Ashley’s restaurant has seen more than its fair share of people coming through its doors. It wasn’t even always Ashley’s, named for the notorious Ashley Gang of the 1920s. In 1933, it opened as Jack’s Tavern. It has changed hands a few times since then. It was, however, in 1933, that a young woman named Ethel Allen was allegedly murdered on the location. Her headless, mutilated body was discovered on the bank of the Indian River Lagoon. She was identified by the tattoo on her leg. Other spirits said to be residing at Ashely’s are a little girl, a young boy, and an older man. Employees tell of noises in the ladies room, furniture being moved, dishes being broken, and images in the mirror. Customers have complained about being choked by invisible hands. A train track runs right by the building, so maybe the railroad brought some spirits. Others say it may be close to an Indian burial ground. The boy is supposed to have been killed in a car accident in front of the restaurant. A waitress who once worked there may have returned after her death.
Jack’s may have been a speakeasy and brothel! There are hidden buzzers and a secret room, so there might be more to the story than we know! The inside of the restaurant looks like an old English pub with dark wood and leaded windows.
OPI was naturally curious about the stories, and arranged to investigate. Rena, Greg, and I were joined by our friend Larry from Florida Bureau of Investigations.
We started off upstairs. Since a little girl has been reported here, we brought both Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, hoping they would trigger interaction. Initially, we had them sitting next to each other, and they seemed to be reacting! The lights in the hands kept lighting up. Then we wondered if maybe they were reacting to each other. We verified this by moving them apart. The light did not come back on!
The periscope did light up, indicating some spirit interaction. This was only momentarily, however. A train rumbled by, and the geophone showed action, but we attributed that to the train at that time. Later, when it was quiet, the geophone did display movement. We asked if someone would turn on the flashlight. A voice spoke! “Can actually turn it.” Rena wanted to know if Ethel was near. It seemed to be the wrong question! “Get out,” a voice demanded. We asked about the little boy. “If he could come with me, he’d come,” a male voice told us. We turned on the spirit box. A male voice clearly told us, “That’s my girl!” “Freak-out!” and “That’s impossible!” These were not in response to questions, but willing utterances. Rena and I, retorting to the ghost comment, asked, “Ghosts? Where?” This began a conversation! A woman’s voice replied, “You’re livin’ in it!” We asked, “Are you looking at us?” “Yes, I suppose I am,” was the rather flippant response. “Can you see us,” we asked. “I guess,” a voice answered. A male voice told us, “The energy’s in here!” We heard the names Gary, Linda, and Michael Peedy, or Peety. I checked, and there was a Michael Petty who died in the area in 2011. Our Mel reached a 3.2, an impressive reading! It sat on the same spot for a long time both before and after the EVP session, and didn’t register anything close to that!
Greg was taking pictures, and Larry went into the ladies room to do an EVP session. Rena and I sat by the fireplace downstairs. I smelled gingerbread, and I don’t know where that came from. I heard a male voice appeal, “Please help me.” A child’s voice also asked for help. It was very clear. Suddenly, we heard Larry shout out from the ladies room. We rushed over to see if he was alright. He was! He told us he had his flashlight wedged in the corner of the door to the stall, and it was pushed down to the floor! He demonstrated how the light was, and it would not have fallen on its own! We told him the lady spirits didn’t want him in there! It wasn’t proper! Rena and I went in and asked, “Did you not like Larry in here because he’s a guy?” “Thanks for your help,” a voice responded. Rena was chuckling about a man in the ladies room, and we heard corresponding laughter! However, a deep male voice demanded, “Get out!” We don’t know who he was or why he would be in there!
We sat at the bar, but didn’t get much activity. The periscope did seem to activate once, and there is an unexplained noise. We then moved over to the area that was the original front door, and talked about the pictures hanging on the wall. There was no reaction.
However, once we turned on the spirit box, we did hear some EVPs! And we had some interaction with the REM and periscope! We asked about Ethel again. “Ethel is home,” a voice reported. I wonder if home is her old home when she was alive or her home in the next life? We did hear the same male voice several times, but couldn’t make out what he was saying. The REM feature on the SB 11 was triggered several times and once the periscope responded. As I was ending the session, a clear voice told us, “Thank you!” Whether thanking me for ending the session, or speaking with the spirits, I don’t know!
We had sensed some negativity in one corner of the upstairs, and Greg had a photo verifying that, so we commenced another EVP session. The responses seem to validate both of these. When asked for a name, the answer was a distinct, “No.” A child’s voice said several things. It could have been either the boy or the girl. They included: “The men,” “Kids think,” and “What’s this?” The last question might have been about the spirit box REM feature which did activate. A man’s voice told us, “Go back” and “leave.” The K2 flashed to yellow and orange several times, indicating spirit activity. The periscope also showed activity.
We tried the dowsing rods. Both Rena and I used them. The results were inconclusive
Our final stop was the stairs. The ovilus gave us the name ‘Paul.’ We asked if there was a Paul. Through the spirit box, we think we heard the answer, “Yes.” A woman’s voice called for ‘Maggie.’ It’s a Class A EVP. We asked if “Spot” was a good name for the tiny stuffed puppy Rena was using a trigger. The lights on the periscope seemed to indicate that someone did. The REM was drained! The activity seemed to stop, so we called it a night.
We did garner enough results that we credit Ashley’s with indeed having ghost activity. We can’t judge who interacted with us, but it was definitely somebody or somebodies. The staff who claims to have experienced activity probably has. Although there is a negative energy present, it doesn’t seem to want to hurt anybody. We think he or she is sad or angry but not blaming anyone at the restaurant or any of the guests. Maybe next time we will be able to gain even more knowledge.