High Strangeness: Welcome to Restaurant X

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Welcome to Restaurant X

Continuing on the theme of historical cases with odd addendums...

The other day I interviewed a college professor who had reported sighting a trio of odd lights over a lake in central Wisconsin several years ago. There wasn't much to the report, except that the witness had been on the phone with a friend who lived on the opposite side of the lake, and who interrupted the conversation to say "There they are again!" Turned out that the friend on the phone had been seeing these lights frequently, and her sister corroborated it for the witness. Three witnesses is always good, but none of them had lived right on the lake and none of them tried to get past the trees to get a closer view, and in any case the witness hadn't kept in touch with the friend or the friend's sister over the years, so there was no way to interview the other witnesses...

I was wrapping up the interview when she mentioned that she had had two other odd experiences in her life that might be of interest. I asked her if either event was related to a UFO sighting, and she said that, yes, one of them might have been. I asked her to tell me the story, and so she began...

The story took place 20-some years ago, when the witness lived in Iowa, and was visiting Chicago with a friend. They were hungry and went out looking for a place to get some dinner. After a while, they found themselves in a quiet corner of the city, not far from the Loop, and came across an interesting-looking office building that appeared to have a restaurant on the ground floor. They parked and went inside, and saw a sign for "Restaurant X." They entered and were seated immediately. They talked, had a drink, ordered dinner -- which, by the way, was delicious -- then paid and left.

Welcome to Restaurant X, where fear is always on the menu.
The witness and her friend had been very impressed with the restaurant, its beautiful decor, the professional staff, the fantastic food... but it occurred to them as they left that they hadn't seen a single other diner in the restaurant the whole time they were there. They thought that was curious, but soon forgot about it and went back to their hotel.

Four days later the witness was in Chicago again, with another friend, and suggested they have dinner at this interesting place called "Restaurant X." The witness had no trouble finding the office building after only four days, but as she parked she noticed that something was different.

She and her friend went into the building, but the "Restaurant X" sign was missing. They went to the entrance to the restaurant and peeked inside, and found themselves looking at a great big empty room. The beautiful decor that had impressed the witness only four days before had vanished; even the big doors she had noticed on the far side of the dining room were gone...

She was at a complete loss... She apologized to her friend and they went looking for a different restaurant...

I was intrigued, but puzzled. I asked her how this incident involved UFOs, and she said, "I've read about the idea of 'masking memories,' and I've always wondered if that's that we experienced." In other words, she wondered whether someone made her and her friend believe they were eating dinner at a restaurant, to mask the fact that they were actually having a very different experience... and she was clearly implicating aliens from a UFO. There didn't seem to be a missing time element at all, just a lingering sense of unreality.

I would love to find out more about this, but the witness only had a vague idea where the restaurant was located... And, as with her other experience, she had completely lost touch with both friends involved in the "Restaurant X" incident. Since we talked I've asked her if she could remember any more details at all about where she found that weird office building, and if she comes through I expect I'll be going on a restaurant hunt sometime soon. Meanwhile, I've looked up "masking memory" and it appears to be a computer programming term.

Which is actually kind of disturbing, if you think about it.


7 comments:

Justin said...

Just discovered your site recently Mark and am loving it! You offer some great stories, insight and commentary.

As for this particular incident, my first thought is how quickly some of these businesses pack up shop and ship out if they go out of business. The fact that no one else was in the restaurant at the time these individuals decided to dine leads me to think this could explain the sudden disappearance of the place when they returned. Of course, there are instances of people finding themselves in a different place or a different time altogether (time slips) in some of the paranormal reports I've come across, but I don't see any indication of this in the witness' account to suggest this.

What I think she is referring to as a "masking memory" is what Dr. David Jacobs and other abduction researchers call a "screen memory." There is lots of info with that terminology that I'm sure you'll find rather fascinating.

Keep up the great work!

purrlgurrl said...

Where I live "pop up" restaurants are very hot. Sometimes a pop up takes over the space of another restaurant for a night serving it's own menu and cuisine, or it will open for a night in a location that's currently vacant. If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'. This is a real phenomenon and it's spreading to retail sales here as well, with pop up shops selling specialized merchandise for a day.

It sounds like Restaurant X could have been a "pop up" or something like it. At least it's a possibility since "pop ups" are a big city phenomenon . . . at least for now. I think they're a trend that could spread around the country because it's such a novelty concept. But, who knows?

Mark OC said...

Hey, Justin, thanks for reading! Your theory is plausible, but the witness emphasized that two big doors on the back wall had disappeared, so it wasn't just a case of disappearing tables. Her experience was that the physical reality of the space had changed.

purrlgurrl said...

Check this out

http://xmarxchicago.com/

Scott Hamilton said...

Even in 1990, I wonder what would constitute a "quiet corner" of Chicago anywhere near the Loop. Can the witness give any more location information?

Mark OC said...

She remembers it as being north of Wacker, between Michigan and LaSalle, a pretty busy part of the city...

I'm trying to find out if any of these pop-up restaurants existed prior to 2005. So far, no luck!

Rossome said...

This story also has characteristics of a "time slip" episode which many people claim to have experienced. A "time slip" episode involves being in a location that, without your knowing it, shifts to a different time frame at that location, on another "branch" of possible outcomes. Sometimes its as simple as a tree or building shows up on a vacant lot, that has never been there . . . then disappears as quickly as it manifested. Or, people are driving on a road and find themselves in a town that seems to be a movie set for a period piece with full costumes and architecture. They eat, stay the night, ask directions, etc and once they leave, they are never able to find the same town/restaurant/hotel again, although they are on the same road. I have experienced a "mini" episode of this when my wife and I were being shown a house for sale, by a local realtor. She took us outside the home and around to the north side which housed a door leading under the house into an unfinished basement, with a window, and a 12x10' concrete slab. When we returned to look at the house again some weeks later, the door to the basement, slab, and window were all on the East side of the house. We all realized something was wrong, but the realtor just figured she had remembered it wrong!