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Is Your Office Haunted? 266

WormholeFiend writes "You know Halloween is around the corner when websites like releases a story wondering about the supernatural. From the article: 'Maybe the spirits have decided that spooky mansions and creepy battlefields are passé. Maybe they want to cash in on the glamour of corporate life. Maybe they just wanted the sushi.'" Anyone out there have any encounters with a spiritual Milton?
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Is Your Office Haunted?

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  • The article didn't shed much light on paranormal experience nor did it even lead me to be much more curious. In my opinion it's mostly goofiness.

    However, the article did contain a gem, and delivered as a parting word of wisdom:

    One paranormal investigator in North Carolina, no fan of Microsoft's (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) operating system, says he has had to explain to people "that if you're running Windows, you have a much bigger problem than ghosts.

    Nicely put, and 'nuff said.

  • Yes it is! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    With this crazy looking thing: Jack-o-lantern computer []

    It has a built in motherboard, case fans, dvd burner, internet, wireless keyboard and mouse, the works. Pretty powerful for just being a pumpkin IMO... They even posted the instructions on how to build your own if you are so inclined Heh..
  • by b_sirrobin ( 462195 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @05:48PM (#13910710)
    At my office, some mysterious creature keeps "watering" the floor of the men's restroom. Does that count?
    • Only if you are a Ghost, Zombie, 1st Line tech support or other form of living dead.
      • What if he is an angel, vamipra, 2nd Line tech support or other mythical creature that people claim to know, but will never lead you to?
    • You think that's bad? Somebody keeps drinking the water out of the mug on my desk, even when the cleaner was on holiday and the door was locked. And a web-cam set to record any motion didn't detect anyone or anything!
    • Hahahahahaha! I wish I had mod points. Dunno why but that really tickled me. A mate of mine likes to mark his territory in mens room in a similar fashion.
  • by calvin1981 ( 922478 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @05:49PM (#13910719)
    Here at MIT, we regularly see ghostly figures walking around in distress at 4 in the morning. We call them grad students.
  • I see dead people (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Having worked for many years in London, I have been in more than one haunted office. The most recent was an international bank that built their plush new London offices over what turned out to be an important Roman site (discovered when they dug to create the foundations). Lots of strange things happened in the basement server rooms, ops reporting that they had seen figures even though they were there alone during the night, peoples voices and such like.
    • I invite you to post logged-in again, explain something more and give a link to some photos. With anything supernatural appearing repeatedly in the same spot and timeframe, you have not forgotten to make some photos, do you?
  • Is your office haunted?

    Hmmm..... zombies... sinister whispers... The Boss That Wouldn't Die...

    Seems there's a chance...

  • This doesn't have much to do with the truly paranormal, but it does have to do with office Halloween tricks that go severely wrong.

    At a firm I once worked at we had a jokestress named Maria. She was pretty good natured, and every Halloween she's pull some sort of a prank. Usually they were quite benign, such as a plastic skull in the coffee container, or some such.

    However, one Halloween she decided to go a bit further than usual. She thought it would be entertaining to dress the photocopier up as a Hawaiian
    • At a past job one of the engineers pulled a number of pranks on the other unsuspecting victims. In on persons cube he taped an outline as if a dead body had been laying in the cube. The next day the victim laughed and pulled the tape up. The next day the outline was back. But this time the prankster took a razor blade and cut the tape in 1/8 inch segments along the entire outline of the dead body. It took better than a week for the victim to pull up the tape from the outline. But then the spooky thing
    • by winwar ( 114053 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @08:51PM (#13911728)
      "Jim, who was one of the systems administrators able to fix copier problems, thought he could get it unjammed. So he opened the side panel of the machine to work on it, but apparently forgot to turn the power off. The paper feed mechanism somehow caught onto his tie, and started pulling him in."

      Of course I'm wondering why Maria was the only one dismissed....
    • "
      At a firm I once worked at we had a jokestress named Maria."

      Let me guess, it was hard getting the toner out of your hair?


      But that's sad that she was fired over a malfunctioning decoration in an attempt to boost morale. Hopefully there was a better reason than that for her dismissal.
  • by russiste ( 180524 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @06:01PM (#13910787) Homepage
    Shameless plug... if you're under the impression that your neighborhood is weird or that your house creaks only on satanic holidays, check out this map of haunted places [] to double-check that you've chosen the right place to live.

    Happy halloween...

  • (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Fjornir ( 516960 )
    I'm a little bit surprised that no one has mentioned yet -- but my understanding is that their headquarters is haunted by a number of spectres. For those who are unfamiliar with the building it's a remodeled hospital that was built back in the '30s. The most common 'sighting' sounds a lot like a "who farted" kind of joke. One of the elevators, apparently, will fill with an unbearable stench -- some riders have been known to nearly vomit when they smell it -- while others are unable to smell it at
    • Are there any tours available through their HQ? I mean, a repeatable supernatural phenomenon will draw in thousands of visitors, let alone bring you Randi's million bucks. So where's a link and a photo? :)
    • "One of the elevators, apparently, will fill with an unbearable stench -- some riders have been known to nearly vomit when they smell it -- while others are unable to smell it at all."

      Last week I took my girlfriend down to the Queen Mary docked in Long Beach, California. This ship is supposed to be haunted, but nobody can really tell these days since it's full of tourists all the time now. We both had an experience fairly similar to the one you described. When I boarded the ship, I detected a strong odor
      • (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GooseKirk ( 60689 )
        I took my girlfriend to the Queen Mary a few years ago - and man, I don't understand why it's not more popular. We had a fantastic time, and the ship is amazing. I think I paid something like $70/night. I can't recommend it enough.

        We spent some time at night wandering around the ship, looking for unlocked doors and just trying to explore as much as possible. Pretty cool girlfriend, I have to say. The big ballrooms are kind of spooky at night. Somewhere deep in the ship, I passed by what looked like some kin
        • Oh.. ouch, wish I had talked to you before. The pool and the engine room was where we wanted to visit, but now they've got some dumb ass 'ghost experience' attraction there. Was that there when you visited? Just curious if they're permenantly blocked off.

          • (Score:3, Informative)

            by GooseKirk ( 60689 )
            Yeah, the ghost attraction thing was there. We didn't do that, but the process of getting to the pool area took us through a bunch of hallways that are part of the ghost attraction. Lots of "spooky" fake cobwebs and such. I dunno, I heard it's actually kinda fun, but we didn't feel like going. Well, officially, anyway. From what I could see in the dark, the pool area doesn't look like it's been significantly messed up. I think they discreetly installed eerie lighting and so on, but it's not like they just r
  • Major mood disorders that may include positive psychotic symptoms (EG manic depression type one, schizoaffective bipolar type, various schizophrenia subtypes) also include insomnia or nocturnal circadium rhythms for those afflicted with one of these diseases. Therefore, crazy people have an edge over everyone else in learning computers over their years as they are awake often when everyone else is asleep and without distraction or anything else to do than mess with the computer. The sleep abnormality may st
  • Its the spectre of open source.

    All the powers of unix are pressed into struggle to exorcise this spectre: GNU and BSD; Apple and Linux; hackers and crackers; script kiddies and my grandmother who can't even use an aol client and wishes she could have her old typewriter back.

    Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as open source by its opponents in Richmond?

    It is high time that open source advocates openly publish their views and their aims and meet this nursery tale of open so
  • by st0rmshad0w ( 412661 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @06:20PM (#13910898)
    You know you can turn that "Clippy" guy off right?
    • Ha!
      Oddly enough, that didn't work for me.
      The haunting noises only went away after I set the windows sound scheme to "No Sounds"
      But that still doesn't stop this loud beep that my computer makes every now and then. Creepy right?
      • My g/f's laptop makes some bizarre screeching noise every now and then for no appearant reason, and it isnt drive failure or other hardware stuff. What's worse is it happens under every OS that's put on it!
  • I can't imagine a much worse fate then having to hang out at work forever after I die.
  • I used to work.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by st0rmshad0w ( 412661 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @06:23PM (#13910918) a train station that was a waypoint for moving the dead in the American Civil War, as well as being the site of a new bride's suicide. At night. Graveyard shift. Still creeps me out.
    • Re:I used to work.. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Koil ( 786141 )
      Now that actually sounds kinda cool...

      I was watching the Bravo channel last night, and they were running down the list of 100 best scary movie etc....there were some real gems in there that I need to go back and check out.

      Back to the point of your post is that I normally don't get "freaked out" by movies...I'll occasionally get the jump kinda reaction , but never really the scared feeling until I was about 25 or I can freak myself out if I just think about a certain fear for too long...

      My biggest
  • It was when I worked one summer at Bucsh Gardens in Tampa. I looked for the ghost and couldn't find it and asked alot of employees about it.

    Rumor has it that Crown Colony house is haunted with a little girl who choked on some chicken a few decades ago on the third floor. She can be seen towards halloween waving to guests and is occionsally reported by employees at other times of the year.

    I asked about this from people who worked at the Crown Colony house and results were mixed. More likely rumors but one se
    • Dude, I've been to busch gardens, and it was just me. I can make myself invisble thru my mind powers. I sneak in at nite, scarf all the free beer, then pass out on the bench. When I sleep, my subconcious has trouble staying invisible, and I kinda fade in and out from view. But as soon as someone comes near, I start to wake up, make myself invisible again, and hence, fade from view. (then I go back to my usual home, at the sorrority house).

      Hope this clears things up! Sorry to cause any trouble!
  • There's no need to sue anybody if you have a haunted house. In fact, I'd love to buy a house that was actually haunted. That way I could win the million dollar prize [].
  • We think it is. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by evilnissan ( 727313 )
    Our office is in a old train station / depot..

    I have been working the night shift on and off for the past four years here and most of the time it just seems like a empty building.. But every once in a while you can look out the window of the computer room in to the hallway and see a shadow pass and no one here out there or even in the building..

    I have walked down the hallway and had cold chills run up my back. The wost spot is when your in the bathroom and you can here doors out in the hallway open in shut
  • by app13b0y ( 767720 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @07:19PM (#13911239)
    (Bob is a analyst at a security operations center for an ISP. He sent me this email and I decided I'd pass it on to you guys for review. Is this even possible? I'm not sure, but it sure did freak Bob out. He can't bring himself to go back to the SOC anymore, and he's looking for telecommuting jobs on Monster. --Alice)

    I know you're gonna think I'm crazy but you're the only one I can think who would possibly listen to what I'm about to say without immediately dismissing it. Please, read my whole account of what happened to me tonight before writing me off.

    I went into work last night for the graveyard shift. Yeah, graveyard shift on Halloween, haha. We'd just ramped up to 24/7 ops the previous week so this was going to be my first night alone in the SOC. I was pretty excited at first, since I wouldn't have any of these other knuckleheads in my hair while I was doing some hard core analysis, you know? I logged into my station, started some queries for deltas in the previous 24, and went to get some coffee, since it was going to be a long night.

    Little did I know...

    After returning to the SOC with my joe, Carol gave me the briefing on the days events (in a nutshell, nothing - apparently all the s'kiddies were gearing up for Trick or Treating and not harassing us). She did mention something that didn't show up in any of the reports though - a general "weirdness" to the traffic in the DMZ. She couldn't really qualify it, but she said she though something kind of odd was going on. Okay Carol, I'll keep my eyes open (as I roll them back into my head). She punched out and I was all alone.

    Or was I?

    I threw some tunes on WinAmp and started to rock out while pouring over the output of my earlier queries. My attempts at scripting up some rudimentary anomaly detection in our aggregation console appeared to be woefully inadequate or simply functioning properly with a dearth of anomalies when I saw it.

    A new host in the DMZ.

    A host which had apparently come up at midnight local, October 31st. Who the hell stands up a box in the DMZ at *midnight* on a Saturday night? It had to be the mouth-breathers in development relying on the assumption that no one would be monitoring the network over the weekend. Heh, nice try chumps, but you've just tweaked the wrong BOFH. To cover my bases, I looked up the latest network diagrams for the DMZ. Just as I thought, nothing authorized or even submitted regarding a new box in the DMZ. Finally, after months of slaving away over reports I was going to get to demand someone take a box down. I could feel the power coursing through my fingertips as I began to compose the flame to end all flames.

    "Dear clownboats,"

    I hesitated. What would they come back with? I needed more ammunition to stave off a possible counteroffensive. I decide to scan the box, to see how much risk these "developers" were actually exposing my DMZ to. A quick nmap returned results the likes of which I had not seen since my days at that dot bomb in Sunnyvale.

    "Remote operating system guess: Linux 2.0.35-37"




    Two-oh? Was this some sort of prank? These guys are dullards to be sure, but no one is this stupid. It's gotta be some sort of security through ob-fu or something. I had to know. Telnetting quickly confirmed my worst fears.

    Connected to
    Escape character is '^]'.

    Red Hat Linux release 5.2 (Apollo)
    Kernel 2.0.36 on an i486

    I stared, dumfounded, at the prompt's ever-blinking cursor. I tried to wrap my head around what I was seeing. Red Hat FIVE DOT FSKING TWO? Even if this was a honeypot, this was ridiculous. What were they trying to do, find out which kiddie has the oldest sploits?

    I did what any sane security professional would do in my situation.

    I typed "root".

    The box retorted with "Password:"

    I reiterated, "root".

    [root@zion root]#

    A chill crept out of my keyboard and up my spine as I realized that
  • My company's HQ is an old VA's hospital. I don't work in that particular building, but I've heard the 'older' side of the building haunted. The building has a 'main' portion and a newer front that was built onto in part to hold the older part up and give it structural re-enforcement.

    One of the floors was apparently for ... the crazy people. Doors are apparently thicker than all the other floors. I've never spent enough time in the building to investigate that however.

    Perhaps I should go visit there... t
  • Yes it is (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ack_call ( 870944 )
    The building where I work is located on a site that is known as Gallows Hill. Hangings used to take place there many, many years ago. There have been reports from cleaners stating that whilst cleaning the building at night when the offices are mainly empty; a cleaner has had her feather duster removed form her hand by an unseen force and she has been repeatedly beaten round the face with it. Another report was from a cleaner who whilst cleaning the toilets was confronted by a man with a bloodied face - s
  • My workplace is haunted by the evil spirit of my alive boss.
  • So, here are the things that bug me about the lawfirm where my company is contracted to work. This building used to be a federal courthouse and post office. It is very old and the cracked wood around the windows whistles with the wind. There are crawlspaces between the floors for the old postmaster to use, and in the basement are old holding cells, boiler (heater), coal chute, and other funky stuff. To boot, the server room is an old magistrate office, and the servers are in the "closet", which was a ho
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @07:44PM (#13911378) Homepage Journal
    I've had a couple of 'spooky' occurances at my previous job. I was often the last one to leave, so it was up to me to turn out all the lights and lock up. There was a spot in the hallway where if I came around the corner at the right speed, I'd see the outline of a human figure for a brief moment. The weird thing was, I could almost recognize the form. Somehow I recognized it as a coworker that had left the company long before that! I hadn't been in touch with him for over a year. Was he coming back to tell me something? Well, at least he was smiling, just as I always remembered him.

    Another night ... same thing, doing my rounds, turning out the lights. Then I noticed the building across the street. There was a figure in the window that was standing perfectly still. I could barely see it, but I could definitely see its eyes. It freaked me out. This was in downtown Portland. This is an area of town full of 'historic' buildings, including the one I was working in. Was some spectre looming around? Well, it was easy to believe that considering it was night time and nobody else was about. Very creepy.

    Welp, now for the anti-climactic bit. Niether were ghosts. The outline of a figure I saw? Trick of the eye. That corner had some boxes and loose stuff piled up. Looking straight on at the pile, it didn't look anything remotely like my coworker. I think what happened was a trick of my peripheral vision. As most of you know, the outer areas of human eyes are keen on detecting motion more than they are with recognizing images. Can't claim to be an expert on the topic, but I think the human brain is constantly looking to recongize patterns, and when it finds one that seems to be relevent, it fills in the blanks. Hence, I saw my coworker. If anybody's curious, he's alive and well.

    I suppose I could go into a little more detail about my theory here. There's a technique called 'EVP'. It's used to record the voices of ghosts. If you ever get bored one night, do a search for EVP and find some samples. It isn't definitive proof of the existance of ghosts, but at the very least it's a fun way to kill an evening. (usually there are stories attached to these sounds...) I visited a site once that had a number of EVP samples. Unfortunately, ghost speech isn't terribly easy to make out. Though it does sound human, it's barely more than garbled garbage. What they did was they presented a sound and said "first you listen to it and then try to work out what it's saying, then click on this link to see suggestions of what people think they've heard." The reason they do this is to prevent you from being 'suggested' into believing what you're hearing. After listening to a bit, I worked out why. The sound file downloaded and looped over and over again. I couldn't make it out. Then I read the first suggestion. Suddenly, I was hearing it! Neat! Then I read the second suggestion. And.. wait.. now I'm hearing that one. They were two very different sentences. As a matter of fact, I thought I could hear a different inflection in the words used by the 'ghost' that time around! It was the same sound looping over and over again, but now it was sounding different. Okay, I took the scenic route to this point, but I think what I was hearing was not the sound directly, but my perception of the sound. My brain thought it heard a particular sentence, so that's exactly what made it into my conscience mind. I think the sight of my coworker was a similar phenomenon.

    And the figure across the street? Somebody with an odd sense of humor. It's a cardboard cutout. For whatever reason, they put it up against the window on the 3rd story of the building. The light was dim enough that it was very tough to make out, but the next day I was able to see it quite clearly. I mentioned seeing his eyes. It felt like they were following me almost. Again, trick of the eye.

    I don't know what I think about ghosts. I can't say I firmly believe they exist, I can't say they don'
  • A programmer I used to work with told me about a weird experience he had while working for an old bank in a small town in southern Oregon. One evening he was working late, when he noticed the sound of someone typing on a typewriter. It was muffled as if coming from in another room, and kind of slow, like someone who doesn't type very well and uses one finger.

    After a while he got up for a stretch, and when he walked around the office he noticed everybody else had gone home. When he went back to his desk he h
  • Portland courthouse (Score:3, Interesting)

    by serutan ( 259622 ) <snoopdoug AT geekazon DOT com> on Sunday October 30, 2005 @08:18PM (#13911547) Homepage
    A woman I know used to do a lot of security jobs. When she was working for the City of Portland there were lots of rumors that the courthouse was haunted. The upper floors were spooky at night, and nobody particularly liked working the late shift there. One night one of their security guards was making his rounds when he saw someone in a sort of hooded robe standing at the far end of a hallway, apparently messing with a door as if trying to unlock it. The guard said something to challenge the person, when the figure suddenly rushed down the hall at him as if flying. He braced himself to get tackled, but whatever it was either went by him or through him, and when he turned to give chase there was nobody there. No sounds of fleeing footsteps, no doors opening and closing, nothing.

    The other thing is that this guy was a real veteran security guard who had worked there for many years, very level-headed and dependable. But that night he left the building and went home without even clocking out, then called in to say that he was quitting and never going back. He wouldn't even report to the building during the daytime to turn in his keys and other stuff. His supervisor had to go to his house and pick them up.
  • Hickam AFB (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cerebus ( 10185 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @08:33PM (#13911619) Homepage
    Many of the buildings at Hickam AFB in Honolulu still have the spalling from the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The PACAF NOSC is (was) in one of these buildings. I was told while I was there that in the room the NOSC occupied 6 men lost their lives during the attack. Allegedly there were sightings after hours of these men.

    Even if it isn't spooky it's certainly both sobering and historic.
  • Of course they want corporate life. They're discorporate now and they don't like it.

    (Hint: look up the definitions of "corporate".)
  • Actually - YES! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GooseKirk ( 60689 ) <[goosekirk] [at] []> on Sunday October 30, 2005 @08:49PM (#13911716) Homepage
    My former office [] was an old Victorian house on a bluff overlooking the waterfront. It was originally built by the mayor of my town, and for twenty years it was the best restaurant in town. The woman who owned my company bought the building, and she had me oversee the extensive renovations to make it into an office. Great work if you can get it. I loved this building. I even got to pick out my own office (naturally, I got a water view - not bad for being the IT geek).

    But everyone in town "knew" the house was haunted. I talked to several people who used to work there when it was a restaurant, and one of my friends actually lived in the upstairs part for several months. He told me that one night, he heard a loud crash from the kitchen area downstairs. He started to go down the stairs to investigate, and heard a series of identical smashing noises. When he got to the kitchen, a box of fluorescent bulbs had been opened and smashed all over the place. He said he sometimes heard strange noises and often felt uncomfortable there.

    A former waitress told me that several times, she would set down a tray of dishes in one place, turn around, and then when she turned back it would be moved. The former owners told me all kinds of similar ghost stories. Every Halloween the local paper mentions the building as being the most haunted place in town.

    One day, a van full of soldiers on leave from a nearby base pulled up. Apparently, they'd seen my office on some TV show about haunted houses, and had come to check it out. I gave 'em the full tour. One woman, as soon as she set foot upstairs, turned around and went outside to wait in the van. Freaked her out, I guess.

    Now, geek that I am, I was always the last person to leave the building at night. And very often, I stayed until the wee hours, all alone in the building. And not a damn thing ever happened. No weird sounds, no smashing bulbs, absolutely nothing.

    Although I had to admit... I didn't mind going into the scary old basement when I was alone at night, but going upstairs at night used to freak me out something fierce. Dunno why, it was beautiful and well-lit, but damn, it was just creepy. Daytime wasn't so bad, but at night - forget it.

    One night, someone forgot to close a back door properly, and the alarm went off late at night. I showed up to deal with the cops. Since a door was open, they insisted on checking out the building. The cop knew the reputation of the building and was a little spooked himself. When we got upstairs he really got nervous - he told me that he just didn't like it up there. He couldn't believe that I'd work in such a spooky place late at night by myself. I'm like, you're a COP. Which of our jobs is more dangerous?

    I like to think that we did such a good job restoring the house that the ghosts took off. Or maybe I scared the ghosts off. Who knows. I'm still a little disappointed, though, that nothing ever happened while I was there. I figured if there were strange things going on all the time, I'd set up a bunch of webcams and such... but nope.

    Oh yeah, later, I found out that one of the previous owners had passed away in one of the upstairs bedrooms. On the other hand, the first owner died when he fell down the basement steps, and the basement, aside from just being a spooky old basement and crawling with spiders as big as your hand, wasn't nearly as ooky as the upstairs. So go figure.
  • Why, yes, it is... by my boss.
  • Yes, by specters of intelligence dead and gone, by the skulking shades of competence from days past, by the ghosts of genius too faded and faint to make themselves heard any more...
  • There's a local nursing home which is supposedly haunted. I've never been there, but know someone that works there, and it positively creeps him out.

    It's an older building, one of the first hospitals in the area. It's now a nursing home (as already stated). It's got three wings: the main wing, south wing, and west wing, forming an L shape. The whole building (being a nursing home) has had the doors and windows wired to detect escapees.

    The west wing is permanantly closed off. It's been like this for about 10
  • There are a few people here who strike me as the type that would create a haunted work place.

    Back when I was in my 20's, one of my research jobs was at Colo. States Anatomy Dept. Next to my lab was the human lab. At the time, the cadavers were stored in 2 portable cadaver coolers that had been used for body transportation from Viet Nam. That is each cooler had had some odd 20K bodies come through it (including several guys that I grew up with).

    Not a big deal, but behind back, when I was at my desk, was a
  • by raddan ( 519638 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @09:51PM (#13912000)
    Forbes has the offices one floor below us. Sheesh, I guess that's what I get for stopping by on a Sunday.
  • Yes! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 30, 2005 @10:28PM (#13912131)
    We have a regular instance of paranormal activty. Often in the morning, I'll start a pot of coffee and come back to get a cup later. Sometimes, when I come back, all the coffee is gone leaving just an empty pot and a faint chill in the air. The scary part is that I ask around: nobody took the last cup! Spooky indeed.
  • Swamp ghost (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chrisatslashdot ( 221127 ) <spamforchris AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday October 30, 2005 @10:46PM (#13912214)
    I grew up near a small southern town of Mercer, TN []. There was an old rail road bed that ran through a swampy bottom that looked like something straight out of a horror movie. The story goes that there once was a kid named Toby that was walking down the railroad one night with a lantern and got stuck on a bridge with a train coming. He was killed by the train. Until a few years ago you could drive into the swamp a couple of miles, turn around to face the way you came in, wait, and a bright point of light would appear down the road in the distance.

    This strange light was only know about by a few hunters in the area until around my high-school years. Then a small group of my friends and I found out and would visit the place a few times each year. The word spread and it became a bit of an attraction and even became part of an initiation ceremony for a fraternity at a nearby college. Several of our parents even saw it. This was all in the 90's. Since then the area has been logged and the road has been blocked off.

    I personally saw the light several times. And I know about 2-dozen more that have seen, youths, adults, professionals, a youth pastor, etc. I am a mechanical engineer so I have studied physics and thermodynamics and have a pretty good grasp on the physical phenomena that might have caused this. I have also studies various "swamp light" phenomena. But I cannot find a plausible explanation for what I saw. I'm not saying that the light was supernatural but I am saying that it is very difficult to explain. For example, I have seen:
    • the light move further away when being chased at 40 mph
    • the light appear between observers deep in the swamp and nearer to the edge with the only access being to pass one of the observers
    • the light sway side to side
    • the light illuminate the inside of a vehicle
    • all observers (4-15 people) in a group see the light and scream simultaneously

    Seeing the light was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I hate that the area was destroyed by logging. Even on nights when we didn't see the light we could still scare the crap out of each other just because of the surroundings.
  • My Experience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bLanark ( 123342 ) * on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:27AM (#13914368)
    This didn't happen in my day job office, but a "place of work" of another kind. My wife was chair of a local charity, which is a toy library - it lends toys instead of books. They had wangled a total refurb of their premises from a local firm, who do a project for charity each year. This year, it was our turn, and all we had to do was to clear out all the toys and old shelves to give these guys space to build and paint.

    The library has three interconnecting rooms in a shared-use building, all charities. The old shelves were metal, and I went down one night to dismantle them. Just before I left, my wife told me that the place used to be a funeral parlour. Sure enough, one room had metal-lined walls, and there were two enormous metal-lined doors lying in a back corridor.

    It was November, the raid was dripping all around, and the heating system was making very strange noises. Very spooky. The shelves were held together by square bolts, so I had to use an adjustable spanner. I soon got into the groove, and had an efficient system for dismantling the shelves. I'd work with the shelves upside down, and the metal shelves would form a tray that I'd keep my tools in.

    So, it's night, spooky noises, dull lighting, no music, and my thoughts turn to the fact this used to be a funeral parlour. Then, I get a big suprise: the spanner, which was set to the correct size for the square nuts, was fully open - about 25 mm instead of 10.

    Lots of silly thoughts went through my mind, especially curious ghosts examining my tools. I checked where my car keys were, mentally planned my exit route, and, a little spooked, I carried on working.

    All was fine for about five minutes, until the spanner didn't fit again - and this time, it was fully closed! I was so, so close to legging it, but I told myself that there was no such thing as ghosts, that any tortured spirits would haunt their homes and not the funeral parlour they lay for a few days. So, I stuck it out, although I was very "observant" from then on.

    An accident as I packed up provided an explanation. I stepped over a toolbox, and landed on the adjustable spanner. It slid forward and the little adjusting wheel moved - closing the spanner jaws. When I'd been working on the shelves, sometimes my spanner would slide along the shelf, and it must have closed on one occassion, and opened on the other one.

    I'm so glad that I didn't run out of there in fear, especially after the spanner moved for the second time. I kept telling myself that there is always a logical explanation for all events, and it turned out that there was!

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