Ghost Stories of the Balinese Room

Ghost Stories of the BalineseThe Balinese Room is a very old building with a very unique past. Many famous people have toured the building, have performed on the stage, and have gambled in the casino. However, for a lot of people, this isn’t the most interesting part of the Balinese Room.

Many people have experienced the presence of souls of past employees, owners, and visitors of the Balinese. And so begins the story of the living, the dead and the unseen at the Balinese. The photo on the right was taken in the dressing room Frank Sinatra used. The "ghostly" apparition captured on film was not visible to the photographer's eye, and only revealed itself once the photo was developed.

Here are the stories of the employees and their encounters with the dead. I’ll begin with Janis Kimling. Janis is the general manager and has worked at the Balinese since it reopened in February. The ghosts that she has encountered seem to be playing jokes on her. One day she was standing on the outside of the pier talking with someone when unexpectedly the water hose turned on. Janis reached down and turned off the hose. As soon as she stood back up the hose turned on again. Janis just began laughing, turned the hose off and returned inside. Another day, as Janis was walking down the pier unlocking all of the doors some of them began opening and unlocking for her. One Sunday night after the bar was closed, Janis saw a man walking across the ballroom on his way to the old casino.

I’m going to continue our stories of our friendly spirits with my experiences. My name is Gina Vail and I have been working at the Balinese since it reopened. My first encounter with a ghost was with a previous owner, Sam Maceo. I was walking into the ladies restroom, which is surrounded by mirrors, and instead of my own reflection I saw a man in a pinstripe black suit with a red tie, a cane, and a black hat on. I later looked at old pictures of Sam Maceo. The reflection that I saw in the mirrors was his, not mine. To this day he is still following me around the pier. During one of the breaks one of the bands took, I went back to the sound room to turn on the music. Before I touched the computer, old 40’s and 50’s music started playing. I tried to switch it to the 80’s hits station, but it wouldn’t work. I turned off the computer and unplugged it; however, the same song continued to play. I have also experienced many other phenomena, but I will share these later.

I will now tell you about Dawn Blackburn’s encounters. She has worked at the Balinese Room since the end of May. She has witnessed little things happening such as lights flickering, hearing footsteps follow her, the exit signs turning on and off, and items being hidden from her. However, se has also experienced many more profound encounters with our ghostly friends. Dawn works Saturday and Sunday afternoons by herself and has never actually been alone. Sometimes, when she turns on the music for the bar, a woman’s voice booms over the speakers, “hello, hello,” she says as if greeting her in the morning. The piano also plays random notes periodically throughout the day. One day, Dawn lost her bar rag and found it in the trash can under everything, not five minutes later.

Toni Galicia, another Balinese employee, also has a spirit following her. It first started in the ladies restroom. Just before reaching down to turn on the water to was her hands, every faucet turned on. Toni quickly washed her hands and hurried out of the bathroom. She was “pale as a ghost”. Toni works Sunday evenings for karaoke. One Sunday the microphones kept coming unplugged. Every Sunday, Toni sees a woman on the stage singing.

Our story continues with Terry Roach, a recent employee. He frequently works by himself on the pier. One day, while he was cleaning the ladies restroom, his cart full of cleaning supplies ended up half way down the pier. Terry also hears a lot of noises throughout the pier.

Chay Blackburn, the hair stylist on the pier, saw a lady in a formal beaded dress walk in front of his salon. We looked her up and found out that she was Jane Russel a previous performer at the Balinese Room.

All of the employees have heard footsteps, and unexplainable things in the ladies restroom. The far right stall for some reason seems to be protected by the ghosts. They won’t let us use it. Every time someone does, the door will come off and be placed randomly throughout the restroom. All of the faucets will randomly turn off and on and the toilets will flush periodically. We all think that something happened in the ladies restroom and that is why so many people experience something in there.

Here ends the stories from the bar staff, and begins the stories from the bar patrons. One lady that visited the bar on a Sunday afternoon got locked in the ladies restroom. This is particularly interesting since the bathroom door doesn’t lock. When she finally came out of the restroom she said it felt like someone was pushing on the other side of the door trapping her in. A lot of other people have said they have heard footsteps and had the water in the restrooms turn on and off.

We have come to realize and accept that the pier is haunted. We all deal with it in out different ways. Janis just laughs, Toni still turns white, and Dawn and I just talk to the ghosts and try to reason with them. None of us are afraid to work at the Balinese Room. And we all appreciate the phenomena that we encounter.

Gina Vail

Balinese Room Home Page George Hosek Photography at Texas Explorer