Haunted work sites aren’t just for the docents of historic museums and the renovators of vaudeville theaters. High-rise office staff, shop owners, and warehouse workers all report haunting issues. We often think of ghosts as hiding out in old hospitals and antebellum mansions, but where there are people to perceive their presence, they make themselves known.
Our local team, MVD Ghostchasers led by Debe Branning, was actually begun by workers from a motor vehicle department who began to experience ghostly issues in the workplace following a coworker’s death. In search of answers, they formed a group. That was back in the 90s and they’ve been going strong since.
Some of the issues at hand in work places are the repetitive nature of work. This involves the same seating places, same halls walked, same doors opened, over and over and over again, day by day, month by month, decade by decade. This is often what we find in homes that have been around for 100 or more years; enough generations repeating the same trek, the same hallway, the same stairs over and over nonstop. An office building is more like an old home on crack. It has hundreds of times more people doing the same things. In a way, it’s a giant psychic electrostatic generator. I like to call it the “lighthouse syndrome.” When you have a place with a large source of electrical power and people whose job is to follow the same path every day over and over again to do the same tasks, you’ve generated future ghostly footsteps, door closing sounds, murmuring voices.
Another obvious contributing factor is the power used to put together a work place. I’ve done studies in offices that complained of hauntings to find EMF levels off the meter near powerful electronics. These high levels of electromagnetic fields can be very unsettling on people. The question still hasn’t been answered for ghost hunters whether EMF is a sign of ghostly activity, a condition that causes the sensation of being haunted, or if high EMF is something necessary for a ghost to manifest. After having some truly amazing encounters in offices with high EMF, I am more of a belief that EMF is an attractive device for ghostly activity. I am curious about experiments being made in the field regarding how humans feel around high EMF levels. They have found they definitely can feel it with unsettling sensations, but the question is, do they get EVPs and see apparitions with these conditions? I get excited by an office wanting a study done because I know that where there’s a business, there’s high EMF, and possibly a magnet of sorts, very similar to the attraction with certain geology and waterways.
This syndrome, however, doesn’t account for the array of more traditional haunting features, such as EVPs, apparitions, and sensations of being touched. I remember as a kid having a family friend, an elderly woman, who told stories of her husband’s business. When he passed on in his mid 50s, leaving her a widow, she took over his business. She cursed that the office in the back of the store where he worked 16-hour days was obviously haunted by his presence. She saw him several times near the file cabinets, back turned to her, bent over a drawer. A few times, she’d come into the room to find the roller chair butted up underneath the desk where he used to do his books instead of near the desk with the typewriter where she kept it. Other times, she could hear a single swear word with his thick Polish accent. She had shrugged and sighed. “It makes sense, I suppose,” she had sighed. “He loved his work more than me or our home.” In that single statement, she may have answered the question; “why do people haunt work places?”
Park rangers and medical workers in hospitals are two groups of people most often to report ghostly encounters. We can certainly understand those working in hospitals having such experiences, but park rangers? Yes! Their territory covers isolated cabins, cemeteries, historic paths, caves, state parks, and battlefields. When asked, rangers often times say it’s just part of the job to see to everyone’s safety within the historic site and sometimes that might include a tag-along ghost.
Obviously, having the right attitude about haunted work places is essential. The only times most people complain are when they’re alone after hours or left to close up the place. The great sighing heave of relaxation that occurs when there are no more elevators rushing up and down, people slamming doors and wheeling carts, makes for a contrast of sorts that can make one’s hearing acutely sensitive and the feeling of contrasting open spaces disconcerting. For the same reason historic sites such as Alcatraz are less likely to reveal their spirit activity during crowded tours, so are work places less likely to reveal visitors until the nighttime becomes their playground and all the human energy has been removed from their space.
So, if you’re ever walking the halls after hours and hear another set of footsteps, consider it your unseen coworkers, taking over the night shift.