Who Are the Ghosts in the Dr Pepper Museum?

You’ll definitely be doing a lot of booing
Who Are the Ghosts in the Dr Pepper Museum?

Dr Pepper may be America’s second-favorite soda, but it’s definitely the most haunted. When the Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute (they just call it the Dr Pepper Museum now for some reason) in Waco, Texas underwent a makeover in 2021, one of the new offerings was a “paranormal experience” that’s still available as we type. That’s right: A suspiciously unnamed “team of professional investigators deemed it haunted based on the evidence they found,” per one spokesperson. But while it may be the only officially branded soda ghost tour, it’s also the most half-assed.

There are plenty of dead people associated with Dr Pepper who could be haunting its museum — its founder, various CEOs, all the people killed by excessive sugar consumption — but Dr Pepper doesn’t seem that concerned with identifying them. One write-up of the experience described listening to pre-recorded dialogue — excuse us, a live transmission via “spirit box” — from a ghost who called themselves Smith, but the entity rudely gave no further information. No messages for loved ones, no insistence they lived a good life and don’t belong trapped in the pepper purgatory, nothing.

Another ghost is identified as Shorty, a mechanic who was working at Dr Pepper when he was killed in the 1953 Waco tornado, but that ghost, too, gives up no biographical information that could be used to track down the records of a real person. (What he does give is fashion-related compliments; Shorty contains multitudes.) The story seems to have purportedly come from Bill Little, a real professor at Southwest Baptist University, but he apparently also couldn’t provide, you know, a real name or anything else that might lead to Shorty’s obit. The rest are just average, anonymous ghosts. One would be understandably hard to identify because it takes on the appearances of people who inexplicably continue to work there, though nobody has ever managed to catch the phenomenon on the little cameras they all keep in their pockets at all times.

In 2021, the museum’s education experience manager explained the apparent facelessness of the campus ghosts. “There’s a good chance that throughout history, people were working in this factory, walking down that hallway and turning the corner thousands of times a day, and it left an imprint on the space,” she said. “So it’s not necessarily an entity to interact with, it’s just a recording in that area.” 

And you know what? We’ll take it. It’s not exactly scientific, but at least it doesn’t have any plot holes.


If only they’d stayed the course. In addition to the testimony of Smith and Shorty, a TikTok posted by the museum a year and a half later (which also claims the location is “certified haunted,” you know, by the legal haunting regulatory bodies) claims that “we do not believe any of the entities come from the time period that this building existed as a factory. Evidence suggests that it comes from a time before, when there were private dwellings and boarding houses on site.” 

So which is it? Are they nonspecific impressions, factory mechanics or pre-factory residents? Dr Pepper, we’re willing to believe in fizzy phantoms. All we’re asking is that you meet us halfway.

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?