Ghostbusters, one of last summer’s big films, is pure fun and fiction. In real life, however, a surprising number of people say they believe in ghosts. A Harris poll in 2013 found 42% of Americans believe in ghosts; and 20% of respondents to a 2006 Readers Digest poll had seen a ghost at some point in their lives. These occurrences are not just at the stroke of midnight, or in a creepy abandoned house, either. Seems the bright lights and bustle of the average nail salon are just as likely to get spectral visits.

In this season of dying leaves, harvest moons, and All Hallows’ Eve, the time is ripe for listening to very rational people in the nail industry describe the spirits they’ve seen — sometimes more than once. Deep down, many of us want to believe that part of the human spirit can sometimes remain on earth for a while after the body is gone. And although the people here have seen ghosts in their place of business, they remain philosophical about it and even welcome the presence of happy haunts.

Sit down for a spell, and hear the tales.

The Backroom

I have been the owner of my salon since 2007. Through the years we’ve had our share of spirits.

We have a backroom that is used for storing equipment, among other things, and it seems to be a holding area for spirits. Since we do a lot of energy work, between massage and myopractics [musculo-skeletal bodywork], a lot of energy stays here. We sage pretty often, which usually keeps things on an even keel, but every once in a while when walking down the back hallway the hair stands up on the back of your neck and you can just feel someone there.

Sometimes you catch them out of the corner of your eye and when you look back of course you don’t see anything, but you can definitely feel their presence. We had one that stuck around for a long time, she was very friendly and you actually had a happy feeling when walking down the hallway. I named her Lola and would say “good morning” to her every morning. We were happy when she finally found a way to leave this earth.

I was chatting with my myopractor Jim in his room several months back, and a woman in a long white gown walked right in between us. I said to Jim, “Did you see her?” and his response was “I was wondering if you did!” We both laughed.

I am not sure if maybe this place was at one time was a sacred burial ground or if maybe just with all the different energies we work with, they tend to bring the spirits out.

— Nancy Carroll, Total Bliss Salon & Spa, Gilbert, Ariz.


Nancy’s Family Bungalow

Our bungalow dates back to the 1930s when the movie industry in Culver City had started to boom. The family members who lived in our bungalow were immigrants. Nancy, the matriarch of the family was an important early resident of Culver City. She opened a restaurant in the neighborhood, raised a family, and also read tea leaves as a side business. We would like to think that maybe Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, and Judy Garland stepped across our threshold! She was an animal lover too and always had a cat.

Here are some things we find interesting. 

We have a black cat that comes to visit our garden and always wants to get into the building.

We have had more than a handful of clients say they have seen a woman with long dark hair; several staff members, too. 

One client told us somebody said something to her and when she turned around nobody was there. Another client saw a lady in the window before she entered through the door and when she came in nobody was there. 

We had a new client some years ago who walked into Queen Bee and told us that there was a female energy in the bungalow who was happy we were there. She told us that the energy would communicate through electricity. Well, Queen Bee gets its fair share of crazy electrical glitches, from flickering lights after 10:30 p.m. to radio stations being switched.

I myself have only encountered her once and it was last year. I was working in the facial room that I am not normally in, and I felt somebody watching me from the top corner of the room and when I looked I could swear somebody was reaching down to touch me. I looked at my work colleague and said, “Did you see that?” I also ran out into the hallway to tell the other girls. After this occurrence I realized that whoever is watching over Queen Bee is watching over and protecting me. Immediately after this happened, I walked into a room where one of my staff members was “borrowing” client information. After I caught this, I figured out that a very small group of women were working together doing the same, with the intention to be deceitful. I honestly think that “Nancy” was looking out for me, and wanted me to see what was happening.

I’m very happy to have Nancy at the bungalow. She is more than welcome!

— Jodi Shays, Queen Bee Salon & Spa, Culver City, Calif.

The Smoking Man

I work in historic downtown Crown Point. The town was incorporated in 1868, and many of the buildings here are well over 100 years old, so ghosts are a regular part of working here.

The first salon I worked in had a ghost upstairs, so they bothered the other tenants by turning electronics on and off, and we could hear the spirit's footsteps when no one was upstairs.

The building I work in now has a silly and naughty ghost. It's a man, I have actually seen him twice but he messes with us regularly. My pedicure unit turns on and off occasionally, as do my nail lamp and desk lamps. He has flipped color bowls upside down (right in front of clients) and he is a smoker... We are the only tenants in the building and we can smell smoke in one isolated spot in the shop from time to time. We are positive that it’s him smoking right there. I've never felt threatened by him, but he did freak me out really good once. I was alone closing up for the night and when I sneezed, he whispered “bless you.”

I've never seen his face but I just know it’s a guy. I’ve seen the back of him, like a shadow though, as he walked through the closed door into our basement and I’ve also seen his silhouette in the upstairs window from outside the building. He is harmless, I just think he is hanging out with us and wants to be noticed sometimes! 

— Jessica Warzyniak, Ooh Nice Nails, Crown Point, Ind.

Poltergeist in the Day Spa

I work late sometimes at the salon and I hear noises when no one else is there. One time I was washing towels, and I had just put some in the dryer. I came back to check on them and the door to the dryer was wide open and towels were hanging out. I just thought someone had come in to get one out for some reason and left it like that. So I put the towels back in the dryer, started it and left the room. I shut the door to the laundry room and heard a loud slam. One of the stylists was standing there, and had just overheard me complaining about the dryer door being left open. We looked at each other wide-eyed because the bang we heard was loud.  I opened the laundry door, and there was the dryer, wide open with towels hanging out.

That door was latched. The dryer was working. It takes strong force to open that door. It was a bit freaky.

 Also, one still hot summer day the front double doors to the boutique opened by themselves. There was barely a whiff of a breeze that day and one side of the door is usually latched at the top.

— Lisa Bennett, Unique Hair Design and Day Spa, Bakersfield, Calif.

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