When Sarah Tigrett opened Ramen-Ya, a Japanese restaurant, on Jan. 25, 2017, she knew the eatery at 1128 Farmington Ave. was in a high traffic location in downtown Berlin. But she said she soon discovered her establishment might just have an unusual ingredient bringing a little extra spice to the dining experience.
With a small staff, Tigrett often ends up working by herself well into the night. However, she is positive that she is never really alone.
Just weeks into her lease, Tigrett said she saw an exterior door open and stop at a 45 degree angle, and when she approached the door for a closer look, it closed.
In the following months, Tigrett said security cameras recorded various items moving in the restaurant, including a bag of flour, a chain on a door and a pair of tongs that rotated and fell to the ground.
She claims her employees have sensed a paranormal presence and have seen unusual things, too.
“At first, when I get new hires, they hear about it and get nervous,” Tigrett said. “But when something happens they feel like it’s not so bad. No employees have quit and everyone of them seems to like him.”
“Him” being the unidentified presence.
An organization called the CT Spirit Investigators and Researchers conducted an investigation at Ramen-Ya in late February. According to the group’s founder and lead investigator, Rose Porto, the team came up with some interesting results.
“Sometimes ghost hunting has no easy conclusion, we go into a location with hopes of capturing evidence of a spirit and that they tell us their story,” Porto said. “In the case of Ramen-Ya, my team and I were successfully able to make contact with the spirit there. Ben, a former factory worker from the past, was very willing to make himself known to us. The haunting is benign, Ben seems to be very protective of the owner, Sarah, and just enjoys being the restaurant ghost.”
Porto believes that Ben is a young man, in his early 20s.
Tigrett feels that the presence in her restaurant is just curious, and harmless. She told Porto she didn’t want the team to tell the spirit to leave.
Porto said some of the evidence her team collected at Ramen-Ya included orbs in photographs, a hot spot caught with thermal imaging that couldn’t be explained, and cold spots that produced light anomalies in photos.
Also, Porto claimed that the spirit communicated through a “ghost box,” and electronic voice phenomena sessions.
The building where Ramen-Ya is located does not have a reputation of being haunted. Built in 1963, it’s located in an industrial area. According to assessor’s records, the property has had four owners since 2001.
Tigrett said prior occupants of the space included a paint store and a Polish deli.
A vape/smoke shop also occupies space in the building. Ali Khan, manager of the vape shop, reported that in his short time at the location, he has not experienced anything unusual.
However, Khan is open to the possibility that the paranormal does exist.
Not everyone is convinced, however.
Dr. Michael Shermer is the publisher of Skeptic magazine and the author of several books, including “Why People Believe Weird Things.”
When asked his opinion about the alleged paranormal happenings at Ramen-Ya, Shermer said, “Without seeing the videos I cannot say for sure what is going on here, but the fact that the restaurant is located near a busy road with heavy truck traffic, and a railroad track on which massive trains rumble by, very likely explains the apparently strange goings-on with objects appearing to move without human interference. Of course, the videos could also be faked, as there is a long and rich history of fakery, from the recent hate crime hoax by Jussie Smollett to the faked crop circles in England.”
Tigrett said she’s not making up stories. She said even Ramen-Ya patrons have reported seeing unusual things at the restaurant. “One customer came in with his family and claimed to see a spirit moving,” she said. “Another customer saw a bowl fly across the kitchen doorway.”
Shermer said many people simply want to believe in the paranormal.
“The fact is, there is no paranormal or supernatural,” he said. “There is just the normal and natural and mysteries we have yet to explain with normal and natural causes. Unknown does not mean supernatural or paranormal. It just means we don’t know something. Full stop.”