Opened in July of 1977, the original owner Janie Harris became quite sure there was at least one ghost by October of the same year, not quite four months after opening. She was 50 years old at the time and until then did not believe in ghosts.
I came to work here in July 1978, and eventually purchased the business from my mother, Janie Harris. It only took a few months to convince me that there was at least one ghost dwelling within The Shrimp Factory.
During the past 25 years I have witnessed, along with many long-term employees, the same occurrences that simply cannot be explained or discounted any other way.
During the summer our staircase leading to the storage room is extremely hot and humid. During the evening, about halfway up the stairs you will be hit by a feeling of cold air all around you. It actually feels quite good. Many times during the summer coming up the steps I have hoped for the ghost to cool me off. But, it always happens unexpectedly and in my experience, after dark.
We refer to our storage room as upstairs or the storage room. There is never any reason for anyone to be upstairs unless they are going for supplies. So many times I have asked a manager, what’s going on, who is upstairs? It always sounds like a large group of people talking quietly. We used to run up the steps to see. Now we just look at each other and say, The Ghost is having some fun again.
For so many years we wondered if the fan lights flickered, or if the fans themselves stopped and started because of an electrical problem. About 10 years ago, our electrical wiring was replaced and we installed new switches and dimmers. It became clear after that that The Ghost was having fun with us. Our electrician, who at the time did not believe in ghosts, DOES NOW!
Our Ghost likes to have plenty of rum up in our liquor storage room. In the winter, because business is slow, we let our inventory run low. In the past when all of our rum was in the bar and none left in the liquor room, bottles would break or fall with no explanation. We have found we are far better off to always leave some rum in the liquor storage area. We have always wondered why the Ghost prefers rum to whiskey. Also, why the Ghost prefers to dwell in the liquor storage room almost always. Upon entering, you will almost certainly feel the presence, not only by the chill in the air, but a definite movement that is hard to describe because you cannot see it.
Some of the longer-term employees refer to the Ghost as Joe. He was about 55 years old when he collapsed and died on the staircase August 1977. His cause of death was listed as natural. His wife always had a hard time with that because he was supposedly in such good health.
Sometimes I feel The Ghost is Joe but mostly I feel this Ghost lived a long, long ago, before there was a Shrimp Factory and this historic building was just an old cotton warehouse.