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El Moro ghost stories: ‘From then on, I was a little more of a believer’

On El Moro, the sheriff, the shot and other lost souls

Lucas Hess:
On our maintenance day, we leave (Sheriff Thompson) a bottle of whiskey up there for any time he’s rooting around and he needs his own ghost shot. So we’re pulling everything down, we’re wiping it all down, cleaning up the whole place and we go to refill the bottle and one of our other managers starts mixing these things to make it look like whiskey but not actually. We start losing it. We’ve all seen too much happen here, you can’t be giving this guy fake booze. You fill that thing with whiskey right now. We gave him a shot glass and filled it with actual whiskey. We will pay for the whiskey. That is not a problem. Don’t shortchange the sheriff.
We fill up the shot when anything’s going awry. I remember one time we had a bunch of computer problems and we were like, “Fill up the shot! Fill up the shot!” So we go fill up the shot, and 30 minutes later all the systems start rebooting themselves and working again. I was like, “It’s because we filled up that shot.”
Jerai Matkovich:
I tested it at home. I poured myself a shot glass and put it up in my kitchen to see how it would evaporate. It still hasn’t. (The shot at El Moro) will evaporate in a week or two. I was on Sunday nights and I made it a thing pretty much every other Sunday, I was filling that up and it was empty. But I filled that (shot glass) up at my house months ago and it still hasn’t evaporated. So we keep it full. We don’t ask questions about it.
Sarah Moxam:
I’ve heard rustling of coattails, like dress tails, on the wood. This whole block used to be brothels and bars. I think it’s not just the sheriff. I think there were a lot of other lost souls.
They’re not bad spirits, but they’re here.

Illustration by David Holub/DGO

Sheriff William Thompson’s ghost is believed to haunt El Moro Spirits and Tavern.
Shaun Stanley/BCI Media

A shrine to slain Sheriff William Thompson atop the bar at El Moro on Main Avenue.
Shaun Stanley/BCI Media

A pedestrian passes in front of El Moro on Main Avenue where a shrine to slain Sheriff William Thompson sits atop the bar.
David Holub/DGO

El Moro bartender Lucas Hess
David Holub/DGO

El Moro bartender Jerai Matkovich
David Holub/DGO

El Moro bartender Sarah Moxam
David Holub/DGO

El Moro chef Charlie Curtis.
On El Moro, the sheriff, the shot and other lost souls

Lucas Hess:
On our maintenance day, we leave (Sheriff Thompson) a bottle of whiskey up there for any time he’s rooting around and he needs his own ghost shot. So we’re pulling everything down, we’re wiping it all down, cleaning up the whole place and we go to refill the bottle and one of our other managers starts mixing these things to make it look like whiskey but not actually. We start losing it. We’ve all seen too much happen here, you can’t be giving this guy fake booze. You fill that thing with whiskey right now. We gave him a shot glass and filled it with actual whiskey. We will pay for the whiskey. That is not a problem. Don’t shortchange the sheriff.
We fill up the shot when anything’s going awry. I remember one time we had a bunch of computer problems and we were like, “Fill up the shot! Fill up the shot!” So we go fill up the shot, and 30 minutes later all the systems start rebooting themselves and working again. I was like, “It’s because we filled up that shot.”
Jerai Matkovich:
I tested it at home. I poured myself a shot glass and put it up in my kitchen to see how it would evaporate. It still hasn’t. (The shot at El Moro) will evaporate in a week or two. I was on Sunday nights and I made it a thing pretty much every other Sunday, I was filling that up and it was empty. But I filled that (shot glass) up at my house months ago and it still hasn’t evaporated. So we keep it full. We don’t ask questions about it.
Sarah Moxam:
I’ve heard rustling of coattails, like dress tails, on the wood. This whole block used to be brothels and bars. I think it’s not just the sheriff. I think there were a lot of other lost souls.
They’re not bad spirits, but they’re here.