Last night was the night of ghost hunting at the workplace. In a nutshell, nothing dramatic happened (jokingly, DH asked me to rinse off outside if I got slimed and I stayed dry), but it was fascinating nonetheless. Right off the bat, no pictures just words.
A little background - a month after and ever since we moved into our new digs in November 2003 (our last day in the old office fell on Halloween - no joke), we've had reports of odd sightings of people and emanations. The two incidents that I knew about before last night were - 1.) a month after the move, a self-described psychic who was a fundraising temp staffer in 2003 described that she saw shadows of people counting money. Not unhappy, they were just counting money. 2.) Another fundraising temp staffer a couple of years ago said she saw a thin man in an overcoat walking quickly then turning left into a wall.
Last night I heard about several more stories through the years: a cleaning staffer saw a man in hip boots, dark coat, and scars sitting in a cubicle in the 1st and 3rd floors; the daughter of the facilities manager said to her dad that she was trying to talk to a man in a tall hat on the 1st floor; as the events manager came up the back stairs ran into a gate that opened and slammed shut; the same fundraising temp staffer who saw the overcoat man heard bag rustling and stomping coming from the 1st floor and she was the only person in the building; and a couple movement-from-the-corner-of-the-eye sightings in the old bank vault on the lower level.
So I come to work at 7:30 pm to a dark building, with one of the
On our team of co workers were: the facilities manager (dad of the daughter), director of IT, me, the fundraising temp staffer who saw the overcoat man and heard the stomping on the 1st floor, 3 co workers who were very, very interested (all women, interestingly enough). On the ghost hunting team: 9 members, including a woman who attracts ghosts, and later on, a 10th person, the president of the ghost hunting club back from giving a ghost underground tour of Seattle. (Wow, there is one.)
The ghost hunters all setup behind the reception area. They came with a lot of equipment, IR cameras, EMF detectors, MP3 recorders, digital cameras, and headlights. They and by extension, we, looked like spelunkers. We were split into 4 teams: generally 2 ghost hunters teamed with two of us. I was with the temp staffer who saw the overcoat man (she was a good friend of mine). We were to go to each floor - LL, 1, 2, 3 - and stay for 1 hour in rotation. (It was to keep everybody from hitting the LL and the vault all at once!)
Another of guy ghost hunters set up stationary IR cameras on the straight ways on each floor.
Most of the night, we would walk around the dark corridors of each floor in turn to keep them from getting lost. The IR guy would continuously videotape, every so often the woman ghost hunter would photograph the corridors or cubicles. As they asked questions about the building, we would answer them, and they'd tell us a bit about what they were doing - the IR camera was to identify hot spots, the digital camera with the flash was to identify shadows. Apparently our computers would give spurious readings on EMF detectors so we didn't really use them...but other teams did. We learned that many of the sightings are 'residuals', where an entity doing something re-appears over and over again, like a repeating tape. 'Hauntings' are when you communicate with the entity.
We did a complete walk around of the floor, then we would sit down in a common area and tape. We would ask questions, let them hang in the air. Most of them were open ended - please talk to us, we want to talk to you, why do you stay? I'd ask a couple of questions: sometimes ghosts react to voices that they are familiar with or that are different, so we were encouraged to speak up and ask questions. Then after a bit of taping, we'd play it back. So out of politeness, we mentioned our stomach growlings, or in my case, a rumble a bit further down.
Oddly enough, we heard things on the 2nd floor (where there were no sightings) that sounded like clicking heels. We (meaning our team) didn't really see or hear anything on the LL, nor on the 1st floor. The ghost hunters said for some of these places 4 teams would confuse the ghosts - that they wouldn't know who to communicate with. The 3rd floor we got a little bit in the main conference room. The woman ghost hunter asked me if I had shifted my seat and when I told her no, she told me that she thought she saw movement or a shadow behind me.
On the 1st floor we caught up with another team and the president. It was fascinating hearing the different styles, especially with the questioning. One was a bit more provocative, he would ask questions designed for a response, such as:
Do you know you are dead?
That team sat in the conference room near where we heard the clicking on the second floor. They ran their tape and apparently got a mysterious knock in response to the questioners knock.
After the 4 hour tour, the teams all gathered together. Here's where it got interesting. The women who attracted ghosts could not stay in the vault on the lower level - she sensed a heavy, unfriendly presence, and when she sat in the 3rd floor main conference room her chair vibrated the entire time. Another team, trying to get at the man-with-scars angle, asked about being a fisherman and heard a cat meow. Another smelled a perfume smell in the lower level, in the cubicle next to mine. The hunters noted the 2nd floor issues. The man in the overcoat was hypothesized to be part of the bank. It was noted that the vault was probably at ground level in 1870's Seattle. Fascinating that several entities might be involved, coming from different times and places.
What the ghost hunters wanted was a history of the site, floor plans of the buildings that came before, go through tapes that they got, give us a report. They also want to set up and run an IR camera in the vault and the 2nd floor conference room over a weekend.
I can't say I believe any of this, but I have to respect the equipment, the lore (I hesitate calling it a science) and the know-how. Good people, too...with a very interesting hobby.