Monday, December 19, 2016

HGB Ep. 171 - Casey Moore's Oyster House

Moment in Oddity - Exploding Killer Lakes
Suggested by: Michael Rogers

In all of recorded history, there have only been two exploding killer lakes and they were both in the country of Cameroon. The first occurred in 1984 at Lake Monoun and killed 37 people. The second occurred at Lake Nyos in 1986 and was more deadly. Three thousand animals and 1,746 villagers were killed during this event. So what exactly is an exploding killer lake? Basically, these are lakes that were formed from a hydrovolcanic eruption that created a crater in the lakes. Carbon dioxide builds up within this crater over time, just like the CO2 in a soda bottle. The water serves as a type of cap keeping the CO2 locked down, but sometimes something happens that causes that cap effect to shift. It could be an earthquake or even a monsoon-like rainstorm. In the case of Lake Nyos, it appears that a simple landslide broke the surface and released a giant cloud of carbon dioxide. It exploded upward and stripped the air of oxygen. This could happen again and scientists are looking for a way to prevent it in the future. Exploding killer lakes certainly are odd!

This Day in History - Thomas Paine Writes "These Are the Times That Try Men's Souls"

On this day, December 19th, in 1776, Thomas Paine publishes his first essay in a collection of essays that would become "The American Crisis." Thomas Paine, was born in Thetford in Norfolk on January 29, 1737. He met Benjamin Franklin in London and asked the man to help him emigrate to the new colonies. He did so in 1774. Paine settled in Philadelphia and became a journalist. He wrote articles on various topics, but in 1776 he wrote the pamphlet "Common Sense" and established himself as a revolutionary propagandist. He had only been in the colonies for a year, but he committed himself to American independence. During the Revolutionary War, Paine wrote a collection of essays and compiled them in "The American Crisis." The first of these essays was published on the 19th and began with the famous line, "These are the times that try men's souls."

Casey Moore's Oyster House (Suggested by Alicia Taylor)

Tempe, Arizona is the seventh largest city in the state of Arizona. The town was built on an agricultural base and grew out of the combining of two distinct pioneer towns. Many of the original historical structures built in Tempe have survived and its one of the town's greatest attributes. One of these buildings was originally a family home that is now a restaurant named Casey Moore's Oyster House. Locals love to gather for a beer and seafood. Patrons and employees all claim that the restaurant is haunted by several spirits. Join us as we explore the history and hauntings of Casey Moore's Oyster House.

For 1,500 years the Hohokam People called the future Tempe, Arizona home. They were here until 1450, leaving behind innovative canals they had built to bring the waters of the Salt River to their crops. Those same canals laid the foundation for the current irrigation system. Charles Trumbull Hayden came to the area in 1870 and established a settlement along the Salt River that he named Hayden’s Ferry. He built a flour mill, warehouses, blacksmith shops. There was also a ferry to cross the Salt River. The flour mill still stands as a historic structure and was operated until 1990. The Hayden home also still stands today. Hispanic families arrived from northern Mexico and established a nearby town called San Pablo. Eventually, Hayden's Ferry and San Pablo combined to form Tempe. There is a place in Greece called Vale of Tempe and an Englishman named “Lord” Darrell Duppa, who had helped establish Phoenix, suggested the name Tempe because it had the same lush beauty of the Vale of Tempe. The railroad came in 1887 and Tempe soon became an important business and shipping center because of the agriculture in the area. 

Education in Arizona can trace its origins to Tempe. In 1885, the Arizona legislature chose Tempe for the Territorial Normal School, which trained teachers for Arizona schools. William A. Moeur and his brother Benjamin were prominent members of Tempe and William helped set up the public school system in town. He was a member of the first school board and chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors from 1912 to 1915. In 1910, he and his wife Mary built a home on three lots at the corner of 9th and Ash. The house is a mix of architectural styles. The roof is Victorian with gabled vents, front and dormer with a bellcast copper roof. The house itself is Western Colonial with the typical square floor plan and columned porch. There are two stories built mostly from brick and there is a sun room at the south end of the house. Masonry blocks outline all the corners and edges of the home. It is a larger home consisting of 4,061 square feet. William lived in the home until his death in the house in 1929. His wife Mary remained until she died in the house in the 1940s.

The house passed through several owners and there are discrepancies as to the variety of businesses it housed. It definitely was a boarding house for a time and some claim that it was a bordello as well. In 1973, it underwent extensive renovation to open it up as a restaurant. It was called Ninth & Ash. In 1986, another owner bought the property and did even more renovating. A covered patio on the northeast corner was enclosed as was a covered patio along the north facade. A fire escape staircase was added to the west facade and the sun room on the south facade was also enclosed. The nicest addition was adding several pieces of stained art glass to the window panes. This restaurant was called Casey Moore's Oyster House and it is the current business there. It originally had been at 7th St. and Maple, but had been displaced.

The restaurant's website claims that Casey Moore was born in 1886 to Irish immigrants. She loved to sing and play the piano and she invited friends and neighbors to her house often. The restaurant is apparently named for her, but we're not exactly sure why or how she is connected to the restaurant. The interior of the bar is decorated in a Scottish motif, while the outside is very Irish. A real fun fact about this bar is that  it has its very own Blarney Stone. This is not one that you would want to bend over backwards and kiss though. This one has been thoroughly peed upon! This is a bathroom area outside for the men. You just step inside, unzip and donate your beer back to the bar. Okay, so you pee on something that is suppose to be a replica of the Blarney Stone. There is a motion activated waterfall and a little moat to wash away your contribution. There is also a koi pond and a band of stray cats that hang around the spacious patio.

The restaurant has reports from neighbors, patrons and employees about strange occurrences and sightings. While we usually hear 3am being the magic hour for spooks, it would seem that 4am is the witching hour at Casey's. Neighbors report seeing a couple dancing in an upstairs room when no one is suppose to be in the restaurant. Police have been called out to investigate the intruders and there is always no one there. The alarms are even still set. It has been surmised that since William and Mary died in the house, that this ghostly couple is them still enjoying their house in the afterlife. Did they used to dance in the house and this is some kind of residual energy?

Workers claim that utensils fly off tables in the upper area and interestingly, forks end up hitting the same spot on the wall. Place settings, chairs and tables are moved about during the night and employees find them in a disarray in the morning. A full room of customers has witnessed paintings come crashing down from the wall and lamps above tables swing by themselves. The apparition of a young woman has been seen. She is described as having dark black hair and light eyes. People wonder if she was a prostitute in the brothel and whether she was murdered upstairs. She disappears when people's eyes meet her gaze. Most only see her from the corner of their eyes. Some claim she expresses displeasure when couples get a little romantic in the restaurant.

A bartender named Austin Owen claimed that during reconstruction an old photograph was found of a young boy. One of the owners kept the photo. Employees claimed to see the spirit of a young boy roaming about the house and when the owner showed the picture to the employees, they agreed that the ghost resembled the boy in the picture.

The restaurant embraces the tales of hauntings. The website states, "It’s no secret in and around Tempe, that 'Our House' has a mysterious history. In the wee hours of the morning, passers-by have seen a woman dressed in 'turn of the century' clothing dancing in our upstairs dining room. Articles disappear and suddenly show up in odd places. Neck ties are 'tugged' and objects become weightless However, strange this may seem to some, the spirits that linger in this old establishment are “family” to us here at Casey’s."

As we researched, we found another haunted restaurant that had been run out of a historic property in Tempe, the Hayden House. The restaurant was called Monti's La Casa Vieja and it had been the oldest restaurant in the city covering 11,000 square feet. It had been in business for 60 years when it closed on November 17th in 2014. The owner, Michael Monti, wanted to pursue other avenues and the cost of beef was too much. His father opened the restaurant 1956 and it was known for its Roman bread, steak and historic memorabilia. A real estate firm bought the site and plans were made to develop two high-rise towers on the site. The house was rumored to be slated for demolition, but it was a protected historic property. We're not sure of the state of the site today.

The hauntings reported here were two different types. The full-bodied apparition of a cowboy had been seen in one of the rooms named the Mural Room. The Fountain Room featured disembodied laughter and the sound of clinking glasses and cutlery. Do these restless spirits still remain on the property even though the restaurant is no longer open?

Tempe has a long history with many historic structures that could be retaining the essence of those who built the town. Is Casey Moore's Oyster House haunted? That is for you to decide!

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