Ghosts of dinners past

Eatery can'tscare paranormal acts from menu


October 31, 2009

The haunted house on Lockport Street in Plainfield is really a restaurant, but people who work there have paranormal-activity-like stories to tell.

Baci Italian Ristorante at least has a reputation for being haunted. Just ask the staff that works there; each has at least one story to tell about encounters with ghosts, music playing that cannot be explained, or voices heard when no one is in the room.

The Will County Ghost Hunters have investigated the building several times over the last few years. On Oct. 21, I joined the ghost hunters on their latest investigation.

People who know nothing about the history of the building might not sense its ghostly residents when walking into the restaurant just west of Route 59. But the owners cannot do much to hide the history from their patrons. Baci is housed in a former Unitarian Church.

Building's history
Built in 1868, the Unitarians used the church for worship until the 1920s. Not long after, St. Mary Immaculate bought the building and called it home until the 1960s, when the parish outgrew the space and moved to its present location on Route 59.

From the outside, Baci looks like a church, with its ornate stained glass windows. Once inside, there are hints of its original use.

"Most of the (paranormal) activity that happens here is in the choir loft," according to Dan Jungles, Will County Ghost Hunters founder and lead investigator.

Indeed, it was in the old choir loft that a door flew off its hinges during an investigation last December at the site.

On Oct. 21, the activity was not nearly as dramatic. But the upstairs bar served as a rather joyful space when, in answer to a question asked by Jungles, an electronic voice recorder captured a woman, or possibly more than one woman, singing what sounded like "Over the Rainbow."

Staff stories

Investigators upstairs also captured whistling, and when using a ghost box a man's voice replied, "You missed it" when asked to repeat his name.

While the upstairs has been the hub of a lot of paranormal activity during investigations, staff at the restaurant encountered oddities on all levels of the building.

Catherine Costello, who had worked at the restaurant for 10 years, said that when she was a banquet waitress stationed downstairs she encountered a young ghost who was kind enough to offer her name.

"When I asked her what her name was, I heard 'Jenny,' " Costello said. "I said, 'I have a daughter named Jenny.' "

"She said, 'Ginny, like Virginia.' "

Other wait staff have not had conversations with otherworldly beings, but they have seen, heard and experienced them just the same.

LeAnne Gettys, who has worked at Baci for more than 23 years, has seen many strange things.

"They move stuff around," she said of the ghosts. "I thought it was the (other) waitresses, but it's not."

Gettys has seen the apparition of a man wearing a suit from the 1930s and has heard a ghost encouraging her to finish working.

"I could hear someone behind me telling me, 'You're not done yet,' " she said. "They're not evil to me, they don't scare me."

Still not convinced? You can hear the electronic voice phenomenon recorded by Will County Ghost Hunters by visiting www.aghostpage.com.

There also is footage of the door coming off its hinges and information on becoming a member of the society.