Office Spooks: Haunted Work Places

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 some rare folks, but more importantly is do they contribute to the setting down of residual hauntings? In other words, does it work a bit like an x-ray and leave an image? I have been in buildings and offices with very very high EMF levels and it does make me wonder at the effects on the environment and the humans and the very repetitive events occurring their for hours on end, days in a week, weeks in a month, months in a year...

Sounds, apparitions, footsteps, smells are all classic signs of residual hauntings, but office workers also describe interactive intelligent haunting events, such as the sensations of being touched or hearing their name.

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.


  1. Call me doubtful. I think there are many other explanations. Often I think we want to make or create a supernatural connection in our minds and in thinking it we create the semblance of such.
    I do love old work places. Working for many years with a touring theater company we would often play in old vaudeville theaters. They were so cool and very conducive to believe in haunted environments.
    My favorite workplace was in old warehouse district of Knoxville, TN. The area has now been mostly restored with club, restaurant, shops, and trendy lofts. But I did like it when back in the 70s it was crumbling and eerie.
    Good brain food for the imagination in this post.

    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

  2. Hey Lee;
    It is true, people in a work place after hours run into a few issues: 1. The normal noise in the space is gone and they're in a familiar place, but no bearings. Then, they hear things they can't hear during the day, like the pipes rattling, air-conditioner kicking on, et cetera.
    2. The building settles, temperatures change, clean-up crews haunt the hallways.
    I did a study in a work place once with huge EMF spikes and steady high EMF in the place people sit and work. Sure enough, over time sitting there, I could not stop feeling I was being stared at intensely, looking around and catching shadows and such. I wonder sometimes if work places just have a helluva lot of residual where even after people are gone, the halls flash an image of someone or the sound of heels.

  3. Although I know you aren't a "fan" of evil spirits et al, but the funeral home I worked in had a very bad presence. I felt it, my friend who still works there feels it often. That building is newer, meaning built in the 90's. Could it be one of the deceased that was prepared? I think not. Because of the type of people I worked for, I sometimes think they brought on this bad presence. They are very unethical and bad people. When staying there at night alone, you always felt like you were being watched. Always uneasy. Yeah, it's a funeral home, but still. It's a very modern building off a busy highway. Go figure.

    Now the original funeral home which was in a different location (we have two locations) is from the 1920's. There is a ghost in the building from a funeral director/embalmer who actually passed away during the night many years ago while asleep in the bedroom while on shift. Of course, he is not a bad entity. He's a "nice" ghost! LOL

  4. Hey T-Dear;
    Well, the age of the building isn't going to be a factor. That it was a mortuary means--no dying people were there (we hope not!) With the right conditions and the right chemicals, it's possible that a room could have a feel to that is very unsettling. There's probably several factors at work there; negative people, bad feng shui (layout of the room allowed for energy to circle and not escape), and then you add in the chemicals and you might have a sick-building syndrome. Sometimes, in a room with no windows, it is in our nature to feel we're being watched, as well. There is something to be said for windows, they make our setting go beyond the four walls. If you gaze out a window, you are part of the outdoors as well. If you are in a room with no windows, you are in a 10 x 20 foot room (or whatever size) and so all sides of you there is a finite amount of space. With artificial lights and no reference for time of day, you get that same syndrome a lot of office workers get who don't get a lucky window; you get off work, step outside and realize it's dark already. If you're a empathic person, more than likely those feelings you describe are related to the energy of the people who work there and the background knowledge of the place being filled with the dead. It's an ideal combination to assume that the bad emotions are the dead, but they are more than likely the living's emotions in the setting of death.

  5. Hell, to be honest, it's not the dead energies that really concerned me! LOL I agree that the bad energies came/come from the owners etc. and the other "shithead" employees that have come and gone. Yeah, the funeral service business is very "cut throat" and doesn't need to be. I have discovered there are a LOT of unsavory people who are Funeral Directors/Embalmers. Sad. It doesn't have to be that way! Alcoholism is also VERY prevalent. Geez! Tell me again why I want to be in this field?!?! LOL

  6. T-Dear;
    You want to be in this field because there is nothing more vulnerable than a dead person and your respect for them is such that you want their escort from the world to be as welcoming as their entry into the world in the birthing room.

  7. As always, a thought-provoking post. When you think about it, after you take the hours we spend sleeping out of the equation, most people spend far more hours on the job than at home, and expend at least as much emotional energy there. If someone was going to leave some sort of psychic "footprint" somewhere after they passed, in many cases their place of business seems just as logical as their home.

  8. Bleaux;
    True! Honestly, if emotions are part of the imprint here, then the stress and anger and hurt in a work place makes it a highly likely place for residual.

  9. My dad was a park ranger for a few years before he got hired by a police department, he tells some great ghost stories about White Hall (Cassius Clay's historic home-- the politician not the boxer.)

  10. Vapor;
    Yeah, I think I've heard the most stories from park rangers and librarians. Yeah, I would think over time in one location, you'd really see and hear it all.

  11. Send me another email! I have some ghost stories about my work! We were built on top of a graveyard that was reserved for Catholic priests and other clergy!

  12. The hospital I waork in is definately haunted. I've seen too many dark figures etc, to believe otherwise. We have one single room whch is particularly bad. Several people have been held down in the physio gym at night, our bed clothes get turned back fairly regularly (whatever regular means) and the nurse-call buzzer goes off in empty rooms. We've actually caught a voice on video once while trying to video in the dark. It's very easy to blame electrical problems and pranks, but we've been very careful and make sure no one goes off on their own so there's very little chance of the latter happening.

    Actually, I'm on nights tonight. Oh great...

  13. Craig;
    I used to work in two hospital emergency rooms and I get what you're talking about. I've consistently found patients to complain about shadow people the most. Considering the high generation of power, the often times large stone based buildings and the amount of grief and pain inside, a hospital is an ideal vessel for trapping emotional content and creating residual hauntings. The manipulation of objects, like the bed sheets, though, that is more poltergeist like. As well, poltergeists are often times associated with strong emotional extremes. You are more likely to find such activity happening in dark (or without windows) crowded rooms. It's as if energy needs to move along clear pathways as humans do. If you get energy trapped in an area that confuses its path, it circulates and builds. It's like the energy vortex one sees in a lighthouse. I'd love to hear more about your work place issues.


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