The Blue Lady: Ghost on the Coast

The Blue Lady

The Blue Lady

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Are you an avid seeker of paranormal experiences or do you just get a sudden chill on the back of your neck when visiting spooky places? Perhaps you don’t believe in ghosts at all. I can’t say if there are really spirits from beyond that lurk around us, but I have occasionally been a frightened traveler in eerie places. Let me tell you about the Blue Lady ghost.

Yesterday, I decided to take a drive to the coast for a little lunch and ghost hunting. I was so brave.

The Setting

Moss Beach Distillery

Built by Frank Torres in 1927, Frank’s Place operated as a speakeasy and was popular with silent film stars, notables such as writer Dashiell Hammett, and San Francisco politicians (which explains why it was never raided during Prohibition). Frank’s Place continued to be a successful business even after the Prohibition Act was repealed in 1933 and it’s now known as Moss Beach Distillery. The restaurant is located just off the Pacific Coast Highway in Moss Beach, California seven miles north of Half Moon Bay and about 25 miles south of San Francisco.

Although the sun was shining when I took the photo above, skies were more ominous most of the afternoon, as seen in this photo taken from inside.

Ominous Skies at Moss Beach Distillery

The Lady and the Ghost

Opinions are varied about whether or not the restaurant is haunted, but there are psychics and paranormal investigators who believe that there is a ghost, rather famously known as the Blue Lady. Over the years, restaurant employees and customers have claimed to witness bizarre phenomena such as moving objects, and to have the eerie sensation that there is an invisible presence. Even customers who don’t know the story of the Blue Lady have asked if the place is haunted. From the 1930s to the 1960s, there were many who said they saw the lady dressed in blue, but now she mostly stays out of sight, favoring playful pranks and mischief.

According to those who say they’ve communicated with the spirit, the woman’s name was Elizabeth Claire Donovan. However, psychic Annette Martin says that Elizabeth prefers to be called “Catye”. There are various theories about Catye, a common one being that in the 1930s she was a married woman from San Francisco who had left an abusive husband. She met a handsome man who played the piano at the bar in Frank’s Place and was often there to be with him. One night, her husband found her and a fight erupted between him and Catye’s lover on the secluded beach below Frank’s Place.

Beach Below Moss Beach Distillery

Because there are no reliable records of what actually occurred, the story is pretty hazy. But it’s said that the next morning a beautiful woman dressed in blue was found stabbed to death on the beach — presumably Catye, murdered by her husband. According to legend, her lover was injured in the fight, but was back at the piano the next night; the husband was never found; and Catye continues to search for her lover at the Distillery.

A Table for the Blue Lady

The Blue Lady’s Favorite Table?

Do you see Catye and her ghostly friends having lunch? Actually, people had just finished lunch and left, but some believe that table to be the Blue Lady’s favorite spot in the main dining room. Other paranormal investigators have said that she is often in the dining area on the lower level. A waitress told me that she has not yet seen any of the ghost’s shenanigans because she’s only been there for a year and always works in the daytime, but she’s looking forward to such an opportunity.

A Scary Restroom

Downstairs hallway

Downstairs Hallway

Around the corner at the end of this dark, quiet hallway are the restrooms. I jumped a little as a woman was coming out of the Ladies’ just as I started to open the door. Once inside, I glanced at the mirror in which some have reported seeing the Blue Lady’s image, afraid of what I might find looking back at me. I felt a bit uneasy in there, so I got in and out as quickly as possible! I guess I’m not a very brave ghost hunter, after all.

Ladies Room at Moss Beach Distillery

Don’t Be Afraid of the Blue Lady

Seal Cove Patio

Seal Cove Patio

Ghost or no ghost, the Seal Cove Patio on the lower level is a wonderful place for sitting near a fire pit bundled up in blankets on a cool evening while watching a sunset over the Pacific Ocean. It is a dog-friendly patio, so bring your pet if it’ll keep your spirits up.

For more information: Moss Beach Distillery

Flower on the cliff on the Pacific Ocean

On the Cliff at Moss Beach Distillery

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48 thoughts on “The Blue Lady: Ghost on the Coast

  1. Jeff Titelius

    I got chills reading this post. I am a big paranormal fan and attended an investigation in my home town of Mount Dora last year in the old jail from the turn of the twentieth century! SPOOKY!!!!!!! Great post my friend and I too would have been scared heading to the restroom!!

    1. Cathy Post author

      I half-believe, too. Well, maybe more that half after a couple of experiences I’ve had. There’s one I’ve never written about — maybe for Halloween. 😉

  2. Mary @ The World Is A Book

    I shouldn’t be reading spooky stories close to bedtime in the dark. But, a part of me enjoyed this 🙂 What a gorgeous view to have while dining. I’m with you..I would have been too paranoid to be in that restroom alone. I want to hang out in that patio.

  3. Laurence

    I don’t think I believe in ghosts. I’d like to think that there is something beyond once we’ve shuffled off this mortal coil, but I’m kinda hoping it’s a bit more interesting than wandering around old buildings wailing. Knowing my luck, the Buddhists have got it right and I’m going to come back as a snail, and the wailing in an old building gig will seem like a much better idea, but there we are.

  4. Nomadic Samuel

    Oh Halloween is one of my favourite holidays because it is just a few days after my birthday and as a child growing up I’d get presents and then lots of candy 😛 I’m not sure if I believe in ghosts but I think I may have encountered one before.

  5. Jackie Smith

    I love these kinds of places – only because I get as jumpy as you described although I tell myself there is nothing there and how silly it all is. I will probably see a ghost one day and then never return to anything remotely connected with them!

  6. Leigh

    I LOVE the photo of the lady and despite the fact the place sounds a tad spooky I’d be happy to plunk my body into a chair on the patio with a view. However my mind is quite capable of imagining things especially under the right circumstances of quiet and dark.

  7. InACents

    I’m not a believer in the whole ghost phenomena, but there is no way I would step foot in that place if I knew any of this. A bit eerie and creepy, and I would think my food was poisoned.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Just for the record, I want to say that the food is very good (and safe) at Moss Beach in my experiences. No need to worry about that!

  8. inka

    I love ghost stories and thanks to you I now have another one for my collection. You didn’t say: did the Blue Lady stare back at you when looking in the mirror in the rest room?

  9. jenny@atasteoftravel

    A great story. I’m not sure if I believe in ghosts or not but hearing the story would be enough to freak me out going to the restroom. I’m going to join the others on the patio below!

    1. Cathy Post author

      The patio is a big plus at Moss Beach Distillery. I don’t know if anyone’s ever said they felt the Blue Lady’s presence there. Hmmm…

  10. Sophie

    Very cool post, Cathy. Although it would be fun, interesting and deliciously spooky if ghosts did exist, I’ve never met one, so can’t really believe it. Love ghost stories and haunted places all the same.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Thanks, Sophie. I’m not quite prepared to say that I definitely believe in ghosts, but I’m not going to say I don’t, either. Not very brave of me, I admit.

  11. Arianwen

    Yikes! I don’t think I would ever do this. I got really freaked out in Malaysia once when everyone in the hostel was telling spooky stories. I had to get my friend to accompany me to the bathrooms in the early hours of the morning!

  12. Pingback: Scary Travel Tales | Traveling with Sweeney

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