Spirits of the dead

Rumored ghosts inhabiting Eau Claire area

Story by Sammi Wendling, Staff Writer

Phantom footsteps on an empty floor, objects moving unaided screams and moans from the basement. Sound like something from a ghost story?

This ghost story is closer to home than you might think.

Stones Throw Restaurant and Bar, 304 Eau Claire St., is rumored to share its stony walls with more than just the living. Besides beer and live music, the Eau Claire tavern has long been investigated for hauntings — all allegedly the handiwork of one ghost.

Stones Throw workers relayed stories of a spectral being, and the bar gained a reputation for being haunted.

The story goes: In 1940, a man committed suicide in what is now the main bar, located in the basement. Some believe his phantom is still trapped. The ghost is said to only appear after customers leave and the bar closes.

Bartender Cory Crowell has worked at Stones Throw for about 14 months, and while he doesn’t believe in ghosts, he can’t deny he gets an eerie feeling in the basement after hours.

“The basement is admittedly pretty creepy and weird, but all of the ghost stories are not confirmed fact,” Crowell said. “This is one of the five oldest buildings in Eau Claire, and old buildings will make noises.”

The restless soul has been rumored to throw or break beer bottles, move objects and open and close doors. Footsteps creaking across the bar’s balcony have also been reported.

Crowell said sometimes a bar light will go off and on by itself. And when he plugs in all five light bulbs, at least one will explode within 30 minutes.

Crowell said when people start talking about the ghost, an unsettling feeling sets in.

The owner of Stones Throw usually doesn’t allow people to come in just to seek paranormal activity and rarely supports the strange stories, Crowell said.

Banbury Place, 800 Wisconsin St., is another supposedly haunted site in Eau Claire.

“People have claimed to see things, dating way back into the underground tunnels, when Banbury used to be a tire company.” Maureen Forster, a Banbury employee, said.

A maintenance worker allegedly electrocuted himself in Building 13 of Banbury Place. There has been no evidence to conclude the fire ended in a fatality, Forster said.

Employees have reported unexplained moans, screams and footsteps from Building 13.

Although Banbury ghost stories haven’t been confirmed as real, paranormal paranoia will continue, at least as long people whisper rumors about darkness.