Kenny Beeson’s Exorcism Rite
It wasn’t the mysterious smells that put Kenny Beeson over the edge. Nor was it the sounds of booted feet stamping across the floor, or the ships bell that rang when no one entered the shop door.
No, it was when his friend died in the 1960s and he couldn’t banish the spirits from his shop. That’s when he knew he had to take the next extraordinary step. He had to ask a Catholic priest to exorcise the evil spirits invading his life.
It all started when Kenny was a young man working as a tailor at Kixie’s Men’s Shop at 138 St. George Street. Only Kenny could smell the perfumed odors in the back workroom. Then came the sounds: stamping feet, a ringing bell over the front door, even moaning and clanging chains.
It was becoming difficult to work alone at night so when Kenny’s friend, Preston, kept him company one night, he was relaxed. That is until the bathroom door slowly swung open and an overwhelmingly sweet odor drifted through the air.
“We’re getting out of here,” Kenny yelled. The two men sprang to their feet but before Preston went through the door Kenny noticed the image of a face on the back of his shirt. It was too late to stop him as Preston was high tailing it out to the parking lot. But Kenny stopped long enough to pull out a tape recorder and leave it running on the workbench.
The next day he listened in awe as he heard the documented clamor. Before he could contact Preston, his friend died of a heart attack. It took all his strength to attend the funeral and as he entered the chapel he was overcome by the stench of funeral flowers, the same smell that had invaded his work space. Then he saw the man whose image had been emblazoned on the back of Preston’s shirt. It was Preston’s brother. Had this been a premonition of the death? The brother followed his brother in death soon thereafter.
Kenny was so shaken by all of the strange events he went to Monsignor Harold Jordan to ask for help. Although Monsignor Jordan had never attempted an exorcism rite, he realized how deeply frightened Kenny was. He blessed the rooms and ordered the demonic spirits to leave.
The service apparently worked as all was quiet after that. Kenny said he never heard anything else, although occasionally he did smell flowers.
Kenny Beeson became a leader in the community which included serving two terms as city mayor. He chose to keep his story quiet, telling it only to his closest friends. It was not until 1992 when he went public with the story, telling it to me for publication in Compass. From there it has become one of the staples of the ghost tour litany of tales.
Did the exorcism work? Shortly after the story was printed a couple living in an apartment down the street from Kixie’s Men’s Shop came to me with their tale of haunting in their residence. Is it possible that the spirit haunting Kixie’s moved down the street? Does anyone know?