ROANOKE, Va. – Corned Beef & Co. is one of the most popular spots in Downtown Roanoke, but some might not know about the spooky things that happen after dark.
It’s family-friendly by day, and a bustling bar by night, but when the party stops, the “paranormal experiences” are just getting started.
“When there’s a lot of people in here, you don’t really experience a lot of stuff going on. It’s really when it starts clearing out and it’s just us in here,” said Corned Beef General Manager Sal Russo.
Employees said it all started with a painting.
Near their management office hangs a picture of Captain Andrew McKeever, and its spooky reputation has been passed on from employee to employee.
“They said ‘hey, that picture, don’t ever touch it.’ The only time we do go around it is when we clean it. It’s never been moved,” added Russo.
Assistant manager Brent Andrews heard the same thing.
“That it was haunted, that if you move it, the ghost would follow you around the restaurant,” Andrews said.
Haunted or cursed – as the story goes, those who touch it pay a price.
Russo recalled one story he heard when he started working there.
“A girl that was hanging Christmas lights around the captain, that she actually touched the painting, that she cut her hand pretty bad that day at Corned Beef,” Russo said.
“The people that touched it and tried to clean it, they saw shadows walking around, that things would get knocked off the countertops,” Andrews explained.
There’s a feeling their mere presence in the room is what provokes the Captain.
“Before I actually turned all the lights off, the lights shut off on their own. Not exactly sure how it happened, but they shut off for about three seconds and then they cut back on all by themselves,” Russo added.
From the billiards to the ‘boom boom room,’ there are even more unexplained happenings, and many believe the Captain is the culprit.
“A few customers have said they’ve heard voices and thought their name was being called or whispered, and they never saw anybody,” said Russo.
Employees said that after hours, even when the crowds have cleared, some rooms still don’t feel empty.
“I thought I may have seen a silhouette or someone walking through. Or think someone was in the room and there was no one in there, but I thought someone was in there,” said Andrews.
A presence is felt, and among the creaks are faint voices.
“There have been also rumors of people hearing their names whispered coming down the stairs,” Russo said.
Is it the Captain condemning Corned Beef or is it just a mirage in the minds of patrons and employees? Either way, the ‘paranormal activity’ hasn’t stopped the party, but the legend lives on.
Cursed or coincidence? We’ll let you decide.