Haunted Millbank Tours Spook Local Business Owners
Local News - Newsmakers
Written by Helen Hamilton   
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 19:04

MILLBANK – According to local resident and “scholar of paranormal phenomena”, Neil Gruber, Millbank is a veritable hotspot for the mysterious and unknown. “Millbank has over 230 haunted houses, buildings and other structures. There is even a haunted pergola,” Mr. Gruber explains. “Most people in Millbank have no idea that they live in such a nexus of the supernatural, but that is what I’m here for.” This will be the third year in which Mr. Gruber leads tours of creepy Millbank landmarks, such as the second dumpster behind the Super GroceryMart, the garden section of the Lotsa Value Hardware store and the reference section of the public library.

And this is where the controversy begins. “Mr. Gruber is telling people that an axe murderer decapitated over 40 people in the back of the store,” says Lotsa Value store owner and city councilman Gary Shanks. “No matter what he claims, that is having a negative effect on business, which is unfair, since there is no record of such a mass beheading ever happening in this store, not in the garden section, not in the paint section, not even in the plumbing section. Not anywhere.” Mr. Shanks says that he aims to keep his store decapitation-free, so customers should feel safe and take advantage of the great deals on light bulbs and leaf rakes.

Mr. Gruber stands by his claims. “First of all, how does Gary know there wasn’t ever a mass decapitation on the site of his store? There is no way he can’t prove that a mass beheading didn’t ever happen at that location. History is more mysterious than we give it credit for, and I know what I felt when I stood next to the vegetable seeds. I felt the vibrations of dozens of heads plopping to the ground. Plop, plop, plop, plop, plop.”

“That scary stuff is okay for some, but the rest of us don’t need that kind of stress in our lives,” says Maria Elena Iturribide, owner and manager of the Koffee Klatch diner. Iturribide and her husband Sergio have run the diner for over seven years and have experienced nary a boo. However, Mr. Gruber’s claim of the diner selling possessed popovers have thrown the clientele into a tizzy. “Look at this popover. Pillowy and buttery. Not demonic,” says Iturribide.

Mr. Gruber maintains that his paranormal tours bring in additional business, not scare it away. “People from all over the region will associate Millbank with the strange and unknown. Chupacabra sightings? Try over by the middle school. Alien abduction? The local drugstore is the best place to start.”

“Personally, I don’t believe in alien abductions,” says Joe Stewart, from the Stewart’s Drugs and Sundries. “But our deals on flu shots and Whitman’s samplers are out of this world!” Mr. Bakerman reports that customers seem less interested in sundries when concerned about anal probes. “But we do have a wide selection of adult diapers in Aisle 7,” Stewart adds.

For the time being, there is little that local shop owners can do to keep the terrifying tours out of their businesses. “At least all this creepy madness will end on November 1st,” says Iturribide. “Then things can get back to normal.”

Gruber begs to differ. “Weirdness never takes a vacation.”

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