The Ghosts That Haunt Ashley’s

Ashley's Restaurant - October 2013 029By Judy Berman

Sunday mornings are the eeriest. It’s pitch-black out when Rick Austin opens Ashley’s Restaurant in Rockledge for the day.

He’s alone. So, what accounts for the sounds of someone knocking on the doors of the bathroom stall, a door slamming and flickering lights in the kitchen?

“Sometimes, you feel like someone’s behind you. I’ll sense someone is there. I look over my shoulder. But nothing’s there. You see a reflection, but it’s actually yourself,” Austin said.

His experience is not unique. Ashley’s is said to be one of the most haunted restaurants in Florida. It first opened in 1933 as Jack’s Tavern, about the time of the repeal of prohibition. Since then, it has gone thru several name changes and owners.

It is believed that the murder of 19-year-old Ethel Allen “is the main source of the ghostly activity” at the restaurant. She died in 1934. Her killer was never brought to justice.Ashley's Restaurant - October 2013 009

Greg Parker said he was unaware of the ghostly legends surrounding the restaurant when he bought it in November 1985.

Its reputation has attracted ghost-hunters, psychics, paranormal investigators and a television crew hoping to include its story in a pilot called, “Haunted America.” Their encounters were picked up by Fate Magazine. But the show never materialized.

They saw “what looked like a head-shaped spot of darkness, which on the Thermograph means a cold spot. That quickly vanished,” states Fate Magazine, July 1994.

Then one of the three-man team, R. Andrew Nichols, from Florida’s Center for Paranormal Studies, yelled from the ladies’ room, “Do you see that?”

Spirit on the staircase?What they saw on the monitor “was what looked like a cylindrical object floating in mid-air. It was not solid, but fairly well-defined.

Parker has heard all the stories. He said his wife, employees and customers have experienced some of them.

“My wife was walking downstairs once. She said she felt someone touching her on the shoulder,” Parker said.

Others have reported feeling they were “pushed by an invisible force” while going up or down the stairs closest to the ladies’ room.

Ghostly encounters have rattled a few customers and employees.

“One night, Lisa, a waitress, was outside crying. She said she saw the ghost, and never came back,” Parker said.

Someone going by the building said they saw a couple fighting in the apartment that was upstairs at the time, Parker said. On the restaurant’s website, it states that “one manager has seen the feet of a woman dressed in 1930s-era footwear in the next stall” in the ladies’ room, “only to exit her own stall and find that the other one is empty.”

“Patrons have also reported apparitions of a young woman in the bathroom mirror.”

“A psychic said that’s where the woman ran down the stairs and hid. He found her and killed her. That’s why the ladies’ room is haunted. The spirit stays there,” Parker said.

caught in a spider web - Halloween decorations at Ashley's
caught in a spider web – Halloween decorations at Ashley’s

Ethel Allen is not the only ghost on the premises. Parker said a man and a little girl also have been spotted there.

Liz Burton, a bartender and waitress at Ashley’s recalls a little girl, about 4 or 5, who was quite agitated as she described an encounter she had to her grandfather.

“Pop Pop, tell that little girl to quit messing with me,” the girl said of the ghost girl. “No one had told her about a ghost,” Burton said.

Is Ashley’s haunted? Parker says after all the investigations; each has drawn their own conclusions. He suspects ghosts do hang out at Ashley’s because they have a connection to the restaurant and they went before their time.

Or, maybe they’re drawn to the excellent food and the wine. That’s the only spirits we saw when we were there, ones being poured by the bartender at the bar.

Video: Ethel Allen and Ashley’s – A real short, short on the haunting of an eatery in Florida. Narrated by author Charlie Carlson 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider,, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Photos taken by Judy Berman at Ashley’s Restaurant on Oct. 5, 2013:
* Ashley’s Restaurant, U.S. 1, Rockledge – it’s said to be one of the most haunted restaurants in Florida
* Greg Parker, owner of Ashley’s Restaurant
* a spirit on the staircase? – a framed photo in Ashley’s
* caught in the spider web – Halloween decorations at Ashley’s

Fate Magazine article – Psychic Frontiers – July 1994

  1. Judy, I really enjoyed this. A spooky tale for a spooky time of year. The mansion I worked at for a while had haunted toilets. Not nice at all. A very unhappy place.

    1. Glad you liked this, Kate. It sounds like Moaning Myrtle shifted her residence from Harry Potter’s Hogwarts to your mansion. 🙂

      My congratulations to Kate. She is one of the authors of spooky tales in a new Kindle e-book, “Echoes in Darkness.” Here is a link to her blog for more:
      The book is on US Amazon here:

  2. Judy, this is a wonderful ghosts-that-haunt story, and I do so love a good haunting story!!!
    We need to put our heads together and solve poor Ethel’s murder…and then go after the guy, or at least write bad words on his tombstone.
    This is a great post.

  3. Well, this is an interesting tale of ghosting, but somehow I get the feeling that this and many other tales like this one are so convenient for creating more business! 😉 There are lots of theatre ghosts as well, and I think it just ads to the excitement of the place, because perhaps they would just be plain boring without the ghosts! I’m very cynical when it comes to apparitions from the other side, a bit like the alien invasions on earth – I’m not a believer! I think the only thing that would allow me to admit I’m wrong, would be an encounter with a ghost in my own home without anyone else involved or my imagination being stimulated by some film or book before hand (the mind can create so much all of it’s own!) My home is well over a hundred years old now, so if there are ghosts and I’m wrong, I must have been living with a few for the last twenty years! Perhaps I should start my own investigation, because if there is any evidence that I’m wrong, and I just haven’t noticed those ghosts – I could start some tours round my flat, the upper half of the house, and my neighbour downstairs could do the the lower half tour!! 😆

    1. Exploiting the afterlife for profit? Unheard of. 😆

      Not to discount your skepticism, but I’m open to the possibility of ghosts. Like aliens, however, I’m not sure I want a visitation by one. Both my Mom and her Dad (who died when she was 12) saw ghosts. I believe that they believed what they saw. And, Suzy, if you’re dead wrong, by all means get the neighbor involved in your get-rich scheme. 🙂

  4. Judy, did you go to Ashley’s hoping to encounter a ghost? And if so, were you disappointed when you didn’t see one? Like you, I’m open to the possibilities, but I’ve never seen any evidence of the spirit world. I wonder if people are more likely to misinterpret their own senses when they’re in a place with that kind of reputation.

    1. When I visited Ashley’s earlier this month, it was to have dinner, take photos of the restaurant and interview the owner. I’ve known of its reputation for years. But, yes, Charles, I was disappointed I didn’t see a ghost. Several years ago, I went to Ashley’s to see what it was all about. Again the spirit world was incommunicado.

      If I was alone in Ashley’s, I’m sure I would weigh in its reputation with what I was hearing. I’m also certain that I would freak out and be high tailing it out of there should a ghost try to make contact. 🙂

      1. It’s always fun when that line between fact and fiction is blurred. Those kinds of stories always get me thinking.

        comment from earthrider to Photography Journal:
        This is one of the reasons why I loved Michael Crichton’s works (“Jurassic Park,” “Congo,” “The Andromeda Strain,” etc.). He did a marvelous job at making readers believe his pseudoscience. Maybe because reality wasn’t that far from possibility.

  5. Spooky. I work in an old psychiatric hospital and my office is absolutely haunted. I don’t even believe in ghosts but still– it’s totally haunted. I need to blog about this… but I’ve had child size footprints show up on my walls in my locked office. I don’t even know what to do with that.

    1. Aussa … that truly does sound blog worthy and mighty scary at that. Have you taken any photos of the child size footprints on your walls? Brrr. I get the chills just thinking about that. Your work place reminded me of “Shutter Island” by Dennis Lehane – a very spooky novel. Thank you for following me.

      1. I haven’t read the novel but I’ve seen the film and a lot of it is pretty accurate! We don’t treat our patients that way, but some of it is still very familiar. I could take photos at any point because they are STILL there– I’m too scared to remove them completely!

  6. That is scary. I won’t be so brave when it comes to real ghosts. Once while on All Soul’s Day, a dead relative knocked on my room while me and my cousins were playing cards. When we realized it was only us…we run downstairs and told our scary experience. Then we prayed for them and the knocking stopped.

    1. I’m with you, IT. Had I been there, I’d have been running in the opposite direction as fast as I could. But your praying for departed relatives on All Souls’ Day seems to be just the ticket to appease the restless spirits.

      Happy Halloween. Hope your son’s grandma enjoys the Halloween surprise you guys packed. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Island Traveler. I can’t believe that some folks have actually opted to stay there after hours in hopes of making contact with the departed. Yeah, I wouldn’t last the night either. 🙂

Comments are closed.