Bones found in wall at Earnestine and Hazel’s

Updated: Jul. 18, 2019 at 5:37 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Bones were found inside a wall at Earnestine and Hazel’s Tuesday night.

“We started taking it apart. Some things were starting to fall out to the walls and the bones is what we noticed,” said Chris Tigner, vice president of Diversified Builders.

Tigner’s team is making repairs to the building and made the discovery.

Somehow word got out that a body was found and police and fire showed up. There was no body, but there were bones in a wall that was opened up.

“We freaked out," Tigner said. "A lot of us ran outside for a few minutes to collect ourselves. With the history of it being haunted and the lore around the history of this place, it really freaked us out.”

Earnestine and Hazel’s is a fixture in downtown Memphis on South Main and G.E. Patterson. The building, more than 100 years old, has quite the history, sordid and haunted. Upstairs is where most of that kind of action takes place, with jukeboxes that just turn on for no reason and a piano that sounds when no one is playing it.

The building started out as a church in 1906, then a sundry, a pharmacy, a jazz club and rooms for rent. The story is those rooms were rented by ambitious ladies of the night. In one story, a prostitute was either pushed or jumped out of a second floor window. Now she is said to haunt people, but only men.

Tigner says famous people came here like Aretha Franklin and James Brown. Tigner found a drawer in a hidden compartment that had a Plymouth hubcap from the 1940s, a five-cent peanut bag and a whiskey bottle with a cork in it but no whiskey.

The owners of Earnestine and Hazel’s knew the building was in bad shape so the problems are being fixed but the look is not changing. The work should be finished in 6 to 8 weeks. The back of Earnestine Hazel’s is open for business now.

“The owners want to save Earnestine’s. It’s over 100 years old. To fix the place, it’s going to last another 100 years," Tigner said.

As for the bones, police tell us they turned out to be cow bones. But why they were hidden in a wall remains a mystery.

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