Is Mount Vernon heaven?
Probably not. But it is where a lot of people go when they die.
“I definitely think we’ve got some people that were favorite customers that hang around the building,” said Shannon Ostertag, owner of ML Edwards and Company in Mount Vernon.
Shannon believes her store is filled with dead people because it used to be filled with dead people.
“Upstairs there was a funeral home,” Shannon said.
The bodies were taken upstairs on a 100-year-old elevator and ended up in the embalming room.
To prepare the bodies, blood and other fluids drained through a hole in the floor and on to the ground outside.
Years later, an addition was built on top of the spot where all of those fluids once drained.
Inside that addition, at least a dozen heavy bookshelves used to line the walls of a large room.
Then one morning Shannon went to that room and was shocked.
“When we opened the doors, all the bookcases had moved into a circle in the center of the room,” she said.
There was only one way in and only one key.
No one else had access, except a cat. Shannon says the cat lived in the back part of the building and almost seemed possessed, but the moment an employee took it home its demeanor completely changed.
Shannon says many other ghosts have spooked her.
She’s been especially tormented by a tall, slender man in glasses: her husband, Greg.
As in Greg Ostertag, the 7-foot-2 former NBA player who thinks she’s crazy.
“I give her the ‘oh really? Wow,’” Greg laughed.
He can say that because he’s almost the only person at the store who hasn’t encountered a ghost.
“When I’m the only one here I will hear footsteps, children’s laughter,” said employee Lauren Lewis.
“It sounds like somebody’s running down the stairs,” said Michaela Cupit, who didn’t believe in ghosts before she started working in the store.
Pretty much every employee has a similar story.
That’s why Shannon invited a psychic medium to the store, who said there was definitely a human presence in the building, but whatever was out back wasn’t human.
“She ended up giving us the number for a priest that might be able to help us,” Shannon said.
God himself might still not be enough to convince her skeptical spouse, because Greg doesn’t even find her credible.
“No,” he said. “Not on this. She’s one of the smartest people I know, but nah.”
Talk about a dead man walking, and if he hangs around long enough, he might even see one.
For more information about ML Edwards & Company, visit their website.