When we imagine ghosts, we traditionally think of disembodied souls haunting old cemeteries and ruined mansions, but times have changed. Today, more and more offices and places of business have become home to otherworldly spirits. Many people have heard of (or experienced firsthand) strange and inexplicable events in their workplace. Some folks enjoy the air of mystery these tales lend to an otherwise dull workday, but some are uneasy and avoid sticking around alone afterhours for fear of an encounter with more than just the janitor.
Like their brethren that frequent cemeteries and old houses, office ghosts tend to do their haunting late at night. Apparitions, voices, footsteps, knocks, and doors slamming after most people have left for the day are some of ways these ghosts make their presence known. For people who are bothered by someone looking over their shoulder while they work, having an active office ghost about can be more than a little unnerving.
Ghosts in the Capitol
At the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., employees whisper about ghostly apparitions they say roam the stately building’s halls at night. Built in the French Second Empire style and located close to the White House, the nineteenth century edifice exudes an air of mystery. The resident ghosts are particular and seem to prefer the corridors of the building rather than any of the private offices.
The offices of one nonprofit business in Washington, D.C., are home to ghostly spirits who love to keep the office workers on edge. One woman, whose office on the third floor was known informally as “The Ghost Room,” reported being alone in the building one night when she began hearing the sound of slamming doors in the outside hall. She opened her office door and looked out, but saw no one. After closing the door she heard another door slam, and then the shuffling of footsteps approaching her door. While she listened, the footsteps grew louder and then softer as they moved down the hallway, followed by the unnerving sound of a female voice laughing.
When the woman recounted her ghostly tale to co-workers the following day, she found that others had similar stories to tell. These included seeing a woman’s face in a window on the third floor, hearing a female voice calling out their name followed by footsteps running down the hall, and finding a coworker’s visiting child talking to an invisible woman in the third-floor conference room. One office worker quit after he kept finding the photos on his wall neatly arranged on the floor every morning when he arrived for work.
Spirits Who Won’t Leave
Theories abound as to why some spirits haunt particular office buildings. These include workaholic souls who had an affinity for a particular place, people who may have died suddenly or tragically in the building, or even those that lived (or died) on the same spot long before the modern structure was built.
An office manager in a doctor’s office was working late after everyone else had gone home. While filling out some paperwork, she looked up and saw an elderly man standing before her. Annoyed, she asked him how he had gotten in. He answered her with a sinister smile, then walked silently through the front door. Upon investigation she learned that an elderly man had died in the building years before and had a tendency to make regular appearances, especially around the anniversary of his death.
Office buildings aren’t the only businesses visited by ghostly spirits. One evening at closing time, a bank guard noticed an elderly woman dressed in black. He called out to the woman and told her the bank was closing and she would have to leave. As he approached her, she smiled and vanished right before his eyes, leaving him standing there dumbfounded. Whoever she was or had been, the ghost had no intention of ever leaving the bank.
Ghosts “R” Us
Employees at the Toys “R” Us store in Sunnyvale, Calif., are more than familiar with “the other side.” People have reported seeing bathroom faucets turning themselves on and toys moving down the store aisles at night. Employees of this haunted toy store have also reported seeing ghostly, fog-like apparitions and even free-floating Frisbees!
Some businesses such as Captain John Stone’s Public House and the Groveland Hotel embrace their haunted history and ghostly residents as a way to attract curious visitors. In these establishments the ghosts not only haunt the place, but have become an integral part of the success of the business.