; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, February 15, 2016

Restaurant X

I recently received the following odd incident account:

Dear Mr. Strickler,

I would like to thank you for your website. I appreciate that you let people tell their stories, without harsh judgement. That is why I’ve decided to contact you. I have come to the conclusion that I am just someone who has odd experiences. I have had things happen to me since I was a kid. UFO sightings, paranormal encounters, possible cryptids; I just seem to be in the right place at the right time. Over the years I have grown more comfortable with the experiences I’ve had, I just wish I could explain them better. One experience that still bothers me, since I can’t even figure out a category in which to put it, is an experience I had many years ago. I have recently remembered a number of strange things I’ve witnessed, and these memories have had such an urgency about them. It is a little unsettling. However, I try to remain open, so I can remember/experience them to the best of my ability.

The incident I’ve been reminded of was when I was in Chicago for a ‘tourist’ weekend, with a woman I was dating. We had been to the Art Institute during the day on Saturday. It was a Saturday in August of 1988 or 89, I know I was in graduate school at the time. After we had left the Art Institute, we walked around the area and window shopped until around 8pm. We were both getting hungry, so we decided to find someplace to eat. She mentioned that there were supposed to be good restaurants in a warehouse district a little north of where we were. So we drove a little and parked the car in what seemed like a rather questionable area. There were plenty of people walking about, so it also seemed to be ok. We walked a few blocks and were in what seemed to be a construction area, or maybe a destruction area, they seemed to be tearing a building down. Next to this lot, was a multilevel building, but not tall enough to be a sky scraper, maybe a 10 or 12 floor office-type building. This area was devoid of other people, and the building seemed to be shut down for the weekend, but we walked right up to the front door and went into the building. There was a hallway that stretched out in both directions to the left and right. On the wall in front of us was a sign that said “Restaurant X”.

There were 2 heavy appearing, wood doors just down the hallway to our left. We walked to the doors and opened one of them. We stepped into a very dimly lit restaurant, that also seemed devoid of people. All of the sudden a woman appeared, out of nowhere, and asked us to follow her. She was dressed in a dark suit, and was carrying menus. She sat us at a square table near the center of the restaurant, gave us our menus and a wine list then walked away. We were descended upon by three wait staff; one woman and two men. I don’t remember much about their appearance other than they were all dressed in clean white chef’s coats and dark pants? Didn't really see the pants, but it was a dark garment, so I assumed they were wearing pants. The woman took our orders and then instructed the men to carry out our requests. On guy was the wine guy, who would run over and pour wine whenever our glasses were a bit low, and the other guy was the water guy doing the same thing. The woman took our food order. I remember I ordered the skate on angel hair pasta with a lemon butter sauce. I remember that because I had never seen skate on a menu before, and honestly, I haven’t seen it on a menu since. It was delicious! The wine was excellent, and odd. Odd because we ordered one bottle of wine and drank from it all night…we probably consumed about 3 bottles worth. And we didn’t get drunk, but we should have at least been tipsy. As we were eating, no one else came into the restaurant. We had the whole place to ourselves. The wait staff would stand off to the side of the restaurant, behind us, where it was dark and difficult to see them. We finished our meal, paid our bill and left. We talked about how odd it was that there were no people around and that there was no one in the restaurant. We went back to our hotel, and left for home the next day.

Now is where stuff gets really weird. At the time, I was involved in biathlon racing (at this time it was running and biking and went on to be called duathlons). I was to do the Coors Light Biathlon in Chicago that next weekend. I would be traveling back to Chicago on Wednesday, with a close friend who was also in the race. We traveled to Chicago, and stayed at the race hotel, the Hyatt on Whacker Dr. Got to the hotel in the late afternoon, unpacked, and my friend mentioned that she was getting hungry. I suggested going to this great restaurant that I had eaten at the weekend before. It was pricey, but it was worth it, and I mentioned that it was within walking distance just north of our hotel over the river.

I do not remember the address, but at the time I knew where it was. So we set off to walk to the restaurant in the early evening. We got to the corner where the building was being torn down and there was the office-type building next door. The office building looked different, more abandoned, if that makes sense, like it had been sitting, empty for some time. More run down, maybe. The building was there, however, there was no Restaurant X. Again, we could get in the building, but there was no sign on the wall. There were some desks in the hallway with some chairs turned upside down on top of them. They were dusty, like they had been there for a while. There was also some writing, I guess graffiti, on the hallway wall. Those two heavy wood doors were not there. There was no evidence that there ever was a Restaurant X, or any other thing at that location. It looked like an abandoned office complex that had been empty for way more than four days. At first, I thought I was mistaken about where I was, but I’m really good with directions and locations. I looked around the neighborhood and it was the right location, and it was the right building. I was really confused, and a little upset. My friend suggested that we just find a different place to eat. She figured that the restaurant just closed. I knew that was not right. We ate at a different place a couple blocks away, and went back to the hotel. Once we got back to the hotel, I looked in the phone book, no listing for Restaurant X. I called information, no such business. I asked the registration clerk if she knew about Restaurant X, she did not.

The woman I was dating was a reference librarian at the Iowa State library. I told her about the disappearance of Restaurant X when I got home after the race. She looked into it a little, but could find no information or evidence that Restaurant X ever existed. The more I think about it, the odder it gets.

I have been having some other types of experiences recently. I don't know what to think of some of the things that have been happening, or how to deal with them. I'm not crazy, nor do I desire to focus attention on myself. I just want to know how to go about investigating the experiences I've had/am having. I would appreciate your take on the above experience. I have never run across anything that seemed similar. Thank you. JM

NOTE: I have heard of similar situations before...and oddly enough, many occur in areas where there are buildings. I don't know if it's a time displacement from an earlier period or an actual entrance into an alternate reality. It is a bewildering phenomenon...Lon

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