A bell chimes vigorously when the door opens to Burr’s Unfinished Furniture store. A single, large room stocked with unfinished furniture, including rocking chairs, beds, and tables, greets visitors. The distant sound of a fan blows cool air around the warm store. Store owner Cindy Roberts, acknowledges customers almost instantly, happy to speak about both her furniture and the services, and also about her experiences with the paranormal in Downtown Bryan.
The historic building housing Burr’s might have been a grocery store during the 1930s, says Roberts. She learned of the building’s potential past by a gentleman who once stopped by to talk about his job sweeping the floors for the grocery many years ago. Due to its age and lack of records, all the past lives of the building are largely unknown.
With the building having entertained so many different kinds of folks for so many years, it begs the question, “Have all of these souls departed?”
Based on her past experiences, Roberts believes not everyone or everything has left the building. Roberts recalls her first unusual experience in the store:
One night, just before the store’s closing time, a couple walked in the store to look at rocking chairs. The rocking chairs are always aligned in straight rows. The couple, in their haste to find the perfect one, moved almost all of them out of place. Finally, after some time had passed, the couple came to the conclusion that none of the rockers were what they were looking for.
All of the rocking chairs were jumbled, none in a perfect row. Because of the lateness of the hour, Roberts decided to go home and straighten up the store the next day. The next morning, Roberts walked into the store to find all of the rocking chairs perfectly lined up in neat rows.
Roberts is the only one with a key to the store, was the last to leave, and the first to arrive the next morning.
So, who moved the rocking chairs?
Robert’s conclusion that there are spirits living in the store doesn’t cause her any distress. “I think they are playful ghosts,” Roberts explains. “I do not think they are out to harm anybody.” Most of the time, she says, these spirits just like to have a little fun with her.
Whether it be the ghosts working as unpaid labor by helping Roberts move the rocking chairs, or reveling in pranks such as turning the lights on and off, pushing flat things off of shelves, or playing music where no one can find a radio, they do not seem pernicious, says Roberts.
Roberts says she has had other paranormal experiences away from her store, some that are very close to her heart. She says she is thankful for the spirited visits. “You are pretty special if you get to see those [spirits] because then you know that you are going somewhere good,” says Roberts. Instead of being frightening, Roberts says these are encounters everyone should look for.