Unexplainable sounds, moving objects and disappearing items are just a few experiences some Midland residents and visitors have witnessed at three haunted buildings located on Main Street. Cigar Frogs is a local piano bar that has been serving a variety of music, wine, beer and cigars to its customers since it’s opening in August of 2009. Before opening, owners Joe and Martha Dunham knew the building was haunted from the time they started renovating it.
The first indication they had that assured them something was going on was when one of the people working on the building went to get a chalk line from a table which tools were kept on, and it was missing. He asked the rest of the crew if they had seen or taken the tools and no one had. “Two weeks to the day, they walked in and the chalk line was on the table,” Mrs. Dunham said.
One Sunday the owners and crew were working on décor for the building. “I had laid a pair of scissors down on the bar to go to Michael’s. I came back and the scissors were gone. The bar was closed. When we found them, they were in the back storage room,” Mrs. Dunham said. Another time while renovating, more tools went missing. “I had two, old claw hammers. When we came in the next day they were gone and two others were there that didn’t belong to anyone,” Mr. Dunham said.
The Dunham’s aren’t the only ones who have witnessed anything abnormal in their bar. “We had a young man ask ‘Do y’all have anything unusual happen or things moved around? My family used to own the Jewelry store in this building and we had things like that happen all the time.’ ”, Mrs. Dunham said. Not only have people experienced their things going missing, but some believe to have seen an apparition. “A couple of times, customers have caught glimpse of a young man who is described as Hispanic, young and slim built. I’ve never seen him,” Mrs. Dunham said.
The ghost is called Jack and has never been harmful to anyone who has entered the bar. “He’s not mean, just mischievous,” Mr. Dunham said. Jack has been said to be fascinated with electronics. “He turns the hand dryers on in the bathrooms and turns off the lights. Water has started running on its own,” Mrs. Dunham said. “I was in the bathroom and the lights turned off. I yelled, ‘Jack, turn on the lights,’ and they turned back on,” Mr. Dunham added.
The security cameras have never caught evidence of Jack, but has detected that someone was in the building. “The dot that blinks at the upper left (of the security camera), that only blinks when somebody is in the picture. Sometimes there will be no one there, but the light will be blinking,” Mrs. Dunham said. Once, the humidifier in the humidor was turned up while the bar was closed. It was thought to have been a customer, but the security camera showed that no one touched it.
Most of the activity happens in the area between the bar and the sports room. “One time, my husband and a customer were sitting at the bar and a glass slid from one end of the bar to the other, fell and broke,” Mrs. Dunham said. There are glass refrigerators used to store beer located behind the bar that Mrs. Dunham has seen the reflection of someone in while she was the only one there.
A Cigar Frogs employee, Katelyn Craft, who has worked there for over a year believes that there is someone or something that haunts the bar. “Sometimes you’ll walk in and it will feel still. It feels a little uncomfortable, but as soon as you get into your routine it goes away,” Craft said. The lounge area closest the bar has had its share of odd happenings as well.
“We had a group of people sitting right here (lounge area) and one of the light bulbs unscrewed itself and shattered on the ground,” Craft said. She explained that the fan had been on, but at a low setting. Craft has also seen someone in the bar while there alone. “You can just be standing here. It’ll just be you and you can see someone moving around in the humidor through the security cameras,” Craft said.
Craft has also heard noises throughout the building. “You can be here completely by yourself and the doors will sound like they had been opened, but they won’t be open,” Craft said. Once there was a couple who didn’t believe that the bar was haunted. They were sitting around the same area where the light bulb fell, and decorative ivy that was hanging on the wall fell down beside them.
Two of the buildings next to Cigar frogs are said to be haunted too. A former manager of Cigar Frogs was working when two ladies came in who appeared to be flustered. “She (manager) said they were both white as sheets. She asked if she could help them and they asked if they could have a bottle of water and sit down for a few minutes. She asked if something was wrong. And they said yes,” Mrs. Dunham said.
The two ladies were working on the building next door and heard a scream coming from the third floor. They ran upstairs and there was no one there. “They didn’t know they were alone until they got to the third floor and realized they were the only ones there. They said they would never go back,” Mrs. Dunham said.
Another building next door to Cigar Frogs, formerly known as The Ritz is also said to be haunted. Mr. and Mrs. Dunham originally rented the building to start Cigar Frogs but the building was bought by PBS. Before it was bought out, the Dunham’s, along with a group of others including a professional ghost hunter and psychic went into The Ritz to do an investigation.
During the investigation, the psychic felt a presence and asked Mrs. Dunham if the name Jack Dial meant anything to her. “I tried researching that name but never found anything,” Mrs. Dunham said. After the investigation, the people from the group had discovered orbs in photos of The Ritz. One of the people from the group also complained about feeling someone being too close to them and feeling uncomfortable.
The buildings in that area are some of the older establishments in the area. The building where Cigar Frogs is located was built in 1935. The things that have happened throughout the years in those three buildings are unknown, but one thing for sure is that paranormal activity has taken place.