EVEN if you love your job, you probably wouldn’t want to spend all of eternity at the office.
(Though it sometimes feels like you’re already doing just that.) Maybe that’s why workplace ghost stories are just a little bit creepier than the ones that take place in Addams Family-style haunted houses or cobweb-draped graveyards.
Or maybe it’s just the incongruity of spooky stuff happening in a place that’s frequently bathed in fluorescent light. Either way, if you’re getting in the Halloween spirit this week, but you’re stuck at work, you’ll appreciate these office-bound tales of terror:
Once a Morgue, Always a Morgue
My dispatch center used to be at a building that housed the state medical examiner’s office/morgue. There were many sightings over the years of a lady in scrubs that would go around the corner of the hallway and disappear. I didn’t see her myself but I found out about her when my friend came back from break on the night shift and said he’d seen a lady in scrubs, etc. and then we were told the story. Pretty cool. -- Emergency Medical Dispatcher, via Facebook
The Helpful Pilot
I’m a technician for a major airline (can’t say which due to some points in this story). I was working on a second validation of recent upgrades to the cowling. That’s the metal part that covers the engines. A few flights had come in with the new cowling slightly loose, so not a huge issue, but in this business everything gets checked and checked again until we understand it.
Anyhow, while I’m at that, I look over and see this guy dressed in a pilot’s uniform messing around with the aerofoil. Something seemed off to me about him, but beside that, there shouldn’t have been anybody other than mechanics there, regardless. As I was walking over to him, I realized what it was that was “off” about him. His uniform was way too old, as in out of date.
I asked him the usual sort of, “What the #$%^ you doing here?”/“Can I help you with something?” question. He didn’t even look at me, just answered, “You’re looking in the wrong place,” then walked off. I informed the airport police as soon as he walked off, but he was already gone. We checked the security footage together and to my total embarrassment I was standing there at the wing talking to nobody.
After my shift, I’m telling my sister the story, still pretty weirded out by the whole thing and she shows me [an article about Eastern Airlines Flight 401]. I swear to God the guy on the right [in the photograph] is the guy I spoke to. No idea what to make of the whole thing, but I guess I chalk it up to something paranormal and I’m not going to put too much thought into it. -- achilles12, Reddit
When Real Life Is Scarier Than the Paranormal…
I was working in a convenience store, 19 years old, single mom. Luckily, this day I wasn’t alone [because my manager was working].
This guy came in, walked around and then went back to pump his gas … then drove off without paying. I got the tag number, called the police per policy and didn’t expect anything to come from it because that’s what always happened. Gas theft just wasn’t a priority to the police department.
To my surprise, less than an hour later, an officer walks in and asks me to identify the guy, which I did. I really didn’t think too much of it, just happy they caught the a******. I went on about my business, went home, got on with life.
The next day the manager calls me early, tells me that she saw the guy who I had identified on the news. He was wanted for two counts of murder. He had murdered a female jogger (no apparent motive) and a convenience store clerk that he had kidnapped after robbing her. I assumed she was mistaken because that just seemed too crazy; something I did helping catch a murderer just seemed unlikely.
Later that day, the officer came by and told me it was true and thanked me: without the tag number they may not have caught him until he had hurt more women. She also told me that the reason that the police caught him quickly was the car was stolen. Then the officer told me the scariest part of all: coming in and walking around the store is exactly the same thing he did before the robbery/kidnapping of the second woman he murdered.
I will never know exactly why he didn’t rob me or worse. I assume it was because my manager was there, which was unusual. I’m just grateful for whatever it was. -- AmandaTwisted, Reddit
The Ghost Who Breathed
I’ve been told we have a ghost in the wall of a room that weans oxygen. By morning, patient is no longer on O2, but neither the nurse, the respiratory therapist, or the family/patient did it.
We also have a door that rattles. People try to tell me that it’s just air currents going around the hallway that does it, but that story isn’t nearly as fun as the thought that ghosts are doing it.
And after a patient died, all the computer hard drives on our floor started going bad one by one. There are theories that his ghost went from computer to computer… -- wooh, AllNurses
The Security Guard Who Loved His Job
My dad had a weird experience once when he was in his early 20s. He had an office job in a building in the city. The building had five stories and his office was on the fourth. He had just got a promotion when this incident happened and unfortunately he had to stay late a lot of nights to finish up his work.
One evening, he was staying late and finally finished his work around 11 p.m. He locked up the office, headed downstairs, said goodbye to the security guard and left. The next day, he came in and found out the building had been broken into. The police took my dad aside and began questioning him. He told them about staying late and how he definitely locked up and everything. Then my dad asked about the security guard and where the guard was at during all this.
The cop gave him a strange look and then went and got my dad’s boss, who came over and asked my dad what he was talking about. The cop asked the boss if the building had a security guard and the boss shook his head and said that they used to, but the security guard had died a week ago and they hadn’t hired another one yet.
My dad was understandably shocked by this. He had definitely spoken to the very real guard who had worked there for years. He didn’t even know the guard had died. Nobody had informed him yet.
Also, the person who had broken in ended up being a disgruntled former employee who had been fired a couple of months prior. He told the police that he chose that particular time to break in because he knew the security guard had just passed away, so it would be easy to just break in without worrying about being apprehended.
Again, my dad said the guard was very real looking. Not hazy in any way. The guard looked how he always looked and seemed genuinely content.
This story still gives me the chills to think about. -- buttononmyback, Reddit
Terror During a Hurricane
During Hurricane Sandy, the basement [of the nursing home I work at] got flooded bad. A group of us were sandbagging hallways trying to keep the water away from the server room. We had lost power, so we were working with headlamps. I was walking through the basement to go relieve the person working the hand pump at the source of the flood.
As I was about to turn the corner away from the sandbaggers, I looked back … and something was blocking the light from their headlamps. It had sharp lines, like a pole was blocking the light. I tilted my light towards the void, and it rushed me. I was standing in ankle deep water, so I should have heard splashing … but I didn’t. I stood there dumbfounded until one of the others started yelling at me to get moving.
I often hear shuffling in that hallway when the lights go into night mode. I figure what I saw that night was the same thing, but they manifested differently because the shuffleboard court was under water. -- Skitzic, Reddit
I worked at this place called The Barn. It literally is an old red barn from the ‘20s and opened as a bar in 1934. Anyways, we had a regular (way before my time), whose name is Frank. He passed away about six or seven years ago. His wife still comes in. He was a huge Captain Morgan drinker and we have his “last bottle” in a shrine/glass box. Frank was known to really dislike rap music, so when we had DJs come in, he would fling glasses straight across the bar. Not just push them, as if he was throwing them. When employees, including myself, would be making a burger in the back he would tell us when to flip them. Often I would be checking an ID, and if the person was underage, I would get always a swift tap on the right shoulder. We knew it was him -- never failed to amaze us though. -- Anonymous, Reddit
Stories have been lightly edited for grammar and clarity. PayScale
Jen Hubley Luckwaldt writes about work-life balance, stress management, and other topics relating to what makes us happy at work. A full-time freelancer, she deals with stress by blurring the lines between life and work to the point where the two spheres are barely separate. The happiest day of her career was when scientists proved that looking at pictures of cute animals makes us more productive.