Ghost Lifestyle – There’s nothing like a good meal to bring people together. And diners are some of the most unifying restaurants out there. After all, what’s more American than pie? The very first diner was created in 1924 and they’ve been growing in popularity ever since. But there’s something special about old-fashioned diners that can make even the smallest one feel haunted.
These vintage establishments offer something much more than just a juicy hamburger and an ice-cold Coca-Cola. From the moment you walk through their double doors and are greeted with a blast from the past, you know these places are special. They have that certain quality that makes them stand out as much as their onion rings stand out from other restaurants. Whether it’s their odd characteristics or eerie history, these 10 places will give you goosebumps…
Top Ghostly Diners in America
It’s a well-worn trope in American horror stories: the creepy stranger with a sinister proposition, usually involving a lonely location and an icky reward. But what if that stranger was offering you food instead of darkness? That’s right, we’re talking about spooky restaurants — specifically, ghostly ones.
In this list, we’ll explore creepy diner locations that are also haunted houses. So if you like your chicken fingers with a side of spectres, read on and get hungry for goosebumps.
Denny’s at the Desert Shadow Inn
Denny’s has become a byword for cheap, no-nonsense diner food. So it might come as a surprise to learn that one of the chain’s oldest locations is haunted. The Desert Shadow Inn in Yuma, Arizona, opened in 1952 as a Howard Johnson’s restaurant, but when that chain went out of business in the late ‘60s, the Desert Shadow was rebranded as a Denny’s.
Today, it’s still run by the same family it was in the ‘50s. And, according to the staff, it’s also haunted. Reports of spooky goings-on at the diner have trickled in since the ‘90s, when a customer noticed that the restaurant’s vintage black-and-white photos were weirdly out of focus. The pictures, it turned out, were haunted by the images of a former staff member and a woman who was a regular customer when the diner was a Howard Johnson’s.
The Voorhies Dinner
The Voorhies Diner in Schenectady, New York, is the kind of place you go for hearty home cooking. It’s not a place you’d expect to find a ghost. But since the ‘90s, the diner has been haunted by the spirit of what appears to be a young woman.
She’s been spotted sitting at one of the diner’s tables, and she’s also been seen floating through the kitchen. One of the waitresses at the diner — who herself claims to have had a run-in with the ghost — has offered a few theories about the identity of the spectral diner-goer. Some think she might be a woman who had to give up her baby for adoption. Others think she’s a runaway who died in a car accident nearby.
The Colonial Diner
The Colonial Diner in Chula Vista, California, is known for its generous portions and its spooky vibes. The diner dates back to 1936, when it was a Standard Oil gas station. Now, it’s run by a guy named Barry, who also happens to be a ghost.
A former owner of the building, Barry is said to haunt the place, particularly the old office area, which can only be accessed by an old, squeaky door. Various staff members have reported hearing Barry’s footsteps in the old office, and even a few customers have claimed to have seen the spectre. Barry’s been spotted looking out of the diner’s windows and turning the lights off and on.
The Whitehorse Diner
The Whitehorse Diner in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is a popular haunt — not only as a diner but also as a paranormal hotspot. In fact, the restaurant’s owners claim it’s one of the most haunted places in the state. Over the years, staff members have reported hearing disembodied voices, strange noises, and even footsteps coming from the diner’s attic.
Strange lights have also been spotted in the diner’s yard at night. Staff members have reported seeing a shadowy figure and a woman’s face in the diner’s windows. The paranormal activity has even attracted paranormal researchers, who have listed the diner as one of the state’s most haunted places.
The Shadowland Restaurant in Clarksville, Tennessee, is a diner with a dark past. It was once owned by notorious gangster, murderer, and bootlegger Roy “the Black Creep” Austin. Austin was shot in the head during a shootout at his home in 1922, and his ghost is said to still haunt the Shadowland. The restaurant’s former guests have reported everything from cold spots to disembodied voices. One waitress even claims to have seen Austin’s ghost walk across the room and sit down at a table.
The Old Ainsworth Hotel and Cafe
The Old Ainsworth Hotel and Cafe in Virginia City, Nevada, is a must-visit for anyone fascinated by the history of the Wild West. The hotel dates back to the late 1800s, and it’s also said to date back to the paranormal.
Visitors and staff have reported seeing the images of miners from the town’s past, their ghostly figures sometimes even visible in photographs. Other guests have reported seeing a man in a large coat who, when approached, vanishes. The cafe at the hotel has also reported some haunted activity: Waitresses have seen apparitions and heard disembodied voices.
El Orrullo Hotel and Restaurant
The El Orrullo Hotel and Restaurant in Duncan, Oklahoma, has been a popular haunt since it opened in the late 1800s. Multiple people have claimed that they’ve heard disembodied footsteps on the hotel’s top floor. Others have reported seeing the ghostly image of a woman who appears to be holding a candle. The ghost has been named Mary, and she’s also been spotted in the restaurant below. Waitresses there have reported hearing strange noises and seeing disembodied voices.
The Hi-Dershimer Hot Shoppe
The Hi-Dershimer Hot Shoppe in Ashville, North Carolina, is a diner that was built in the 1920s. It’s been a popular haunt for decades thanks to its tasty food and its spectral denizens. The ghostly figures that have been spotted at the diner include a woman wearing 1920s-era garb and a man in overalls.
Another ghost is said to be that of a man who was murdered in the building. Customers and staff have reported seeing the ghosts of people from the 1920s and hearing their voices. They’ve also reported smelling tobacco smoke and feeling a cold chill.
Billy Bob’s Big Boy in Amarillo
Opened in 1963, Billy Bob’s Big Boy in Amarillo, Texas, is a diner with a dark history. It was built on property that once belonged to the Sand Creek Massacre Memorial. There, in 1865, more than 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho Native Americans were gunned down by the U.S. army.
The massacre is considered one of the worst atrocities in the Indian Wars. The area is also said to be haunted. People visiting the site have reported seeing the ghosts of Native Americans and hearing disembodied voices.
One Last Thing…
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned ghost story to get the blood flowing on a cold winter’s night. And what better way to enjoy such a story than while chowing down on some hearty diner food? These 10 spooky diners will not only scare the pants off of you but also fill your bellies with delicious food. So grab your best spooky sweater, put on your creepiest costume, and go get some food. You’ll be glad you did.