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The Museum Club

When Dean Eldredge opened his roadside novelty gallery in 1931, he sought to add to his unusual assemblage of oddities by advertising with the words “Wanted: freaks, antique guns and prehistoric Indian curios.” An avid collector of stuffed creatures and other unique items, Eldredge was long interested in expanding his collection of some 30,000 curiosities, which he had gathered together in a distinctive pine lodge outside Flagstaff. It was an uncanny assortment that included such rarities as one-eyed, six-legged and two-headed farm animals.

Unfortunately, the bulk of Eldredge's collection is now long-gone. Thankfully, his unique building is still there and the freaks have been replaced with other, more intriguing oddities—namely, poltergeists.

After Eldredge passed away, the place reopened under the name the Museum Club as a post-Prohibition roadhouse that served some of the county's first legal booze in nearly 14 years. After several fairly successful years and a string of new owners, a man named Don Scott bought the building in 1963 and turned it into a highly popular honky-tonk, drawing some of the biggest names in country music. Under his guidance, the Museum Club entered what has been considered the establishment's heyday.

The good times came to a tragic end, however, when, in 1973, Don's wife Thorna fell down the stairway that leads to the club's upstairs apartment, fatally breaking her neck. Depression subsequently followed Don through the following months until he ended his own life in 1975 by putting a gun to his head in front of the club's fireplace.

The Museum Club soon reopened under new management and continues to serve customers to this day in Don and Thorna Scott's absence, although many people may disagree with the accuracy of that statement. An increasing number of disturbances, mostly benign, take place within the establishment, leading a number of people to believe the Scotts haven't left.

The most innocuous among the incidents are the occasional creaking and footsteps heard coming from the second floor. Employees and passersby have even reported seeing the lights on upstairs, despite the electricity having been shut off due to disuse. More disturbing are the times a manager will hear voices coming from outside his office well after closing time, or in one instance, witness the TV remote flying through the door. Sometimes, the fireplace burns intensely without anyone having lit a fire, while rocking chairs sway of their own accord.

At the bar, employees will commonly see a row of liquor bottles clink together one after the other as though someone were running his or her hand along the tops. At least once, a bartender has come in to open up and discovered the bar in total disarray, bottles scattered and knocked over, even though everything had been cleaned up prior to closing time the night before.

Some have even seen the image of a woman in the building when no one else is around. She’s been seen walking across the dance floor, but is more likely to hang around the back staircase. Customers have attempted to buy drinks for the woman after spotting her sitting alone in a booth, only to have her vanish before the waitress can deliver the order. Even more bizarre are the instances when she appears behind the back bar when it's closed and unknowing patrons unsuccessfully try to order a drink from her. When she ignores them, the customers complain to someone else, then return to find her gone.

Yet, the most disturbing incident occurred in 1984 when Richard Bentley, the staff handyman, experienced a close encounter with the mysterious woman. He was living in the upstairs apartment at the time, and late one night, he was roused from his sleep by a woman who was sitting on his chest and pinning his arms to the bed. She told him he shouldn't be afraid because “only the living” could hurt him. Bentley struggled his way free and jumped out the upstairs window. After calling the club's owner from a motel to explain what happened, he quit his job and left Flagstaff.

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