The beautiful state of California is filled with many places rich in history but that history has left behind marks that give the backbones to the legends of ghosts and paranormal activity. One of the most intriguing of these haunted places is The Moss Beach Distillery.
Situated on a cliff above the ocean coves giving beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, The Moss Beach Distillery operates as a restaurant and bar in Moss Beach, California. Opened in 1927 by Frank Torres, The Moss Beach Distillery, then known as Frank’s Place, entertained celebrities, politicians and silent film stars during the prohibition as a restaurant and speakeasy. Mystery writer, Dashiell Hammett was a frequent visitor and even used the setting in one of his books.
During the prohibition, it was a famous drop spot for rum runners who would load vehicles on the beach below with the then, illegal alcohol after arriving in boats. Though many speakeasies were raided during this time, Frank’s Place never was. It was believed that Frank Torres’ political and social connections kept him safe from the law.
With such a history, it isn’t surprising to hear that ghost stories have surrounded the area in and around The Moss Beach Distillery. With cold winds stirring through the rooms, objects flying through the air and full bodied apparitions, the restaurant and bar has a reputation of haunting activity. The most famous of these ghosts is a beautiful lady dressed in blue known as The Blue Lady.
In many stories, The Blue Lady is a mischievous but kind spirit who locks doors, whispers people’s names or shows herself. In some tales, she appears and warns people away from the dangerous seaside cliffs. But who exactly is The Blue Lady and how did she die?
One of the oldest tales is that The Blue Lady was a woman who was having an affair with a piano player. Her husband was a rum runner and known to be a violent man found her with her lover on the beach. A fight broke out between the piano player and the husband and the woman was stabbed and killed in the skirmish, leaving her spirit to haunt the Moss Beach Distillery.
Another possibility is a woman named Alma Reed who was in love with a man who she could not be with. Instead of facing life without him, she walked into the ocean, committing suicide.
Sadly, there is another possibility in the form of a woman named Mary Ellen Morley. Oddly, her maiden name was Reed and she had a sister named Alma. However, her story is much different than the other suspected ladies in blue. She was a young mother who passed away in a car accident. She was crushed beneath the car after it careened off the highway and flipped over on top of her. Her last words were to her husband asking him to take care of their son, Jack. Most believe that she is The Blue Lady and she haunts Moss Beach searching for her son in death.
There are other ghosts said to haunt The Moss Beach Distillery, including the dashing piano player, John Contina who was allegedly killed by a jealous husband. He was also allegedly the piano player having an affair with the woman who was stabbed. Also, The Moss Beach Distillery may be haunted by one of his spurned lovers, Anna Philbrick who threw herself from one of the cliffs after finding out he was romantic with another woman. She has been seen in a full bodied apparition in the form of a corpse on the beach and also standing on the side of the road covered in seaweed. There have also been reports of a Mennonite woman and a woman who operated a bordello on the property before Frank’s place was built haunting the area.
So, for those who want to check out the ghosts at The Moss Beach Distillery, it is still running as a restaurant and bar. The owners and employees love the kind spirited but mischievous blue lady and even have a drink named after her on their menu but even without the ghosts, the food, drinks and beautiful views of the ocean from the restaurant’s porch are enough to encourage a visit to The Moss Beach Distillery.