Former Kansas City funeral home-turned-bar offers a paranormal experience


KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WDAF) — In downtown Kansas City, Kansas, one dive bar is serving up spirits, in more ways than one.

Originally built in the late 1800s, Fat Matt’s Vortex, located at 411 N. Sixth St. on historic Strawberry Hill, used to be a funeral home.

“It used to be a drugstore slash pharmacy in the early 1900s, and then it turned into a funeral parlor slash crematorium, which is in the basement, where they would incinerate the bodies,” said Fat Matt’s co-owner Sam Houze.

Houze and his family have owned the bar since 2004, and in that time they’ve had their fair share of paranormal experiences.

“We’ve seen things that we can’t quite explain. I had two friends playing pool at the pool table one night and the door that leads to the basement, where the crematorium is slammed shut and then consecutively, like two seconds later, the women’s restroom door slams shut,” he said.

And those experiences don’t stop with the staff. According to Houze, customers have also had unexplained things happen to them.

“Sometimes, I’ll have regulars come up and tell me that it felt like someone tugged on their shirt when there was no one there or they could hear someone’s footsteps on the floor walking behind them. So I’ve had many people tell me that over the years.”

It’s all about respecting the energy in the building, which is why sage comes in handy.

“I will burn sage in the building every couple of weeks and just kind of clear the air and get that good energy and we’ve never, in any way, felt any sort of negative connotations or feelings with the energy in the building.”

Fat Matt’s Vortex is so beloved by some that they chose to spend eternity above the drink counter.

“We actually do have the ashes of two of our old regular customers up here. They didn’t have any really immediate friends or family who were capable of providing for their funeral services, so we paid for their cremation and we have their ashes in a couple urns above our bar, so they’re always kind of here.”

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