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Cold Beer, Killer Woman

I can be a skeptic, but I’m not taking my chances this time. If Aileen Wuornos is still hanging around at The Last Resort, I’m not gonna fuck with her.

For those of you who don’t know, serial killer Aileen Wuornos was captured at this Port Orange biker bar after murdering seven men. She apparently snapped when she was brutally raped while working as a prostitute. She was later executed. The story was turned into a movie, “Monster,” with Charlize Theron. Good movie, but the real story is much more intense, especially when told by the people who knew her.

Not that she ever left.

I’ve been to The Last Resort a bunch. Yes, the Wuornos connection first brought me there, but even without that bit of infamy, the place ranks among my favorite stops for a beer in Florida and it draws me in whenever I’m in the Daytona Beach area. It defines biker bar. Not sissy biker bars, but a biker’s biker bar. And Aileen makes the place that much more interesting.

Al, the bar’s owner, was friends with Aileen in the days she hung out there and he still has stories. So do some of the other regulars that were there in the day. Yes, she was a serial killer, but there’s a sort of sympathy for her. No excuse for going on a killing spree, but, as Al once asked, “What would you do if someone shoved a tire iron up your ass?”

I was in Daytona Beach last weekend and told my girlfriend we had to stop. The bar itself is tiny, but has a crapload of character with graffiti and photos and Wuornos references (look for Charlize Theron’s graffiti on the ceiling). We went outside to see the Japanese Hanging Tree (burnt out, mangled Japanese motorcycles hanging and surrounding an oak in the back). On the way back in we saw an airbrush painting of Wuornos in her prison jumpsuit staring at us. It had all the men she killed listed on it, as well as her last words and other details about Aileen.

Back inside, the artist, Ted E. Bear, told us that Aileen came to her in a vision and she had to do the portrait. She was working on it on Feb. 29, Wuornos’ birthday, and the spray gun went nuts. The line started snapping and jumping and she backed off, calling for Al. Al walked up and said, “Aileen! Stop it!” The line went limp.

It wasn’t the only ghost story. Ted E. Bear and Cannonball, the bartender, began talking about other times Aileen had made her presence known. On the night she was executed, at the very moment she was declared dead, a box flew off the top of a shelf and hit the bar, knives being flung from it as patrons bolted away. A bell has rung with no one near it, images of a woman have appeared in photos where no woman was sitting. And more.

So, yes, The Last Resort is a great place for a beer even without Aileen. Her history makes it more interesting. The possibility that she’s still there and eyewitnesses are willing to tell you so? Well, show me another bar in Florida that can top that.