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Uninvited Dinner Guests in Rio Bravo Cantina

Posted on April 10, 2011

I have had more than a dozen experiences that I would not exactly call “normal” in my lifetime. I am known at work as the “Story Teller” and I am often accused of scaring my employees right before they leave at night. Although ALL of my stories are true. I thought it may be interesting to share some of my experiences with others like me. I often refer to the question when I start a story as “does their brain go there or not?” Meaning simply “Do you believe in ghosts?”

I’ll start with my haunted restaurant. I was a manager of a restaurant called Rio Bravo Cantina in Chattanooga, Tennessee from 1999 – 2002. The time that I spent there I had several things happen inside of the restaurant that I could not explain. It started one night while I was counting liquor inventory in the bar. We had closed for the night and I was alone in the restaurant. At the end of the night I would often turn everything off, like the music, televisions and radio in the kitchen. I enjoyed the quiet. It was a nice break from hearing my employees and guests calling my name all night.

I was standing behind the bar and looking up at the cages that housed the alcohol with my clipboard and pencil in hand. Suddenly I heard the sizzling sound of the TV turning on. There were two TV’s in the bar area at either end suspended from the ceiling. I stopped counting and leaned over the bar and looked up. Sure enough, the TV was on with some fuzzy channel playing, no sound. I looked to my left and saw that the remote was lying on the bar top out of my reach. I stood frozen for a moment contemplating what was happening. The TV volume then turned all the way up and started changing channels from 0 – 52 and back again. I instinctually grabbed the remote and turned the TV off.

I waited for a few moments, completely freaked out, trying to explain it in my head somewhere as faulty wiring, bad batteries, something that would logically explain this. I laid down the clipboard and pencil and without finishing the counts I got my stuff and left. I never told anyone about this at the time this was happening because I thought they would think I was going crazy.

A couple of weeks after this happened it would happen while there were guests in the building. They would be watching the game and the channel would turn. No one holding the remote. Remote would be on the counter. Sometimes it would look like someone was holding down the channel up or down button while the TV constantly ran through channels. Everyone explained it off as a “screwy” TV. Still, I did not share my previous experience.

A while after this, I was sitting in the office with the door propped open. The view from the office door led straight down the cooks line in the kitchen. I was counting the safe, so I was sitting in a chair and hunched over pretty low to get out all the money. Again, I was the only one in the building. Suddenly, one of our cutting boards flew off the cooks line table and landed near the propped open door with a HUGE clattering sound. These cutting boards were about 6′ long and pretty heavy. They got washed at the end of every shift and I could understand if one fell off the counter because it was wet, but it certainly should not fly a good 4′ from where they were on the counter. I was SCARED TO DEATH! My heart was pounding out of my chest. I quickly shut the safe, got my stuff and left, stepping over the cutting board on the ground.

The next day, the opening Kitchen Manager asked if I knew why there were several cutting boards on the floor that morning. I froze and asked how many? He said there were 3 or 4 and they were not really near the cooks line. Just randomly placed around the kitchen. I told him I did not know and I thought that it was weird. Again, I did not tell anyone what had happened to me.

Often times when I was doing a final walk through the building, if there were brooms or mops leaning against the walls they would fall over in front of me, and after I had put in a notice to leave the activity seemed to be picking up and happening way too often. It got to where something was happening every night. I started finding reasons for co-workers to stay and “keep me company” or for my boyfriend (and now husband) to come and meet me for my final paperwork of the night. I never told anyone I was afraid to be there by myself. Nothing EVER happened (besides the TV) if someone else was there.

Then, one night, about 2 or 3 nights before my last day was the grand finale! I knew that my boyfriend was on his way to meet me from leaving a local pool hall, and I was going to sit in the dining room to get some final paperwork done before he came. The restaurant was divided into to sections by a wall that separated the bar from the dining room. When you exited the kitchen through the swinging doors, you were in the dining room and could not see the bar or the front door. As soon as I swung open the door to the dining room I heard LOUD shattering glass and froze. It sounded like someone had put their fist though a window. I was certain someone was breaking in to the restaurant.

I quietly ran back to the office, shut the door, grabbed my phone and called my boyfriend. (yeah, NOT 911, but my boyfriend… not sure what I was thinking!) When he answered I asked how far away he was and he said about 5 minutes and asked why and if I was ok I told him what I heard and that I feared we were getting robbed. He told me to hang up and call the police immediately and he would be right there. My heart racing and hiding crouched in the floor in the office, I dialed 911. While I waited for the cops to arrive I started to worry that if my boyfriend beat them to the restaurant they would think that he was the one breaking in.

I waited long enough for the cops to arrive, grabbed a makeshift weapon, and creeped out of the office. When I rounded the wall I could see several blue lights outside of the restaurant. TEN police cars! I ran to the entrance to let them in. My boyfriend arrived around the same time (and they did briefly think he was the suspect). Myself, my boyfriend and a total of about 15 police officers started checking the restaurant for an intruder. I was behind a cop with his gun drawn. They all had their guns drawn. The front door was not broken in, so after we all searched the ENTIRE restaurant inside and out, we were instructed to look around windows or just anywhere where their might be broken glass.

I went with 3 officers and my boyfriend to the bar area to see if something had fallen there. I ran my hand down the bar while I walked back and forth. I then thought maybe a glass fell of the glass rack and shattered on the bar. ALL 5 of us checked out this theory and the cops even shined flashlights under the bar and onto the floors. NOTHING. Things were wrapping up and the officers began socializing “How are the kids Bob? Great how’s the wife?” and such. Everyone was starting to look at me like I was crazy. My boyfriend was telling me, oh you’re just tired, and I’m sure you’ll explain it logically later. i was determined to find this broken glass. I went back to the bar area to check a couple of more things. There, plain as day, on the bar top under the glass rack were SEVERAL broken glasses shattered into small pieces all over the bar. I called my previous search team back over and asked how we could miss this. No one spoke. Nervously scratching their heads and saying we had to have just missed it somehow, they soon decided it was time to go! They wouldn’t even let me clean up the mess. Everyone there that night was very freaked out.

I now work for a different restaurant in Georgia. I was substituting for the Chattanooga location one night and chatting with the bartender. He was asking where I used to work when I lived there. The Rio Bravo had now been turned into several other restaurants, and he had been the manager of the one right after the closing of Rio. I asked him if he ever experienced anything strange while he was there alone. He looked at me cocking his head and said “define strange?” I said, you know just weird stuff. He immediately said, “You mean how the TV would come on and turn channels and volume levels all the time? Yes. Almost every night.” I had not told him anything about my experiences. I guest the uninvited guests are still lurking around. I wonder what they want?

Sent in by Shawna D., Copyright 2011 TrueGhostTales.com

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Tags: Chattanooga Tennessee, Haunted Work Places, Tennessee

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One Response to “Uninvited Dinner Guests in Rio Bravo Cantina”
  1. Rosie says:

    I think there is a drunk ghost there. He loves to take control of this place and when he is drunk, he does crazy things such as throwing stuff. Does it make sense? If I were you, I would have told everybody I worked with what was going on there. So nobody thinks you are crazy.

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