On any given weekend in the busy season, you’ll find Jerome, Arizona’s, Haunted Hamburgers packed with tourists. They come to eat a Ghostly Burger ($14) or to simply brag later to friends that they dined at a famous ghost town eatery.
So how did the restaurant gets its ghostly reputation? Believe it or not, it started with missing hammers. Here’s the story, slightly edited, as it was presented on its first menu:
It all started years ago when Michelle and Eric Jurisin acquired the restaurant. The building, old and abandoned, was in need of great repair. That’s when the funny business began.
As with all old buildings, when inhabitants take initial occupation, from its walls come the spirits to observe, and sometimes greet the newcomers. The Haunted Hamburger spirits were no different. Not only were these spirits curious but possibly frustrated tradesmen from long ago as it was tools they liked to take. More specifically, hammers. Yes, hammers. One hammer, then two, then three hammers disappeared.
Was this a case of memory loss? At first it was thought so until a prior owner asked the Jurisins if they had met the ghosts yet and to beware – they liked hammers! Shortly after this confirmation the hammers began to reappear showing up in the most conspicuous places.
WHAT FOLLOWED NEXT was too ‘in your face’ to ignore, says Eric. One day, in the middle of repairs, he remembered he needed to go upstairs to finish a project. Just as he reached the top floor, the door he was standing next to slammed, nearly smashing him in the face. You could argue a cross breeze was strong enough to slam a door. Except in this case Eric had just sealed all of the building’s windows with thick plastic and tape to keep out the cold winter air.
Other odd occurrences that have frightened staff, owners and guests alike have included cans flying off shelves, the hot water being turned on in the middle of the night and distinct smells in the stairwell. Some photographs taken by guests have captured the vague image of a woman.
So is the Haunted Hamburger truly haunted? Hang out for a while and see for yourself.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh, the food is excellent.