|Or "Haunting the Diamonds" as titled in the book "Weird Missouri"
When travelers journey back in time by cruising nostalgic Old Route 66, little do they
know know of the dreams and determination that brought about the building which sits at
the fork of Old Highway 100 and Highway AT in Villa Ridge, Missouri. Also, they are
unaware of the playful and sometimes mischievous ghostly residents that forever reside
there refusing to pass on since their last good byes.
Spencer Groff was a man of dreams. His first to become a lawyer met failure two times.
Even after becoming one of the most successful farmers and cattlemen in Eastern
Missouri he still found himself returning home from college penniless and in debt due to
economic conditions following the First World War. Salvaging what he could to make
good on debts, he started to sell plums roadside from under a large umbrella. This first
stand was named Altamont Park after the High School he graduated from that once stood
near this site and was later renamed the Banana Stand due to its appearance.
After various modifications his stand soon became a roadside mercantile which
benefited local farmers and roadside travelers alike. This eventually led to the
construction of a permanent building. However, Spencer’s dreams were again
temporally halted as bad storms knocked it to the ground before completion. With
determination, another attempt resulted in the completion of a new building which he
named “The Diamonds”. It opened for business on July 23, 1927, the same day that the
new concrete road which later became Route 66 opened along its side. After further
growth, it soon boasted being “The World’s Largest Roadside Restaurant”.
In 1947, Spencer’s dreams once again met with disaster as fire took it all away. An aging
Spencer gave in and turned over the business to one of his long time loyal employees
who built the brick building that still stands today. While Route 66 brought much
prosperity through its doors, the completion of the interstates in the 1960’s took it all
away. A new Diamonds was erected near the new interstate and opened in 1968. The old
icon was sold and became the Tri-County Restaurant and Truck Stop.
Time may have passed on, but history was more stubborn as it returned and took
supernatural residence inside this one time icon. During the 1960’s and 1970’s
employees and customers alike started to experience phenomena such as being
touched by unseen hands, hearing voices and whispers from people who were not there
and seeing ghostly figures they could not explain. The encountering of eerie shadow
figures by employees during the 1980’s and 1990’s made them afraid to go into the
basement while others observed objects moving on their own.
The new millennium brought sightings of a translucent ghostly male in the dining room
area and doors were held shut by unseen forces. Appliances unexplainably began to
turn off and on, invisible hands played with people’s hair and objects moved across
tables while customers were dining. Tolerance of this activity reached its end when
children started reporting a ghostly man with a knife attacking a bloody woman on the
stairway to the second floor. Missouri Paranormal Research (now a division of
Paranormal Task Force, Inc.), a paranormal investigative and research team in the local
area was called for help.
The ghostly residents didn’t take long to greet this paranormal team. Upon their first
visit while dining a carafe full of coffee was observed levitating in mid air behind the
counter before being released and crashing to the floor. That same night investigative
meters acted erratically, temperature readings fluctuated and unexplainable voices were
captured. Finally! The unseen became seen! Tom, an investigative photographer,
captured one of the ghostly residents on camera while in the men’s restroom!
Retaliation soon followed when the subject of his picture later manifested next to
someone using the urinal causing them to urinate on the wall and their own shoe.
A phenomenal amount of evidentiary material to fully support the reported activity and
alleged haunting was captured and documented during this and subsequent
investigations. Upon subsequent investigations investigators had a 60 watt
incandescent light bulb and a rusty butcher knife thrown at them while in the basement
by unseen forces and additional ghostly figures and voices were captured on
equipment. This place turned many true skeptics into believers of the paranormal.
Tri-County Restaurant and Truck Stop finally closed its doors and is now another faded
memory along Old Route 66 and still stands vacant today awaiting a new visionary and
dreamer to come along. I can only wonder if a new dreamer will be welcomed or not by
the ghostly inhabitants of this historic landmark.
© 2008 - Gregory Myers, Paranormal Task Force, Inc.
|"Get Your Spirits on Route 66"
|"Get Your Spirits on Route 66"
or "Haunting the Diamonds"
by Gregory Myers, President of Paranormal Task Force
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