaming. Ivone went inside to check, but she didn’t find anything. Mrs. B called Gary and Laura back to the restaurant.
Help finally came in the form of Diana and Robert Calamia, regular patrons of the restaurant. Diana was a local psychic, and asked what was wrong. Gary began to tell them the entire story, and remembered the items he’d found during the expansion. Recovering them from safe keeping, he showed them to the Calamias. Robert recognized one as a Spiritualist Church charter, and the marble plaque indicating the church had dated back to 1923. Diana explained that where they were sitting was a room that had been a location for Spiritualist Church séances. The items Gary had found had been put there to close the portal that those séances had opened. Gary’s remodel had inadvertently opened it back up.
Gary built a new room-within-a-room in the restaurant, and they re-buried the items. With the Calamias’ help, a ritual cleansing was performed on the restaurant. The staff remained, and the entire environment in the restaurant became lighter and happier. The restaurant has seen little paranormal activity since, and is a resounding success.
READ GARY'S EXCLUSIVE FOLLOW-UP INTERVIEW WITH SYFY.COM HERE.