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Milwaukee's Haunted Bar


"I walked down into the basement before my 2.0 tour one Friday night, about two years ago. I was putting back the dowsing rods so they would be ready for my final tour. When i got to the bottom of the stairs, I stopped short because the 400 pound safe was in the middle of the hallway, turned, facing the stairs. This would have been bad enough, but I only saw it for a moment, and then I saw something else, and what I saw was… myself. I could see myself standing exactly where I was. I could see myself, from the far end of the basement from someone else's perspective. Suddenly it was as though I was running at myself. I wrenched myself back and ran up the stairs, faster than I have ever moved in my life."

– David Kaye, tour guide

The events I am about to write are either Horrid and Macabre, or extremely fascinating; depending entirely upon your point of view.

I give you,

The de-materializing Maggot Story

By Robert G. Weiss

It was a hot, sticky, heat wave in August in Milwaukee.
We used to have a goodly number of ballerinas from the Milwaukee ballet Company work as servers and bartenders at Shakers.
This was a means to augment the pittance they received as salaried
performers, and their performance attitudes and lithe toned bodies were great for my business.

One Tuesday night, in the summer of 1998, Ballerina Karissa Stich was working with me.
It was a very good sales night for us, and as usual the crowd was captivated by the vivacious and beautiful Karissa.

I closed the kitchen down about midnight, and sat at the east end of the front bar, at the only open barstool.
I had lit up a lovely Davidoff 2000 cigar, and as was my custom, played the ash to it's longest conclusion and had a meaningful conversation with my Macallan Scotch.
Having mis-judged the ash structure, I dropped the ash upon the floor. To ensure it was not a viable ember, I watched it for a moment. The life was out of it, but i did notice a white object inching across the bar floor from the vicinity of the alley door .

It was a maggot.

I grabbed the bev nap from under my scotch and picked up the maggot, depositing it in the waste container behind the bar. As I came around, I saw 3 more maggots coming from under the door.
I quickly dispatched the critters, opened the door and saw a river of maggots.

No, seriously; a moving, rhythmic wave of maggots,
moving from East to West, looking for all the world like a river.

From my building, across the alleyway to the adjoining bar, nothing but maggots, fully 12 feet across, and as far east down towards one end of the alley and then west, towards Second Street as far as i could see, was a slithering mass of maggots, and all moving as one body, undulating, East to West towards Second street.

Clearly, I had never seen, nor heard of anything remotely like this in my life.

I went down to the basement storage, grabbed a case of bleach and walked out the front door, pouring out and emptying all 6 gallons,
upon the buildings outer walls.

This took me back towards the dumpster behind the restaurant, and across from the Fire Department repair facility which was writhing with maggots, as was the fire department's cyclone fence to the North of, and behind my building.

I will never forget the ghastly head jarring stench of putrification which hung in the dank summers humid air.
If you have ever smelled a human body decomposing, in advanced stages of funk, this was it.

Nevertheless, I followed the maggots, slipping and sliding all the way to 1st street, as if I were walking on a skating rink w/ leather soles.

Now this is the odd part…there were no maggots on the sidewalk,

Neither on 1st street, nor on 2nd street.

Rather, they were all moving west from 1st to 2nd in a ordered fashion, but they never crossed the threshold of the sidewalks which ran perpendicular to the alleyway.

I stood in awe for a moment trying rationalize what was taking place here, and I only became more befuddled by what I was seeing.

Anyway, making my way back into the front door of Shakers, I called Karissa over to the alley doorway to see the maggots, asking her not to scream at what I was to show her.
You by now know, she screamed at what she saw….
we then decided it was time to close. It was now about 12:20,
at this time in our history, we were customarily open until 2:00 am every night as a vibrant late night haunt.

After hurrying clients out the door with whatever flimsy story we concocted, we were about to leave at 12:30, when 2 Milwaukee police officers entered from the side doorway.

As we have been regarded as a Federal agent and general copper bar since inception in 1986, seeing the police at Shakers was no great surprise.

A very good friend of mine, Police Officer Greg Duran, whom I had known for several years was the FTO,(field training officer) that night with a brand new rookie. Duran came in looking concerned, "everything alright here, why are you closing early?" he asked, as he knew it was our custom to be open until the legal limit for closing time.

"Did you notice anything outside, Gregg?, I asked…
"Yeah, it stinks like a rotting dead body and there are maggots everywhere",
"Well, that's why we're closing", I respond, I explained that I didn't want any customers to see these maggots crawling around Shakers, or to catch a whiff of the stench.

Duran said he and his partner would investigate.
Karissa and I headed home.

Considering hat this entire story is ever so disbelieveable;

Any of you who knew me in 1998, would have scoffed at this next part;

I'm back at 6:00 AM, unheard of for me, but I could not sleep and I'm worrying about having to call the Health Department to report these maggots as a vector problem I cannot control.

To my surprise, and relief, the alley was as clean as freshly poured cement. Not a blade of grass, cigar butt, litter, nothing. and most importantly, no maggots.
No Smell.

I head home to catch some sleep and reflect upon the previous nights folly and return to work at my normal time of 4:00 PM.
Everything is "normal" inside as well.

I don't see Officer Duran that night, but did see Starr, one of the original psychics who had introduced me to Elizabeth years earlier.
I recounted the previous nights adventure to her and asked Starr what she thought about the maggots.
Without missing a beat, she replied that this was a good sign, and that it meant negative energy was leaving the building.
Once again, I had no logical explanation, so I deferred to hers.

Police Officer Gregg Duran is now high-profile Sergeant Duran, and
would be happy to regale you with this and other tales of his unexplainable phenomena he has experienced here at Shakers.

© 1998 Robert G. Weiss/ Shakers, Inc.