Almost everyone, at one time or another, has a story about a haunted house or some other sort of paranormal activity. Maybe it's a benign spirit, some former tenant of a home or apartment that continues to inhabit its former residence. Maybe it's the ghost of a tormented soul who met an untimely death. Or maybe it's something as simple as the odd, inexplicable chill or sound of footsteps in an empty room. Call it a lark, but when Halloween rolls around it's the perfect time to indulge those stories.
In the spirit of the day's festivities, we at DC9 asked ourselves: What about the music venues of North Texas? Do any of them have their own claims to being haunt? Well, we found a few.
J&J's Pizza 118 W. Oak St., Denton
With a dark, low-ceilinged basement and narrow, meandering corridors, J&J's Pizza is a lingering spirits' playground. Not to mention the building itself dates back to the early 20th century. In the 1950's, before it was the joint where you're most likely to see anything between performance art, a punk show or a pizza-themed art contest (maybe even on the same night), J&J's was a jewelry store. The story goes, the owner was held up, robbed, shot and left to die in the basement hallway -- the same avenue bands typically take to load in their gear behind the stage area.
One former employee accounted some strange activity in his years working at the restaurant: Footsteps in the hallway to the bathrooms when he was the only one in the store with the doors locked. When catching a few winks between shifts, the sound of a door opening and shuffling feet where the jeweler took his last breath, but nobody around to claim the sounds. On the security camera placed in the storage closet downstairs, a figure was seen following a female employee. After she returned upstairs and was asked about where the other person was, she insisted she was alone the whole time. Anita Riot
Longhorn Ballroom 216 Corinth St., Dallas
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There isn't much about the Longhorn that doesn't seem eerie. The huge room, with its paneled walls and cactus-shaped pillars, has an unsettling feel to it. And that's before you consider its history: Built in 1950 by self-made man O.L. Nelms, the Longhorn was once managed by Jack Ruby and was also the location for the Sex Pistols infamous Dallas visit in 1978. The bar also has a long history of bizarre and tragic events surrounding it, including violent altercations (even murder) and the sudden deaths of employees and owners. If any club in North Texas has the makings to be truly haunted, Longhorn would have to be at the top of the list. Jeff Gage
Sons of Hermann Hall 3414 Elm St., Dallas
Before any possible supernatural activity is addressed, it must be said that a place that once had Das Racist and Danny Brown performing upstairs while square-dancing lessons were taking place downstairs and the bar was filled with what looked like the American Legion is fucking spooky. That sounds like The Shining. "Everyone knows this place is haunted!" laughed Keith Morris, standing outside Sons of Hermann Hall before his band Off! tore through a set in October of 2011. Opened in 1911, Sons of Hermann Hall is a Texas Historic Landmark. Over the years, there have been stories of formally dressed couples entering through the front door and disappearing in the hall. If you have ever been to Sons of Hermann Hall you have probably heard those echoing voices. Unseen hands have slammed doors shut and knocked pictures off the walls. Some believe the ghost of a former caretaker is present. Jeremy Hallock
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Two Bronze Doors 5732 Richmond Ave., Dallas
The curious house on Richmond Avenue near Lower Greenville, known to the arts and music community as Two Bronze Doors, has a history of abnormal phenomena. It once housed a a psychic palm reader who skipped town not too long before it became a cultural center-piece. It might also have its fair share of ghosts. When the house first opened as a venue, one of the resident artists stayed in the house alone and claimed to hear strange noises at night. Natalie Jean Vaughan, the venue's CEO, said that she saw a ghost herself, walking through the hallway one morning. When the ghost, a muddled-looking middle-aged fellow with a white shirt saw Vaughan, he apparently faded away into nothing, perhaps being more spooked than Vaughan herself. Shortly thereafter, the residents decided to call Cold Facts Paranormal, an agency that specializes in the supernatural. As it turned out, there could be up to six ghosts living in the house. Pablo Arauz
V.I.P. Lounge 3237 White Settlement Rd., Fort Worth
Perhaps because of the violent psychic vibrations left over from the waning days of Fort Worth's wild west past, Cowtown's most notable spooky spots are in the Stockyards; former brothel Miss Molly's Hotel is probably the best known for its frequent ghost sightings (most of which appear to be the spirits of departed working girls), though talk to any business owner on West Exchange or a tenant of the Stock Exchange building on the other end of the street (east of Main), and you'll likely hear some hair-raising tales of apparitions in windows, doors mysteriously slamming shut, and strange smells that rise above the usual Stockyards-y scents of bbq smoke and manure. About three miles to the southwest, you'll also find the lesser-known haunt of the V.I.P. Lounge, a dive bar on White Settlement Road. The bartenders attribute various spectral phenomena like unexplained noises and mysterious orbs in pictures (surely they can't be plain old dust particles) to an unnamed ghost, but this spirit is most notable for apparently shutting off the juke box when it gets sick of too much country music. Steve Steward