Downtown El Paso Pub is Very Hip – And Very Haunted
One of the latest entries to El Paso’s downtown scene has a lot of swagger: Gucci wallpaper on the woman’s bathroom walls, a state-of-the-art sound system designed by Pioneer and tuned specifically for the room, a disco ball custom made by the lady known in the industry as “The Last Disco Ball Maker,” and a classic jukebox that only two people in the world know how to repair.
The Reagan at 313 E. Mills is a live music venue, a restaurant, and a pub that serves over 30 hand crafted cocktails. And some say spirits of the alcoholic variety aren’t the only kind you’ll find there.
“The Reagan promises to be an experience. It has more going on than meets the eye,” posted El Paso Ghost Tours on its Facebook. “It is haunted. We guarantee it.”
And Leon Baker, owner and head paranormal investigator of the group, should know. He’s been leading historical tours downtown almost every Friday night for over ten years. Tours that used to culminate with a paranormal investigation inside the De Soto Hotel basement before it went up in flames.
Not only was the De Soto arguably the most haunted hotel in El Paso, it’s the Reagan’s next-door neighbor. Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that the building has a haunted past, too.
The Reagan’s Spooky Past
Baker tells me he’s experienced all kinds of supernatural activity in that building over the years, long before the new owners took over the former Bobo China Buffet location, it’s most recent prior tenant.
Among the entities his investigations have encountered are the hunched over black shadow, the crying boy, and a doctor from the 1920s.
The Hauntings: Doctor Pickett
“James Augustus Pickett, a pediatrician and plastic surgeon in the 20s and 30s, had his office in that basement. He was working on a lengthy series of surgeries for a child when the doctor suddenly passed away after a short illness.”
Leon thinks his untimely end while still treating the kid really distressed the guy and that’s why he was still in this world. “He came through for a while, until we learned his partner successfully finished the surgeries on the child.”
Leon added that he communicated this to the doctor during a spirit session, and maybe that’s what he needed to know to move on because according to Leon he hasn’t come through since.
The Hauntings: Crying Boy
The spirit of a little boy, who Leon thinks was a patient of Dr. Pickett, also roams the building. “He's lonely and can be heard crying.” He says they’ve heard him weeping several times over the years, but doesn’t really know what his story is.
What he does know for sure is that unlike the doctor, the boy still haunts the place. In fact, just recently, some of the men working on the building’s renovations reported seeing an apparition of a crying boy, according to Baker.
The Hauntings: Hunched Over Shadow Man
Shadow people are either supernatural apparitions, extra-dimensional inhabitants of another universe, optical illusions, or hallucinations, depending on your level of belief. Whatever they are, one spooks the building that the Reagan now occupies.
“When we were going there before, my team would occasionally see a hunched over shadow closely following me,” Leon told me. And apparently it likes it there. “When we did a short investigation with the owners a few months ago, before they opened their doors, my team again saw that shadow.”
“The owners are acutely aware of the potential for paranormal activity. They had us investigate it again a few months ago and it still retains most of the original activity. And chances are that it will start up again,” Leon warns.