Locals share ghost stories at MacAlpine's, Orpheum

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- MacAlpine's Soda Fountain has been around since 1929. With history comes stories, and MacAlpine's vintage store and ice cream shop has its fair share of ghost stories to tell.

"There supposedly is a gentleman that sits behind the front register and watches over the money and watches over me," said Monica Heinzenrader, who has owned the place since 2001.

But when she bought the store, she also bought its history. Some of it is very much alive, and the customers love to talk about it.

"(A customer) was a little flustered. She said she was sitting in the restaurant watching the girls walk up and down the aisle ... and this lady came through in like '50s garb and she was quite striking, and (the customer) was thinking, 'Oh, this lady really fits the bill,' until the lady continued walking right through the walls," Heinzenrader said.

Debe Branning is a ghost hunter and author of "Grand Canyon Ghost Stories" and "Sleeping with Ghosts." She says she feels the hustle and bustle of the soda fountain's past in MacAlpine's.

"I felt the presence of the people of the old neighborhood coming in to conduct their business like they did years ago," Branning said.

She says while Phoenix isn't that old, it does have a lot of ghosts at restaurants, hotels and theaters like the Orpheum.

"I had a friend that saw her thinking she was just a lady dressed up," Branning said of the Orpheum's ghost. "She wanted find out where she got the hat, and when she turned around to talk to the lady, the lady was gone. She just disappeared."

And of course, there's MacAlpine's, where they serve up so much more than great ice cream.

"We're so unique because we've been here so long and we have all the fun ice cream, and all that really fits who we are," Heinzenrader said.