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Mark Saal
Ogden Standard Examiner
 
Life at the Top:
Pizza place incurring the wrath of wraiths



Saturday, October 20, 2001    
 
By MARK SAAL



I pretty much got weirded out this week when I attended the Utah Paranormal Exploration & Research group's first "Ghost Chronicles: True Stories of Ogden" gathering at Godfather's Pizza in Ogden. The event was organized by Merry Barrentine, general manager of the fledgling UPER,a group of otherwise normal-seeming individuals who go around chasing glowing orbs and green mists and female strippers. More on that later. 

A pizza place doesn't sound like a very spooky place for a ghost meeting -- it's certainly no cemetery or stately old mansion -- but paranormalists say this particular restaurant is among the two or three most haunted places in the Top of Utah. The theory is that it was once a pauper's graveyard or Indian burial ground, but I prefer thinking it's evidence that the human craving for pizza transcends even death.

Godfather's owner Doug Cannon, who has worked at the restaurant since 1985, has seen and heard enough stuff to make him a believer. A small sampling of incidents:
Late one night, the jukebox began blaring, even though the circuit breaker was off AND the power cord was unplugged. He doesn't recall the song. I'm guessing Lobo's "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo."

On two occasions, all of the restaurant's doors, including the bathroom stall doors, began violently swinging and banging.

One by one, an entire box worth of 3-foot replacement fluorescent light bulbs levitated, then hurtled through the air and smashed on the floor.

Large sections of the restaurant's floor tile bulged up several inches, later returning to normal.

Faces and handprints appeared in pans of just-baked brownies.

Fully formed ghosts have frequently appeared before employees and guests, then disappeared by walking through a wall. Regular apparitions have included a little boy in a baseball cap, a woman in Elizabethan costume and even a pirate.

With all this paranormal activity going on, who you gonna call? Certainly not ghostbusters."Actually, the term ghostbuster is kind of politically incorrect," says Alan Meyer, a mild-mannered high school teacher by day and explorer of the unexplained by night. "We prefer "ghost investigators.'""Meyer has investigated plenty of ghosts in his day, including one in which the house of a woman in Salt Lake City was haunted by a female stripper. Apparently, Meyer says, the house used to be the site of a burlesque show.So then, what do these investigators do when they find ghosts? I mean besides slipping dollar bills in their G-strings?"You talk to them," Meyer says. "Most ghosts are people who don't know they're dead. We tell them, "You're dead, you don't belong here, you need to move on.'"The UPER folks invited me to accompany them on an investigation sometime, but I just don't know. Maybe. I mean, I'm not all that into glowing orbs, and I'm not really a green mist kind of guy, either.Call me when the strippers appear.
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