A group of confused looking “zombies” invaded the streets of downtown Mesa this past Sunday—or at least that was the people of the nearby churches believed when they left services in the later part of the morning. A casting call for “zombies” was sent out and several sleepy heads dragged their way to the location shoot near Center Street.
Make up artists worked their wizardry and transformed the everyday citizens into the dreaded living dead. They were resurrected as burn victims, ashen complexions from the plague, some had missing jaw lines, and one had a hole in his chest. The frightful bunch of characters kept some grandmotherly types from walking the grandkids down the “zombie” side of the walkway.
The cast and crew were filming a short film Sunday morning on the quiet streets of Mesa for up and coming horror director, Brenda Cranson. The film’s working title is “Office of the Living Dead” and created by Cranson. The “zombies” were on the loose invading the city, and disrupting the world of business and its office personnel.
Real ghosts have been seen along Mesa’s Main Street in places such as the former Newberry’s store, now the home of Antique Plaza. The shop owners believe something supernatural happens in the basement. Various antique booth owners have come to work to find items tossed about the floor. Items have been known to fall off the shelves barely missing the workers as they walk in the center isles.
The O. S. Stapley building, a former feed store, has been the scene of an old fashion shoot out. Another gentleman committed suicide in the building in the 1950’s. This could hold in the energy that keeps the neighboring buildings highly active.
Owners of the Evermore/Nevermore shop discovered a hidden basement when an electrician fell through doing some rewiring. The spirits have enjoyed locking the basement and restroom doors on them so often that a locksmith had to be called in. The ghosts enjoy toying with their store electronic equipment including operating a CD player that must be ran manually.
Next door is the home of a former butcher shop and bakery. The staff from Queen’s Pizzeria & Café believes a prankster ghost rearranges items in the kitchen and has pans flying in air. They noted tapping on the beehive style bricked walls.
Two sisters were shopping downstairs at the Mystic Paper and found a hole in the floor. They asked if the ghost child kept any marbles in it. Someone dropped a nickel down the shoot to show the ladies downstairs how it all connected. The sisters came upstairs and surprise the owner by presenting them with the nickel and a marble that seemed to come from nowhere.
The plush One Oh One Art Gallery was once the Mesa City Bank building. The basement houses one of the original mysterious tunnels that once catacombed under the buildings and Mesa city streets.
The Drew Building was the location of a grocery store and also a furniture store. The second floor has been turned into upscale apartments. One renter said her cat has been sensitive to something in the building. They believe two friendly ghosts, Edith and Rose, reside in the cozy retreat.
The baker of Sweet Cakes Cafe was frightened late one evening when she noticed a woman’s face high up in the inside corner window of the shop. She has also heard voices and old fashion music. She now turns her own radio high to override the noises.
The owner of Mane Obsession has operated her hair salon in the same location for over 20 years. When she purchased the store there the copper ceiling tiles were all in place but she decided a more modern look of a dropped ceiling would fit her needs better. Wanting to do a make over recently she thought the tiles would add a new look to her popular business. But, after starting renovations, they found almost all the tiles have disappeared.
The basement of the former Masonic Lodge building has the best example of the old Mesa tunnels. Some say they were built to run bootlegged liquor during prohibition and some same they were used for storage and transporting merchandise under the city streets. They are now walled up, but it would be an interesting adventure uncovering what lies behind the sealed walls.
So as you take a stroll down the historical streets of Mesa, Arizona, be on the watch for the ghosts of the past…and keep look over your shoulder to be sure your are not being followed by the living dead—or should I say, the “zombies”.
Watch for updates on “Office of the Living Dead”
Photos by Debe Branning and Megan Taylor
For more info: www.mvdghostchasers.com
Debe Branning [email protected]