The Sandbar family got some bad news a few days ago.
One of our former employees, Dean, passed away this week. Even though we haven't seen him in several years, Dean remained near and dear to our hearts.
Dean started working here on Sept. 2, 2000. We don't always remember the exact date someone starts working, but this one was significant: it was the day manager Dave got married. Most of the staff was attending the wedding, and Dave needed someone to work.
Dean had become a regular at the bar, drinking Miller Lite and wearing loud Hawaiian shirts. And, he was from Florida. We couldn't have picked a better hire for a tropical beach bar! So, Dean's first shift was on a Saturday night, which was probably a normal Saturday until the wedding party descended after midnight and then left the new guy to figure out how to close the bar.
Dean was a trooper, though, and he figured it out. He was going to school at KU, working on graduate degrees in the music department. He loved the Florida Gators and made sure everyone knew it. Dean was a loyal employee and always willing to work, and everyone loved him.
Dean was one of the first people to experience the Sandbar ghost. Our first documented evidence of the ghost is from the night after St. Patrick's Day, 2003, and Dean was there to witness it.
He eventually finished his degrees and left Lawrence for Indiana. He was back in town in November, 2007, and Dave was thrilled to see him.
Then, he came back a few months later in March, 2008, and several of us were able to enjoy an evening of sushi and drinking with him. We'll always remember the fun we had that night.
The picture below was taken when Dean was here in November, 2007.
We'll miss you, Dean, and raise our Miller Lites in your honor.
We're hoping to plan a memorial at the Sandbar sometime soon, so Dean's friends and former customers can come together and share memories. You can also leave your memories of him in the comments.
Visit the Facebook memorial page for Dean to see lots of pictures and read many great memories that people have of Dean.
Regular readers of this blog know that we've been serious about researching the ghost that seems to haunt the Sandbar.
Last week, on the 148th anniversary of Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, several Sandbar staff and friends went on a history tour around town.
Our chief ghost researcher, Emerson, believed at one time that our ghost was a soldier killed in the raid. He's since moved on to other potential theories, but during his research we got interested in the raid and thought it would be smart to learn more about it. Just in case our ghost really was a soldier.
We met up with the tour leader and other participants at the Eldridge Hotel, one of the most historic sites in Kansas related to the Civil War and also home to a ghost. From there, we traveled by van to Oak Hill Cemetery in East Lawrence, the site where Quantrill's raiders gathered and looked out over Lawrence before the raid; South Park, where Lawrence soldiers were camped; Pioneer Cemetery on the KU campus, where many of those killed in the raid are buried; and finally back to the Eldridge.
The tour we took was through Paranormal Adventures USA. This group offers a variety of history and ghost tours around Kansas and Missouri, including some "ghosts and grapes" tours at wineries that really piqued our interest!
They also offer the opportunity to "clear your space" of ghosts, something we're not really sure we want to do as our ghost appears to be friendly and harmless, as well as ghost investigations. We're hoping to schedule an investigation sometime soon so we can learn more about our ghost.
In the meantime, though, we'd like to encourage everyone to learn more about the history of Lawrence, especially the Civil War and Quantrill's Raid. It was a significant event in this country's history, and it gives a lot of insight to today's ongoing sports rivalry between Kansas and Missouri!
The ghost made another appearance late at night a few weeks ago.
Tyler called Dave at home after they closed up the bar and told him the ghost had been particularly active that night; Emerson even claimed to have seen the ghost standing over by the jukebox.
Dave pulled up the webcam online to take a look at the bar, and he noticed that the guys had left the "open" sign on. He called Tyler back.
"Hey, you guys left the "open" sign on."
"No we didn't," Tyler said. "I know we turned it off, because I had to go back in and unplug the specials sign."
Dave was positive it was on, so he actually rode his scooter down to the bar- and the "open" sign was on. He was too freaked out to go inside, so he went back home and pulled up the webcam again.
This time the sign was off.
Dave really freaked out, until he found out that Tyler had gone back to the bar and turned it off, apparently during the short time Dave was driving home.
But, they all still swear the ghost turned the light on in the first place.
If you've followed this blog for very long, you know we have a ghost in the bar. And you may also know that we're actively researching the ghost to find out who he was in his former life. You might say we've become a little bit obsessed.
Our good friend Emerson is leading the investigation. He's also a history buff, and he's spent countless hours poring over old maps, pictures and other information trying to figure out who our ghost might be. At one point, he was convinced that it was the ghost of a soldier killed in Quantrill's Raid.
So, when we saw that Paranormal Adventures USA had a history tour scheduled for Lawrence this weekend, we jumped on it. A group of us are going on the Quantrill's Raid tour on Sunday. It starts at the Eldridge Hotel- another local spot known for having a ghost- and lasts for two hours.
Who knows, maybe we'll find out something interesting about our block or even our building!
Clearly Sandbar ghost stories are a hit with our small but loyal audience. Our recent post about Dave's first sighting of the ghost got quite a bit of traffic.
According to Dave, the ghost had been quiet for a long time. Until recently, because of a good friend and regular who shall remain nameless because he is terrified of the ghost and he might lose credibility in his day job if we named him.
This friend decided to start looking into old city records to find out what businesses have been in our building in the past and see if there was a connection. Around that time, the ghost started acting up- and that's when Dave saw him.
The ghost also made an appearance the night of the infamous toilet-trashing episode. While the guys were cleaning the bar up after closing time, they heard the distinctive sound of a chiming doorbell coming from the bathroom. There is nothing in the bar that would make the sound of a doorbell.
Of course the recent ghost activity freaked our friend out, and he's decided to stop snooping in city records. (He also may never use the restroom in the bar again.) And the ghost has been quiet ever since.
Dave was working late one night upstairs in the office. He heard someone coming up the stairs and assumed it was Tyler, heading into the upstairs front room to turn off the neon lights in the windows. He even caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of his eye as he passed the office door.
Dave walked into the front room, but didn't see Tyler anywhere.
He went downstairs, where he found Tyler cleaning up. Dave asked him if he'd been upstairs at all, and Tyler said no.
This is the first sighting of the Sandbar ghost. We've heard lots of stories of the ghost playing tricks on the staff, but to my knowledge no one has actually seen the ghost yet. Until now.
For more ghost stories, click here.