Murphys Plumbing Emporium
Calaveras Enterprise--October 25, 2005

Antoinette May Herndon


By Antoinette May Herndon

Bathroom Machineries has something guaranteed to yank your chain. Not only does the emporium have antique plumbing, lighting, keys and hardware, but a resident ghost. The hundred-year-old I.O.O.F Hall is high spirited to say the least—just ask the folks who work there.

Tom Scheller, the business’s owner, has been hearing and seeing things about the place since 1976. Then not long ago two prospective customers he’d not met before came in. The couple started up the stairs to look at tubs on the second floor. Suddenly they stopped dead in their tracks, paused and turned around. They had felt a presence on the stairs, “saw” a woman’s form stumble and hurtle downward. The couple knew that the woman had died as a result of the floor.

“It really didn’t surprise me,” Scheller said. “Only a week before I’d heard noises on the stairs and run up

to investigate. The motion light in an upstairs room went on before I could get there. I was six or eight stairs away, the ghost was just ahead of me. I call it the ghost. What else can it be—there was nothing human or animal up there.”

John Vienop, a clerk, was joking with Scheller about the now legendary ghost when a soap dish suddenly flipped off a shelf. “There was no way that it could have slid off by itself.”

Another time Vienop and Brian Wynne, another employee, were speculating about the ghost while moving an antique tub. “Just then a tub shelf from another tub flipped up at us. We tried jumping around, thinking that vibrations might have caused it but that was clearly not the cause.”

Jim Muller, another long time employee, has often heard footsteps coming from the floor above when he was alone in the store. I went up to investigate and a door slammed shut in my face. Other times merchandize has just flown off the shelf. There was no breeze, just a big “boom!” as it

landed on the floor.

Once while working upstairs, he saw a woman out of the corner of his eye. He turned to say, “May I help you” and she disappeared.

Why should a bathroom supply house be haunted? Nobody knows. The building enjoyed lively days when it housed the I.O.O.F. Hall. Echoes of laughter and conversation are still heard by all three men. It’s also known that club members were embalmed in the building and that commemorative bricks are imbedded in the floor. Perhaps, too, the vintage fixtures—tubs and toilets—dating from before the Civil War carry a kind of psychic energy. It’s all very human—in an inhuman sort of way.

Antoinette is author of Haunted Houses of California and Adventures of a Psychic. She can be reached at 286-1320. Bathroom Machineries is located at 495 Main St., Murphys. 728-2031. Weekdays 8 to 5, Saturday 10 to 4, closed Sundays.

2 pictures Do tubs and toilets carry a psychic charge? Ghosts do what comes naturally at Bathroom Machineries in Murphys

Copyright © 2010 Antoinette May