SPOOKY STORIES: The most haunted restaurants in Dayton

Sometimes it is a dish that mysteriously crashes to the floor. Other times it is an unseen, but very much felt presence while you’re ordering a drink.

Some of the Dayton area’s most beloved restaurants are said to be haunted.

Here are some of the best spooky stories involving Dayton dining destinations:

👻 Ye Olde Trail Tavern

Credit: Christine Monroe-Beard

Credit: Christine Monroe-Beard

Christine Monroe-Beard saw the same tall, dark-haired woman in a blue late-1800s dress nearly every morning she cleaned the then-upstairs bathroom at the tavern located at 228 Xenia Ave. in Yellow Springs.

“She’d just walked down the hall,” Monroe-Beard said of the yet-to-be-identified spirit. “There were a lot of people who didn’t go to the bathroom because they didn’t want to interact with the ghost.”

Monroe-Beard and her husband, Don Beard, also the co-owners of nearby Peach's Bar and Grill, purchased the tavern in January 2017.

She knows the ghost in the blue dress well. It has been known to move objects like her plants.

A history buff, Monroe-Beard says the woman in blue is far from the only ghost known to haunt the tavern that William Mills, commonly known as the father of Yellow Springs, opened in 1827 and named for his father Elijah.

Franz Martin Hafner bought the tavern and much of the land that surrounds it in 1847.

Originally from Germany, Hafner built several outdoor ovens and became Antioch College's baker, Monroe-Beard said.

The two-story brick home next to the Tavern was called the King house, named after Hafner’s granddaughter Leila King.

Credit: Christine Monroe-Beard

Credit: Christine Monroe-Beard

The tavern was briefly a bakery and later a restaurant.

Monroe-Beard said Hafner didn’t want to sell spirits and therefore didn’t want the property turned back into a tavern. He said so in his will, but Monroe-Beard said that is exactly what happened a month after he died in January 1895.

“We say that he is one of the entities that occupy the tavern because of this,” she said in an email.

Monroe-Beard suspects that the golden-haired young woman who haunts the tavern’s lower level may be Hafner’s teenage niece.

The girl mysteriously disappeared from Census records, but perhaps not from this realm.

Walt Kumbusky, a Ye' Olde bartender for at least 10 years, is among those who have reported seeing the young blonde woman in the white nightgown, Monroe-Beard said.

Credit: Christine Monroe-Beard

Credit: Christine Monroe-Beard

On one such occasion, he mistook her for a customer.

“He saw her in the mirror in the bar back. He had told her that the tavern was closed and by the time he turned around to finish speaking to her, she was gone,” Monroe-Beard said.

Accustomed to ghosts since childhood because she saw ghosts around her parents’ historic home outside of the village, Monroe-Beard said she has never seen the blonde woman.

Since taking over the tavern — the oldest in the state — Monroe-Beard and her husband have found historic newspapers and other artifacts in the wall.

They consider themselves the tavern’s stewards and have added more German foods to the menu.

“I don’t get the impression that they are upset or angry,” she said of the ghost. “They approve of what we are doing and the energy.”

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

👻 Mudlick Tap House

Jennifer Dean, the co-owner of the tap house at 135 E. Second St. in downtown Dayton, says it is clear to her that not every one of Mudlick's spirits come from bottles behind the bar.

Ghosts make their presence felt and heard, she said.

“All the employees have said ‘I could have sworn someone walked by me’ and there not being anyone there,” she said.

Before becoming Mudlick, the space housed Club Aquarius, a gay bar famous for its drag shows.

She counts that bar’s former workers among her customers and friends.

"People who worked at Aquarius who were there at 2 or 3 in the morning say they could hear a chair moving on the third floor," Dean said.



The basement site of the bar’s former Green room (a dressing room) that is now used for dry-goods storage has particular energy.

Dean said she has not been able to find much history accounts of the building originally used as a Ford Model T dealership.

It was constructed in 1910 or 1911.

Dean suspects it played a role in the Great Flood of 1913.

“I don’t think it’s an eerie feeling. I just think there is a presence,” she said of the restaurant. “I think people tried to find safety there during the flood.

Floods were documented in Dayton in 1814, 1828, 1832, 1847, 1866, 1883, 1897 and 1898.

None of those even rivaled the flood of 1913.

Heavy rains and warm temperatures followed by cold left the ground saturated March 25, 1913 from rain and melted ice and snow, Simpson said.

An estimated eight to 11 inches of rain fell in three days throughout the Great Miami River watershed.

The water reached 20 feet in some parts of downtown

Three hundred sixty-one lives were claimed.

👻 Amber Rose

The sight of a ghostly girl in the attic window of the restaurant located at 1400 Valley St. in Dayton has caused fright for years and years.

Locally based author Chris Woodyard features the story in her book "Haunted Ohio III."

Built in 1910 by Sigmund Ksiezopolski, the building held a general store and deli named Sig's up until the 1980s.

Elinor Sluzas bought the building in 1989 and opened her restaurant in 1990.

Sluzas reportedly told Woodyard that several of her employees were freaked out after seeing a girl with long black hair in the attic window.

Music has mysteriously turned on in the restaurant, plates have crashed to the floor and people have reported hearing strange laughter and “sweet singing,” Woodyard wrote in her book.

Sluzas told Woodyard she learned the identity of the spirit when she bumped into Rose Losko, one of Sig Ksiezopolski's daughters.

According to the book, Sluzas said the ghost was Losko’s sister Genevieve “Chickee” Ksiezopolski, who died in 1983.

Chickee reportedly loved her father’s old store as a child and spent most of her time in the attic.

Joe Castellano, Amber Rose's owner for about 20 years, has embraced the restaurant's haunted history, occasionally planning special "haunted dinner" events.

👻The Golden Lamb

The restaurant and hotel located at 27 S. Broadway St. in Lebanon has attracted thousands of local residents, travelers and politicians since it was established in 1803.

Some of those visitors and Golden Lamb employees have reported spotting ghosts.

One such ghost is known to throw temper tantrums in a fourth-floor room filled with children’s toys and furniture.

The identity of the girl ghost in the white nightgown is controversial.

Some believe the spirit belongs to Sarah Stubbs, who grew up at the inn where her uncle worked.

Stubbs lived well into adulthood and had a family of her own.

Others say the ghost is what remains of Eliza Clay, the daughter of Henry Clay, who was President John Quincy Adams' Secretary of State.

Eliza died at the inn on Aug. 11, 1825, of a fever, according to the Warren County Historical Society.

Her death reportedly came four days after her father left Lebanon.

He found out about it while reading a daily newspaper in Washington following a two-week journey.

Eliza was “placed in a narrow black walnut coffin and was buried in the Baptist graveyard on the corner of Mulberry and West streets some five blocks west of the town square,” a historical society article says.

She was 12.

A month later, Clay's 20-year-old daughter Susan Duralde died of yellow fever in New Orleans.

The Golden Lamb’s girl ghost is said to spend most of its time in Sarah Stubbs' former room where people have reported hearing the sound of foot-stomping and pictures falling off the wall, according to the website for Haunted Travels USA.

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