Location: Captains Anchorage
June 26, 2016
Great Food and a Ghostly Mystery at Captains Anchorage
By: Rebecca Genesis
Big Bear, California. Being that I wasn’t officially a paranormal investigator back in those days, I hadn’t yet become familiar with any locations which were considered to be actually haunted in the Big Bear area. However, a quick internet search led me to discovering the perfect place to investigate: The Captains Anchorage.In May of 2016, I received news that I would have an opportunity to re-visit a place that used to be one of my old haunts back when I lived in California between 2009 and 2011:
The Captains Anchorage is a quaint fine dining establishment that’s been in operation since 1947. Originally known as the Sportsman’s Tavern, it has been a Big Bear area staple for almost 70 years. It was once owned by Andy Devine who played Jingles in the “Wild Bill Hickock” Television Series. Host to many famous celebrities throughout the years, it was also a place known for illegal gambling back in the day. But, most relevant to me is that it is said to be home to a ghost who seems to have made the Captains Anchorage his permanent haunting grounds.
The restaurant’s resident ghost, George, is believed to have been the former accountant for a time back when the restaurant was the Sportsman’s Tavern, and he disappeared mysteriously one day some 60 years ago, or so. Back then, some believed he was murdered in his upstairs office while others asserted he may have committed suicide.
Regardless, George’s ghost is said to be a staple at the Captains Anchorage, making himself known quite frequently. In addition to rattling pots and pans, stomping around, and hiding things, George is also said to make his presence known by turning a radio on and off, a paranormal phenomenon I have also experienced first hand in my own home after playing with a ouija board years ago (for the last time, I might add).
George is also known for having an affinity for the ladies. Many females have reported feeling watched or even being touched by some unseen presence, especially those working in the restaurant at night. George’s most mischievous act is said to have been making a Crown Royal bottle explode, which was rumored to be his favorite drink when he was amongst the living. Perhaps some things don’t change, even after death?
“Ghost Seer”. So, I already knew this was definitely a legitimate reason for suicide.There were rumors that George had been embezzling money, so is it possible that he was so distraught over his actions, that his guilt and fear of consequences got the best of him? In fact, I knew of an old neighbor who hung himself from a tree in his own front yard for this very same reason. He was found dangling by a rope on the morning of Halloween on my 16th birthday by one of my good friends who lived right next door to this poor soul. I even wrote about this in my book,
mystery and circumstances surrounding George’s death.Some even add that George’s wife was cheating on him, which could have been the final straw in an already overwhelming situation for him. However, perhaps there was foul play involved. There is also talk that there may have been a gambling debt which could have led to his demise. Maybe this is why George was said to be such a restless spirit, after all? Maybe he couldn’t be at peace because his life had been so abruptly taken from him? I had many questions and I wanted to try to delve more into the
I was certainly intrigued and a fine dining restaurant was also the ideal location because I was already planning to take my good friend and traveling companion who was coming along with me out to a nice belated birthday dinner. This would be a two-for-one. It couldn’t have been more perfect, really.
We would only be in town for the night, so I contacted the restaurant ahead of time to let them know we were planning to have dinner there, and that I was hoping to conduct a paranormal investigation afterwards. The representative whom responded from Captains Anchorage, Peg, was very gracious and enthusiastic to host us. So, I went ahead and made our reservations, and couldn’t wait for the evening to arrive!
I decided to make a communication attempt with George’s spirit prior to actually showing up to the Captains Anchorage. So, a few nights beforehand, I conducted a channeling session with my amethyst crystal pendulum. My spirit guide, Michael, said that George was, in fact, interested in communicating with me, as well.
Once I knew George was “on the line,” so to speak, I asked him if he wanted to share with me what happened to him long ago. George’s spirit told me that he was essentially murdered over money, and that there were two men involved. George also admitted that his death would forever remain unsolved. I thanked him for helping me to understand the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and told George I looked forward to visiting him at the Captains Anchorage very soon.
I recorded the channeling session (per my usual practice) for future reference and also to review at a later date for any instances of EVP, or electronic voice phenomenon. I was very much looking forward to the entire Captains Anchorage experience, especially after making contact with George.
Finally, the evening had arrived! I was all tingly and giddy as we pulled up into the parking lot, as I sometimes get before investigations. Upon entering the Captains Anchorage, I was greeted by our server, Shawn, and then heard him mention to the other staff that the “Ghost Lady” had arrived! I couldn’t have been more elated!
I could tell immediately that the Captains Anchorage had a very cozy and rustic ambiance and is also very reminiscent of days long past. A large stone fireplace took center stage of the dining area. The lighting was soft and dimmed, just how I like it. And, looking around, I could see lots of happy faces. Many customers knew the wait staff by name, so it was apparent the Captains Anchorage gets lots of return business..
Our server, Shawn, was very friendly and informative about the daily special. He was also helpful with suggestions for the perfect dinner wine. We enjoyed their Jumbo Shrimp Diablo as a starter, and I ordered the Buena Vista Scallops while my companion ordered the Prime Rib. We also made a trip to the salad bar where I created my own custom salad and served myself a bowl of their clam chowder, which was definitely on point!
The staff was very friendly and attentive. And, Shawn is an amazing server who will even take some time out of his busy evening to tell customers a bit about the haunting and history of the Captains Anchorage. One of the stories he tells is about a photo of an orb taken in the restaurant that appears to show a face in the middle. There is also the one about when someone took a photo of a shadow figure resembling a man. Could it have been George?
After dinner, Shawn was very sweet (pun intended) to give us a slice of cheesecake drizzled in caramel topped with whip cream to share on the house. Although, I was so full by then I had to box up the rest of my delicious scallops, I indulged in a couple bites of their decadent cheesecake, and then threw in my napkin, so to speak. My friend, however, did not let a single bite go to waste. After a fabulous dinner, dessert, and fun conversation, I was more than ready to investigate.
We headed upstairs to the second story, which is where George’s office was once located, although I wasn’t sure at the time of the exact spot where his office would have been long ago. It was much darker, quieter, and had a very different feel from the downstairs dining area. I could definitely sense a presence and I immediately began to take photographs and scope out the scene in the hopes of making physical contact with George’s spirit. I continued taking pictures with my flash on in the dark as I slowly made my way to a long hallway that was black as night besides the light from a glowing green exit sign in the back dining area.
I felt this back dining area would be a good spot to conduct a burst EVP session where I replay the digital recording right on the spot. Although I didn’t receive any vocalized spirit responses during the session, there was an audible tapping sound that seemed to come from the booth I was facing directly across from where I sitting. The tapping sound was also recorded on my digital voice recorder.
I couldn’t positively rule out that this tapping sound could have been noise contamination from the downstairs kitchen, so I can’t count it as definitive evidence of the paranormal. However, I later realized after the investigation when I was doing further research that I honed in on the area where George’s office used to be. Furthermore, the booth I was facing during the EVP session, which also seemed to be the source of the tapping, is the one that occupies the exact spot of George’s former office. I found that to be quite interesting.
After my EVP session, I went on speaking aloud with the spirit of George, while making my way back to the front part of the upstairs dining room. Checking on my friend, I saw he was sitting very comfortably in a dark nook in a near food coma from our yummy dinner. It had been a long day for us both, so I let him know I wouldn’t be much longer, and I went to take my last round of photos.
Thus far, it hadn’t appeared that I was able to capture much photographic evidence of George’s spirit, but I wasn’t quite done, yet. I made one last circle through the second story, all the way to the back room and then back to the front. I then announced aloud to George that my final photos were to be taken just as I was about to head back down the stairs to the first floor. Then, a big ‘ol orb showed up very clearly in my very last photo! I was definitely pleased and I thanked George as we headed back downstairs.
I later learned the spot where the orb showed up, in front of the upstairs fireplace, is where most orbs appear when people take photos in the upstairs area of the Captains Anchorage. When I was finally able to review all of my photos on my laptop, I could see that there actually were quite a few pictures I had taken with faint orbs in them. So, George wasn’t really being as shy as I thought, I just wasn’t able to see all the orbs on my tiny camera screen at the moment I was taking them.
St. Lucas Investigations in 2010.After the investigation, I spoke a bit with the nice woman behind the bar, also showing her the large orb photo I was able to capture at the last second. She was gracious enough to give me a DVD of a prior ghost hunt conducted by a local Big Bear paranormal investigating couple, Joe and Mary Lou St. Lucas, of
female presence at the Captains Anchorage along with George, and possibly more.The couple spent two consecutive nights at the Captains Anchorage and were able to collect some photos of orbs and a purple mist along with some EVPs of both male and female spirits. They believe there are more spirits in the Captains Anchorage than just George, and they have collected the paranormal evidence to back it up. Other paranormal investigators and even guests of the restaurant assert there is at least one other
I asked the bartender if there was a photo of George while he was alive, and sure enough, she pointed out an old black and white photo in a frame near the bar that shows George sitting amongst a group of other gentleman at a table. I was also able to view the shadow figure photo that was taken in the upstairs area I had just investigated which was kept in a folder behind the bar with other ghostly evidence collected over the years.
We bid the extremely hospitable wait staff farewell, and I thanked them for allowing me to have such an awesome experience in their restaurant. As we walked out in the parking lot to our vehicle, my friend had the idea to take my picture beneath the glowing Captains Anchorage sign. I agreed, and it turned out to be a fantastic decision! You can clearly see that an orb decided to get in on the photo action, too! Perhaps George couldn’t resist having his picture taken along with me, after I had so respectfully acknowledged his presence at the Captains Anchorage.
Oh, and by the way, when I attempted to review my digital recording from my channeling session with George that I conducted a few nights before going to the Captains Anchorage, the file on my I phone would not open! That has never happened before! Upon going back to re-check the digital file days after seeing it wouldn’t open, somehow it has now completely vanished! That is certainly an enigma unto itself.
Overall, I highly recommend the Captains Anchorage for anyone visiting the Big Bear, California area. Paranormal enthusiast, or not. The food is amazing, the staff is wonderful, and George is friendly, too! Even if you just pop in for a drink or two from their full bar and sample one of their delicious appetizers from their menu, you won’t be disappointed. However, if you are into the paranormal, you should definitely make the trip to Big Bear Lake and visit one of California’s most haunted restaurants!
photo gallery where you can see even more evidence of the paranormal from my investigation.The Captains Anchorage also offers a happy hour in their Andy Devine Room Sunday through Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. where you can enjoy their drink and food specials. And, who knows…maybe you can also capture your own ghostly evidence while you’re there! I certainly look forward to a return visit in the future…! Be sure to check out my Captains Anchorage
Captains Anchorage is located at 42148 Moonridge Way, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315. Their hours are 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and they stay open until 10 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Dinner reservations are recommended and can be made ahead of time by calling (909) 866-3997.The
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