Saturday, 12 March 2011


My workplace is haunted, apparently. I don't believe in ghosts or the supernatural. I'm an atheist and a skeptic, I think there's a rational explanation for things that we just haven't worked out yet.

But the caretaker, J, has worked there for years and has a long list of tales. Footsteps behind him in the corridors, and nobody there when he turns around, doors opening and closing by themselves, lights turning themselves back on. Plates sliding across tables by themselves. In one classroom he sees the door open and shut and hears a woman's voice say 'Who are you?' Shadows of children in the gymnasium.

And not just late at night when he's locking up - a few summers ago workmen are in the building, it's about 10.00 in the morning when they all see what looks like a ball of light moving down the stairs. It resolves itself into a woman holding up her long skirts walking downstairs, the door opens by itself and she vanishes. 'What the FUCK was that?' says one of them. The electrician picks up his tools, walks out the school and refuses point blank to come back in.

Another unlucky electrician, working in the loft, runs screaming from the building. When J calms him down, he tells him that he'd turned to see a fireman standing behind him 'as real as you standing in front of me.' 'Alright?' said the electrician. The fireman just smiles at him and fades away. (The school was used as a fire station during WWII.)

Now J is an ex-marine, hard as nails and I don't imagine he's superstitious or given to making things up. And now more of my colleagues have admitted to hearing voices and footsteps and even the head teacher, working late by himself, has seen doors opening and closing themselves.

It is a building with a long history - it used to be the hunting lodge of James I, it housed a fire station in the war, it was bombed (with people in it) and built and rebuilt over the years. I still don't believe in ghosts but this puts you in an interesting position - because I believe my colleagues too, they're all honest people.

And what I want to know is, I've worked there for 6 years, why haven't they come and haunted me?


  1. Oh, I enjoyed that! I love a good ghost story. I don't believe in ghosts either, but quite fancy seeing one to change my mind. It's like Jesus maybe - they only come to those who believe.

  2. I used to work with One Who Knows about these things, and he said ghosts were more like a trapped bit of time – a piece of video endlessly replaying – rather than an actual "spirit" or "person" who can actually do anything.
    Not sure if that makes it any better.
    Nice and spooky though!

  3. I still find ghost stories spooky TB, even though I'm an unbeliever, what's that all about?

    B, I think it is something to do with parallel worlds like Hugh Everett came up with (though they pooh-poohed him at the time) that we don't understand yet. Still spooky though.

  4. A very timely piece in the latest edition of the New Humanist on ghosts ...It's all in the mind apparently!

  5. why haven't they come and haunted me?

    Because they know you don't believe in them.

  6. But if you believe in the Many World hypothesis, do they come back?

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” Philip K Dick.

  7. Steve, I know, it's all rational, & that's always been my stance, but I don't understand why they are hearing footsteps and voices? It's people talking about their experiences independently of each other, not mass hysteria or anything.

    Ian, I think so.

    Tim, it is more than possible that I haven't fully understood the Many Worlds theory. I think it might be something like two parallel world events happening at the same time, like tuning in the radio and getting two frequencies at the same time. But what do I know?

  8. The One Who Knows is a Buddhist medium so I'm not sure where he stands on "many worlds".