Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Bott Brother's Billiards

As told in WCMH Channel 4's "Ghosts of Columbus & Beyond".

At the turn of the century the Bott Brother's Billiards was one of the most fashionable places in town. A lively place of drink, song, and cards. Our story takes place on a cold and frigid night in February of 1909.

A blizzard had been raging for two days and the all the electricity had been knocked out. The Bott Brother's Billiards was illuminated by candle and lantern light, but otherwise it was business a usual. At the bar sat a notorious womanizer, card cheat, and knave by the name of Colonel Randolf Pritchard. The Colonel was sitting alone not by choice, but partly due to his infamous reputation. Playing himself a game of solitaire he sat there drinking, and passing the cold night away. It was shortly after 10 o'clock that the door to the saloon opened. Cold air blasted in the establishment though the open doorway. The Colonel glanced up at the entrance to the place. He saw something that made him rise up and move towards the open door.

From the entrance a woman emerged, possibly one of the many jilted lovers of the Colonel. In her upheld hand was knife. Again, and again the knife plunged into the chest of Colonel Pritchard, his arms flailing about to fend off the deadly blows. Then the knife wielding apparition dropped the blade and fled back out the door, and into the frigid night. The Colonel immediately falling down on the dirty wet floor next to the knife which had taken his life.

Several of the patrons rushed out into the street in a vain attempt to apprehend the murderess, but she had disappeared into the cold night in a coach the had passed by. The only thing to mark her passing was her dainty footprints in the snow.

Legend has it that the lady is doomed to walk the Earth forever for her heinous crime. You cannot see her, but on the night of the anniversary of the murder, if you stand outside near the clock who's hands have been frozen at 10:05 since the night of the murder, and if there is snow on the ground. You can see her footprints appear in the snow as she makes her escape for all eternity.

The saloon still stands in the same place at 162 N. High Street Columbus, Ohio. It is still open for business as far as I know. The place is known to most Columbus natives simply as "The Clock" which hands are stuck at 10:05.

This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets' site.

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