|A Mai Tai... for Timo?|
Since I took over the Tavern at Lark Creek there have been persistent rumors for years regarding ghosts. The building was constructed in 1888. It was granted California landmark status, and has been a restaurant fixture of Larkspur for over 40 years.
A lot of grammar school kids here do their class projects on the Tavern and they always seem to include a small section on the rumored haunting. I have spoken to residents as well as staff members that swear they have seen the ghost.
Most reported a silhouette of a woman walking the restaurant late at night. One of the rumors is that they found a dead body in one of the walls when they were renovating the property back in 1972. That has never been verified.
The only story I could verify was this: One night, a manager who worked for Victor and Roland Gotti (when the restaurant was the old Lark Creek Inn) was closing down the restaurant. It was winter, and for some reason the manager fell into the creek and hit his head on a rock, passed out and drowned.
They ruled the death an accident.
Before moving to Hawaii I never believed in ghosts, poltergeists or other forms of paranormal activity. But while in Hawaii, I took over a restaurant called the Plantation Gardens which was — you guessed it — an old sugar cane plantation home, built in the late 1800s in Poipu. The actual story was that it had been built on an ancient Hawaiian burial ground.
Early on, the staff told me about a ghost named Timo who had a presence in the restaurant. Most of the “activity” centered on things that would fly off the tables and other benign occurrences that could be easily dismissed as overactive imaginations.
In the beginning I, like everyone else, was skeptical of such activity, but before long I became a strong believer in Timo. During the opening of the restaurant we were working about 80 hours a week getting the place ready to open, and I would sometimes see a figure walking through the property. He was an older looking Hawaiian gentlemen who was observing the renovation usually as we were wrapping up for the day.
We had hired most of staff from the previous operators and I soon learned that there was a certain custom that I always thought odd: The bartenders would make a three-rum mai tai and place the drink at the end of the bar.
The staff said it was a customary to make Timo a drink and put it at the end of the bar every night. At first, I figured I may as well go along with the tradition. Then about a year into managing the property, I had a very up close and personal interaction with Timo.
The bar had emptied out all, except for a man that was sitting at the end of the bar. The odd part was that every time I walked past him, he would give me a big eerie smile. I had never seen him before, but I greeted him in the usual “aloha” custom.
No response came back. He was sitting by the ritualistic mai tai that had been put out for Timo. After the restaurant emptied out, the man was still there. I told the bartender to make sure he gave last call to the man at the end of the bar. The bartender looked at me and said there was no one at the bar. I looked and there was the man with the eerie smile. It was the same man that had been observing the renovation and opening.
Correcting the bartender I said that man at the end of the bar. Once again the same reply from the bartender. Then I said “You know the guy sitting in Timo’s spot at the bar all night long.” As I turned around, the man was gone.
According to the bartender, there had been nobody at that seat all evening. This was confirmed by the bar camera that was placed on the ceiling of the bar to watch the bartenders ring transactions.
From that point on, I was more respectful of the native customs. We even had a local priest bless the property as part of our annual celebration. As for Timo I always felt his presence when I was at the restaurant. Timo and I never had any problems after that and the legend continued. But then people thought I was the crazy one.
Source: San Francisco Gate