The Paranormal at Home: Hauntings in 50 States – Missouri’s Mac’s Cafe

Please click here if you would like to read the first article in the series.

Sometimes personal events can lead to paranormal activity. While bloody battlefields and public places are known to draw ghosts, private residences seem to be just as appealing to those who are no longer among the living. The state of Missouri has many allegedly haunted locations.  There’s even a Haunted Missouri Facebook page that serves as a “ghostly guide to the Show Me State’s most spirited spots.” One well-known location is the former Mac’s Cafe.

Haunted Missouri: Mac’s Cafe

Travelers in Berger, Missouri can find a sports bar and grill called Darlene’s One Stop. (Note: As of October 2020 we can find no reference to said business. It may no longer be in operation) The business opened in 2008 at 105 Market Street. This was a momentous occasion for the owners who were anxious to provide the local community with a fun, lively place to eat a hot meal.  It is also significant because it would begin a new chapter in the life of the place that was formerly Mac’s Cafe.

105 Market Street on Google Maps
Darlene’s One Stop/Mac’s Cafe on Google Maps

A drama unfolded over two decades ago that may have left a permanent scar on the area. 38-year-old Jack Schaefer and his family lived in an apartment on top of Mac’s Cafe.

He was an abusive boyfriend and stepfather. He tormented his ex after being kicked out and even went so far as to call in bomb threads at her place of employment. After suffering enough, his girlfriend obtained a restraining order to protect herself and her family.

This enraged Schaefer further and on March 17th, 1986 he took matters too far. Locals driving along Berger Bottoms Road saw Schaefer firing his shotgun randomly into the air and a sand dune. This was worrisome and prompted a few residents to contact local law enforcement.

Before they arrived, Schaefer headed to the apartment where his former partner and stepchildren still lived. He attempted to kick in the door but failed. Looking for another option, he wandered around outside and fired his shotgun into windows while his former girlfriend and her children huddled in fear.

He moved back to the door and shot the lock to gain entry. In a desperate attempt to protect his family and mother, the woman’s 19 year-old son met Jack head on by firing back with his own weapon.  The shotgun blast hit Schaefer at point-blank range and nearly decapitated him. He was killed instantly.

Paranormal Activity at Mac’s Cafe

Many believe that Schaefer continues to wander the area. Perhaps, because of the suddenness of his demise, he is not aware that he has died. His ghostly figure has been seen wearing the hiking boots, flannel shirt and jeans that he wore the day he was killed. He was spotted in the hallway above the old Mac’s Cafe, where the upstairs apartments are located.

An author working on a book titled New Haven Haunts: A Guide to Local Spooks contributed a story to the Missouri Ghosts website. (Note: October 2020. The article is no longer is on the site) The author spoke with a current resident and nurse named Wendi Bush. She stated that she would leave the lights on in her apartment and return home to discover that they had been mysteriously switched off. She and her roommate would leave and come back to find the shower randomly running.

She also discussed an incident that happened while the apartment was unoccupied for around six hours. Her children were with their father so no one was in the apartment. The lights had been left on and the TV was turned off.  When Wendi returned, the lights had been switched off again and she also stated that:

…the weird thing was the TV and VCR was on, and it was showing the Exorcist. But we don’t own the Exorcist! We don’t know how it got into the apartment or in the VCR. No box was found and none of my friends ever claimed it.

Wendi also mentioned that the door was locked tight when she arrived, indicating that no one had broken into the apartment.

Other reports include a three-year-old who told his mother that he saw a man watching him and wanted the man to stop. Others have also heard strange noises. A pencil drawn pentagram with the mother’s face at the center was allegedly discovered on the back of the stepson’s bedroom door and live snakes have shown up on a number of occasions inside the apartment.

A cursory search of online newspaper archives doesn’t provide an obvious source for this story, however the Family Search website lists a Jack Schaefer who died in March of 1986 in Missouri. He is very close in age (a year or less) to the age usually associated with the Jack Schaefer who may be haunting the old Mac’s Cafe building.

Mac’s Cafe Today

The former Mac’s Cafe continues to provide the occasional glimpse of the paranormal. Wendi concluded by stating that she did not think her apartment was truly haunted, if she did she would not be able to return home. Many may share her reaction when faced with the unusual and unexplained.  It’s not easy to consider that some unseen person may share your living space with you, but reports of the paranormal indicate that at least one former resident has not completely departed.

Have you been to Mac’s Cafe (or would you like to go)? Share your personal experiences or investigative approach to this location in the comments.

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