Things That Go Bump in the Haunted Pharmacy

October 30, 2014
Eileen Oldfield Associate Editor

Sometimes, the pharmacist just can't leave the counter. At certain locations, that dedication persists even after death, leading to tales of spectral pharmacists causing mischief and strange events at their former pharmacies.

Sometimes, the pharmacist just can’t leave the counter. At certain locations, that dedication persists even after death, leading to tales of spectral pharmacists causing mischief and strange events at their former pharmacies.

In New Orleans, one of the most haunted cities in the country, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is home to at least 1 resident ghost who also holds a place in pharmacy history.

Louis J. Dufilho, Jr., originally owned the building and, in 1816, he became the first person to pass the licensing examination, “making his pharmacy the first United States apothecary shop to be conducted on the basis of proven adequacy,” the museum’s website states.

However, Dufilho does not haunt the pharmacy. Instead, New Orleans lore suggests Dufilho sold the store in 1857 to Dr. Joseph Dupas, a physician of dubious standards who is the alleged resident spirit.

Dr. Dupas’ career allegedly includes “shocking experiments on pregnant slaves” and voodoo rites, according to an Examiner.com article on the museum. He died in 1867 due to complications of syphilis, but can allegedly be seen at the museum after closing. The short, brown-suited, and sometimes lab-coat-wearing ghost is believed to be responsible for setting off the building’s alarm system, moving items in the museum display cases, and throwing books, the article states.

According to CitySearch and Real Simple magazine, the specters of a pharmacist and his wife in Houston, Texas, continue inhabiting the city’s most haunted building. Now occupied by a restaurant, the building formerly housed a pharmaceutical warehouse.

Local lore suggests the unnamed pharmacist stepped into an open elevator shaft, falling to his death. His grieving wife died approximately 1 year later, although the cause of her death is unknown.

Diners have reported floating objects and clammy breezes at the location, as well as taps on the shoulder and pulled hair. The pharmacist and his wife are also believed to be responsible for rearranging furniture and moving dishes and silverware.

In Steilacoom, Washington, pharmacist W.L. “Cub” Bair supposedly haunts his former pharmacy, Bair Drug & Hardware. The location is now a museum run by the local historical society, which leases a portion of the space to a local restaurant.

Built in 1895, the pharmacy also contained a hardware store, soda fountain, and post office, making it a popular spot with local citizens, the Steilacoom Historical Society website states.

According to Tacoma’s Haunted History, employees and customers supposedly witnessed flying objects and strange, floating lights at the location, as well as malfunctioning appliances. Specialized “tests” referenced in the book allegedly detected a woman speaking and apparently calling the names of former staff members. The book attributes some of the occurrences to Bair, but the woman remains unidentified.

A second book, Haunted Washington: Uncanny Tales and Spooky Spots from the Upper-Left Hand Corner of the United States, references items flying off shelves, as well as moving light fixtures. That book attributes the strange events to Cub Bair disliking the new arrangements, but contains no mention of additional spirits.