by Victor Lopez
ODESSA - In the last 50 years, the Barn Door Steakhouse in Odessa, has built up their list of regular customers, some of who, surely have their favorite table. But, in the corner of the Pecos Depot, is a special seat. One, no other customer can use. It's permanently reserved for "Billy," the Barn Door's permanent guest.
NewsWest 9 reporter Victor Lopez spent the night in the Pecos Depot, in the hopes of getting a glimpse of this turn of the century spirit.
"That's like a usual thing, coming in here, being prepared to hear something or feel something," Imelda Martinez, a bartender at the Barn Door, said.
Employees and customers alike have had some sort of run in with "Billy."
According to owner Roy Gillean, "The previous owners told me, "By the way, we have a ghost in The Pecos Depot. I'm like yeah, right. Then I had some customers come over and they said, "There's a spirit running around here. Did you know that?," "Yeah, somebody told me that." "No, we can see him. He's right there."
About all we know of Billy is, he was shot inside the depot when it was still in Pecos. He must have come along for the ride, when the building was moved in 1972 and he's been messing with employees, ever since.
"As I'm turning the last light off, I hear chairs being dragged across the floor. Not heavy, but you could hear it in the distance. They went in there to investigate, the chairs had been moved around. One of them had been pushed against the window, as if someone was sitting there, to look outside the window," Imelda recalled.
None of the staff will go into the bar area after midnight, alone, especially, into the executive room.
"We had just cleaned the room, swept it, and straightened all the chairs. I had taken some dishes out that way, on the way back, one of the chairs was all the way, away from the table, facing the front door, as if someone was sitting in it, watching me work," Jeremy Harfield, who's worked for the Barn Door for years, said.
Managers regularly deal with Billy's antics. At night, the executive room will be cleaned and set up for whatever function is happening the next day.
But, come morning, the place settings and chairs have been moved, there are crumbs on the floor and glass rings on the table.
"The rings don't match," Restaurant Manager, Joe Luis Acosta, said. "If you were to get our glasses and set them on there, the rings are wider.
We challenge each other all the time and take a photo of the room before we leave. When he gets here the next morning, he'll call me and say, it's happened again."
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Acosta snapped a picture of the security monitors, one Saturday morning, after he heard, what sounded like someone coming in and out the back door. In the bottom center of a picture, you can clearly see the outline of, what looks like a man. He's hanging his head down with his arms crossed, over his chest.
Acosta says he can make out something tied around his neck, like a bandana. Something very similar to what "Billy" would have worn, back in the day.
With this information in hand, NewsWest 9 contacted the West Texas Paranormal Society in Lubbock to see if they would be interested in doing a bit of ghost hunting.
Founder Jason Perez says they've wanted to come investigate the barn door for some time, "We're possibly, going to see what we can do to find out if this place is actually haunted by an apparition or if there is another entity that is causing the issue, knowing this place was transported from Pecos."
Armed with the all the tools of the trade, Jason and his crew set up for their investigation. A K-2 meter, which measures an electro-magnetic field, was used. Ghost hunters believe spirits or entities feed off of these energies to manifest themselves. They also used digital voice recorders, night vision cameras and something called a ghost box to record any possible contact.
"It sweeps across the FM frequency from 88.1 to 107.7. When entities try to talk to us, they try to muster up whatever energy they have or energy in the room and talk to us, or basically communicate with us, through that box," Jason explained.
After a four hour investigation, the paranormal team packed up, headed home to look over all their video and audio tapes. But, sadly, found no evidence of paranormal activity.
NewsWest 9 photojournalist Brent Desilets and I had a different outcome. We both had personal experiences off camera and we also caught some interesting things while the camera was rolling.
We saw flashlights turning on, by themselves, in response to yes or no questions from the ghost hunting team. During a ghost box session in the bar, team members are trying to make contact with "Billy" when a "female" voice is heard through the static, asking for "help."
Going back to the K-2 meters, in the course of 4-5 hours, we had already used up four fully charged batteries with a total of about 15 plus hours of charge. We weren't even able to record an insert to use in this story.
We also had other experiences that weren't caught on camera, like a silver ware setting, getting put in place, by itself and finding crumbs on a table that had been clean, all night long.
The employees say they don't feel threatened by "Billy," just a little creeped out.