SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A restaurant on Commercial street claims to have a ghost that walks through walls and apparently it hates the color orange… Ozarksfirst.com looks at the haunted history of Basilico Italian Cafe.

History of Basilico

The building at 306 Commercial Street was first constructed in 1885. It was originally built by the company Frisco. It was used as a staging place for the company. If someone needed office furniture they could come via train to pick it up from the building.

According to the History Museum on the Square, in the 1920s the building was a shoe store owned by the Wennerman family. They owned other stores in Springfield.

In 1927, it became O.K. Plumbing and Heating Company before turning into a jewelry store in 1940. That store lasted 20 years before closing down and either was absorbed by some other company or became vacant.

Current owners, Martha and Gina Cooper, said it was a government drug testing facility before they purchased it in 2008. After 12 years, the Coopers decided to change the store from Sisters In Thyme Bistro and Bakery to Basilico Italian Cafe in 2019.

Is Basilico haunted?

“There’s no denying there are spirits in this building. There are spirits on Commercial Street and there’s probably spirits in a lot of places that people just don’t want to say,” said Martha Cooper.

Although some strange occurrences have happened, like someone or something making a mess in their storage room during closed hours frequently, the confirmation of a ghost didn’t happen until the Coopers decided to change to an Italian restaurant and repaint the walls.

“When we were painting the walls orange, we were facing this way,” said Cooper. She said her employee was sitting on a crate painting a wall next to the kitchen when suddenly a voice caught her attention. A man appeared right next to them. “He’s like, ‘Orange, huh? I don’t like orange.’ and then he just misted away.”

Cooper said ‘Frank’, the name they gave him, did not have a completely solid body, but she could see that he was wearing railroad overalls. Gina Cooper, on a separate occasion, said she also saw Frank wearing a conductor hat.

Aside from Frank’s expressing his personal taste in decor and the occasional moving of objects, Cooper said he is a friendly ghost that just appears sometimes and doesn’t mess with anyone. Their other ghosts, however, are a bit more mischievous.

Martha Cooper standing where she first saw Frank.

“We did have a customer in here one day who’s a part of a ghost hunting association and said, ‘you know you’ve got ghosts in your (storage room)… you know, you’ve got kids in there too,'” Cooper said that any time she would open the storage room door, everything would be thrown everywhere. And every time they would clean it up, it would happen again. “His advice was to send somebody in that was a parent, a mother with a motherly tone and tell them to behave and go home… and so I had one of my employees who is a mom do that and it pretty much stopped.”

The Coopers completely embrace Frank as a part of their restaurant. They’ve let all of their employees know about him before hiring them to become a part of the team—a lesson learned from Cafe Cusco‘s ghostly residents.

During an investigation with the Southwest Ghost Finders (SWGF), we had a lot of trouble using the ghost-hunting tools because 75% of them had their batteries completely drained. According to Kim Luney with SWGF, ghosts supposedly feed on the energy from batteries. Check out the video above to see what we were able to find.