Wednesday, 14 September 2011

HAUNTED ST ELMO BAR, BISBEE

St Elmo`s Haunted Jukebox?
 Phil Yossem, who owns a Bisbee institution - St. Elmo Bar - with his wife, Sue Sargent, says the place is haunted. The jukebox has turned on when it wasn't plugged in, sometimes passers-by report spectral figures wiping down the bar, and laughter and dancing can sometimes be heard from upstairs in the closed-off area that used to be a brothel.
"At least they're nice ghosts," he quips - and rationalizes that spirits are bound to frequent a place with so much history.
Opened in 1902, St. Elmo is the longest continuously operating drinking establishment in the state. It survived Prohibition by transforming itself into a soda shop, although Yossem suspects the St. Elmo still sold alcohol when it was illegal, thanks to a handy mine cart system with an opening under the flooring directly behind the bar.
Celebrities who have spent time in the bar over the decades include John Wayne, Charlie Sheen - "I taught him how to play shuffleboard. He was an idiot," Yossem said - and Nastassja Kinski.
Jake LaMotta, the now 90-year-old former boxer who was the subject of "Raging Bull," still comes in sometimes when he's in town visiting friends, and Yossem says former KVOA meteorologist Jimmy Stewart likes to hang out there.
Yossem likens the bar, which he's owned since 1992, to a cultural melting pot, like the Mos Eisley Cantina of "Star Wars" fame.
"You can have a cop sitting next to a smuggler," he said. "Everyone gets along. We have no problems."

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