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By: Thelma Ankney
Katie’s Bar in Smithtown is a beautiful, cool and laid back hang out where the locals come for a great time with their friends and the out-of-towners come for the ghost. The building that is known as Katie’s was originally a speakeasy during the prohibition era, then later was turned into the Hotel Traynor which burned down in December of 1909 and later on it became J.H. Bishop Candy Shoppe. Before Katie’s was opened in 2000 by current owner Brian Karppinen, or “Big Brian”, it had been known as a few different names with a few different owners. It was then said that there is a curse placed on this building because it seemed that no matter who attempted to run a business from there, it never made any money.
Brian purchased Katie’s from a friend and brushed off the idea of a “curse” that would drive him out. It was during one of his “theme” nights that psychic picked up on a spirit she called Charlie. At first he wasn’t sure if he believed any of it until he invited a few more psychics to the bar and they all mentioned the same thing. It seems Charlie Klein was a former bartender who lived across the street but used to spend a lot of time in the building that is known today as Katie’s. It seems he loved it there so much that his spirit is the “resident” ghost. Many patrons and staff have reported seeing wine glasses being thrown from the shelves, hearing footsteps, door opening and closing and being touched. There are also reports of a darker energy in the basement of the bar. Brian has experienced several unexplained things himself when being in there. One of the most frightening things that happened to him was when he was trying to shut the door at the top of the basement stairs that led to an outside exit. As he slammed the door shut, the bar on that door broke off in his hands and he began to fall backwards. Something pushed him forward keeping him from falling and possibly saving his life. He also had an out of body experience one night when he was asleep in the basement. He had seen his dog come down the stairs, happy to see him, Brian played with him and pet him like normal. Although his beloved pet had passed away, he was just happy to see him. The dog then walked towards the steps leading up to the main bar and was trying to get Brian to follow him. At that point Brian signaled the dog to do a certain trick that everyone knew he dog for, but yet the animal didn’t respond. That’s when Brian realized that whatever that was that came to him as his beloved pet was trying to get him away from his body. He said out loud “You’re not my dog”, the dog ran up the stairs and didn’t return. At that moment, he felt paralyzed and had the heavy weight on his chest. He swore to whatever it was that was causing this distress that if it didn’t let him go that he would “kick it’s ass through spirit land”. Once these dark energies were making their presences known, he began having the place blessed on a regular basis which helped a lot. The negative presence was no longer there but it seems Charlie stuck around. Brian, the staff and the patrons don’t seem to mind that Charlie has become a regular. They embrace his presence and Brian even believes that it was Charlie that saved his life that day on the stairs.
After hearing about all the spooky things going on at the bar A&E’s Paranormal State team headed there to conduct an investigation. It seems that when they were doing research, they dug up some dark details. It appeared that a former employee of the Traynor Hotel died when the hotel burned down to the ground. Psychics believe that this is the negative energy that is in the basement area, especially since the dance floor area of the basement is where the original foundation was for the hotel. Psychic, Chip Coffey, also believes that there is another negative spirit which is that of a “16th century Dutch-born murderer”. The team has returned several times to Katie’s and they believe that the spirits are still very much active. For a short time after that, Brian hasn’t had the bar blessed and the negative spirits were causing havoc again. One psychic/sensitive claimed to have seen a dark mass “crawling” up the steps from the basement. It also said that these spirits where terrorizing Charlie, which upset Brian. Once he had the place blessed again, the bad vibes dissipated.
Brian doesn’t mind the paranormal happenings, as long as the dark spirits are kept at bay by the regular blessings and they’re not affecting Charlie. Today, Katie’s Bar is thriving and has even hosted paranormal events and investigations. Brian is a wonderful, friendly and gracious host who has embraced the paranormal community and what it has done for his business. So whether you go to Katie’s to shoot some pool, to Karaoke or psychic readings night, hang out with your friends at the outside Tiki bar or to the many holiday themed parties they throw, just make sure to be respectful to Charlie and offer him a drink. Who knows, maybe he’ll take you up on that offer.
Katies has since been featured on an episode of the Bio Channel’s “My Ghost Story” where Big Brian talks about his dark paranormal experiences when he first purchased the bar. The activity has also changed, according to Brian. Because so many people have heard of the haunting at Katies it’s attracted paranormal enthusiast, those that are curious and some other questionable characters. Sadly, some of these inexperienced people have used methods that have caused other spirits to be drawn to this location. People may think they’re just going there for a good scare with harmless methods but are being irresponsible and attracting things that shouldn’t be there. We’re very protective of this particular location because Brian is a dear friend of ours & we love the bar, so to hear this new turn of events because of ignorant people makes us very angry. People, if you visit Katies BE RESPECTFUL! To read about the haunted history, check out their site Katies Haunting
Watch Katies Bar featured on Paranormal State, Season 1, “Beer, Wine & Spirits”
Watch Big Brian on “My Ghost Story”
Here are clips captured by the security cameras
145 W. Main St.
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