Category Archives: Ghosts & Hauntings

Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland

BY TONY HARRINGTON

Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland as a child who was interested in history was an awesome experience.  The city was brimming with historical landmarks that were rich with stories of our nations past.  From Edgar Alan Poe’s home and burial spot, to the history of Johns-Hopkins Hospital, from the final docking spot of the U.S.S. Constellation to the historic Fort McHenry there was plenty of stories to go around.

Hiding behind the stories told by tour guides during the day at some of the locations were darker stories that were whispered from the lips of employees and visitors that told of strange goings-on in these incredible institutions.

Among the many sites rumored to be haunted in Baltimore, perhaps the most famous is Fort McHenry.

Construction on the fort as we know it today was completed in 1798 by French architect Jean Foncin. The fort was named after the Secretary of War serving under President George Washington, James McHenry. Fort McHenry was completed after America won its independence from Britain and was designed to secure the port of Baltimore from attack.

The Fort stands on the Locust Point peninsula that sticks out into the harbor. The design is a classic 5-star shape surrounded by a dry moat.

Shortly after completion the War of 1812 came to the Port of Baltimore as British ships tried to enter the harbor. The battle raged for 25 hours beginning on September 13, 1814 at six a.m. and ending on the morning of September 14, 1814.

During the bombardment on the Fort a young lawyer who had come to Baltimore to negotiate the release of a political prisoner of war was so moved by the attack and the sight of a flag sewn by a local seamstress Mary Pickersgill which remained standing during the attack that he penned a poem called “The Defense of Fort McHenry.”  That lawyer was Francis Scott Key and the poem he penned would later become the National Anthem of the United States and re-titled “The Star Spangled Banner”.

During the attack on the fort 4 people lost their lives including a black soldier and an unfortunate woman who was cleaved in half by a bomb as she carried supplies to the soldiers on the battle front. Additionally 24 soldiers were wounded during the attack.

During the Civil-War the fort served as a prison for confederate prisoners as well as a myriad of public political figures who were accused of being confederate sympathizers. There were deaths reported during this phase.

Fort McHenry went on to serve as an enormous hospital for troops returning from the battlefront of World War I. Several lives were lost at the fort during this time.

The history of the fort coupled with the tragic loss of life witnessed within its walls and within the harbor just beyond have led to rumors that there is something not at rest on the grounds. Visitors report a sense of dread, the feeling of being watched, and the sensation of movement around them when no one else is nearby.

Docents who work at the fort recounting history to tour groups remain tight-lipped about their experiences during the day, but secretly admit to experiencing paranormal phenomenon that defies logical explanation. One worker who tells stories from the prison cells to passers-by during the well it hours of day recalls a time when someone prevented his evening departure when the last of the tour groups had made their way through.

This particular worker had always felt as if he was not alone in the prison cell that he occupied during the day. In order to humor himself and provide some comfort he took to calling his invisible friend “George”, assuming it was the ghost of former Baltimore Mayor George William Brown who was a political prisoner at the fort during the civil war era. Each night before the worker would leave his post and head for home he would wish George a goodnight. One particular evening the worker failed to bid his ghostly friend adieu and the worker claims that as he pulled the cell door open to exit it felt as if someone had slammed the door closed.

He tried once again to make an exit and once more the door was ripped from his grasp and slammed closed forcefully. It was then that the docent felt someone push him away from the exit and further back into the cell. The employee was terrified, but realizing his departure from his standard parting salutation he cried out, “Goodnight George!”

The cell door creaked open slowly and the worker was permitted to leave the cell without further incident.

Many visitors to Fort McHenry report seeing the figure of a black male with a rifle resting on his shoulder as he paces back on forth seemingly on patrol. Many believe it is the spirit of the only black man to lose his life in the bombardment on the fort during the War of 1812.

Workers and visitors alike have also reported shadow figures, the smell of gunpowder, the sound of crying, and drums being played in the distance.  Allegedly, a malevolent energy haunts the interior halls of the fort that has attacked and/or frightened workers at the fort.

Regardless of the paranormal activity, Fort McHenry is an incredible place to visit where one can reflect on the birth of a nation, the origin of the Star Spangled Banner, or simply enjoy a picnic lunch on the very grounds where once a battle raged between the British and the Americans for the Port of Baltimore.

For more information of Fort McHenry, please visit the official website of National Parks Services.

Hearing Voices (Hypnagogic Hallucination)

“Have you been half-asleep? And have you heard voices? I heard them calling my name” -Kermit the Frog

The other night I posted the above quote from the Paul William’s penned song which was featured prominently in the original “The Muppet Movie” as well as the new movie “The Muppets”. I left the last part off and ended it with “And have you heard voices?”

The replies to the post ranged from people who got the reference to those who assumed I was being mysterious, or had mental issues. Others assumed I was talking about a very real phenomenon that some see as paranormal in nature.

When discussing this at work this morning, several people shared stories with me about them being jolted awake by the sound of someone calling their name.

It has happened to me, I freely admit. In fact, the phenomenon is so real and so convincing, that when it does happen I often bolt upright in bed and yell out, “WHAT?!” much to the chagrin of any one who would happen to be next to me.

The event occurred frequently in my late teen years and subsided as I got older. Still, every now and then it returns.

Additionally, in my case at least, it is not always just hearing someone scream my name, but I can actually hear conversations, like someone talking, not necessarily to me, but carrying on the most mundane of conversations with someone. Sometimes it is clear as day, other times it is muted, but still rather unsettling.

For those that experience this phenomenon, it is off-putting but fascinating at the same time. It can be scary, disorienting, and downright confusing. But is it truly paranormal in nature?

Science has a way of trying to explain away the paranormal and the paranormal field is often at odds with such explanations. In true science/medical fashion, scientists and doctors believe that the experience is a very real thing and in fact is so common that it is considered abnormal to NOT experience it.

The scientific name given to the phenomenon is Hypnagogia. The term is rather broad and in actuality describes the stage of transitioning between somnolence and sleep and vice-versa. During this transitional phase, it is common to experience a wide array of sleep-related phenomena, such as “Old Hag Syndrome” and “Out of Body Experiences”

The actual term and subsequent explanations is fairly recent. It was coined and classified in 1983 by Dr. Andreas Mavromatis as a collective noun…so the auditory disturbances we are experiencing falls under the category of Hypnagogia but is more akin to “Sensory Phenomena”. Included in “Sensory Phenomena” is seeing bursts of light from behind closed eyes, odd geometric patterns when staring into the darkness, and even audible disturbances such as hearing odd or nonsensical conversations, bangs or loud explosions (Exploding head syndrome).

Such scientific explanations are mostly based on theory and not fact. Sleep studies continue to be conducted to find out what happens when we enter a different state of consciousness. The human brain is a fascinating maze of untapped regions, synapses, and electrical impulses. Perhaps in all the functions it controls day in and day out…just maybe…it also acts as a receptor to messages from those who have stayed behind long after shuffling off their mortal coil.

Or, the voices and visions we encounter during the transition between the world of sleep and awake can simply be explained away as a misfire in the central processing unit of our very being.

So the question remains…have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?

Share your stories with us in the comments section below.

See also: Old Hag aka Sleep Paralysis

The USS Constellation (Baltimore, MD)

Permanently docked in Baltimore’s “Inner Harbor” at the famous Pier 1, the USS Constellation stands regally amidst a booming tourist destination. She has been returned to her former splendor thanks in part to a restoration effort that spanned over three years, an effort that replaced nearly every square inch of the ships surface with new wood, paint, and fixtures.

There is little of the original ship remaining but it is still indeed the very same ship that served the country from the Civil War to the cessation of World War II in many capacities, from full-fledged battle ship to serving in a diplomatic fashion as a flagship of the USN African Squadron whose duty it was to intercept vessels partaking in the slave-trade.

The ship’s construction was completed in 1854 as a sloop-of-war and named The USS Constellation, a name which would ultimately lead to historical identity confusion in the 1990’s when repairs began on the vessel restoring it to a frigate ship instead of a sloop-of-war. The Frigate Constellation, the ship from which the sloop-of-war took its name, was never struck from the Naval Vessel Register. To this day there seems to be some confusion as to whether the ship in the harbor is a rebuilt sloop or frigate.

Regardless, the storied past of the ship is what lends credence to the claims of paranormal activity.

A vessel can’t simply shrug off its past. From the civil war to WWII the ship served many roles and in its time on the sea it was host to many horrors. Of course, some stories are legend and don’t have a lot of records to back up the claims.

One of the stories revolves around a ship-hand tried for and found guilty of treason. He was tied to the front of one of the cannons on the ship and the cannon were fired, literally blowing the man apart and sending him to a watery grave.

During reconstruction efforts while the ship was dry-docked at the haunted Fort McHenry, crew reported the sensation of being watched, seeing an apparition of a man dressed in Civil War era dress, while others reported hearing crying followed by the sound of cannon fire. Could the ghost of the treasonous sailor be playing out his horrific ordeal time and again?

Another atrocity aboard the ship is the undocumented death of a young boy who was serving as a powder-monkey. Allegedly the young boy was attacked and killed within the bowels of the ship and to this day, visitors claim to hear a young boy screaming followed by the sounds of a struggle as the child is forced to play out his untimely and violent death over and over.

A very friendly ghost, thought to be that of a former captain of the vessel has allegedly given full-fledged tours of his ship to unsuspecting visitors who thought they were being entertained by a docent. Turns out their docent had the distinction of actually having served on the ship, over 100 years ago.

The ship, docked at the Inner Harbor can be boarded and toured for a small fee and during the Halloween season, if you are brave enough, board the ship for an entertaining haunted attraction but don’t be surprised if the ghosts you encounter are not actors playing a role, but the spirits of those who served and lost their lives aboard the USS Constellation.

For more in-depth historical information on the Constellation, and other historic ships docked in Baltimore, or to plan your trip to walk the ship in real life, please visit http://www.historicships.org/.

“Old Hag” aka Sleep Paralysis

“Old Hag” is a natural, although quite disturbing, phenomenon in which a waking individual is caught in a sort of half sleep-half waking state.  While in this state, the person is able to consciously think, but since the body has not yet received the signal from the brain that you are awake, you are physically nonfunctional or barely functional.  Symptoms of Old Hag include hearing footsteps, seeing a presence (in the past, because of people’s fear of “witches”, this was often an old woman, from which the name derives), and a feeling of not being able to breathe or move.

From the alt.dreams FAQ, maintained by Olaf Titz (olaf@bigred.ka. sub.org):

“3.1. What causes sleep paralysis?
“A. Conventional wisdom: REM atonia is a normal function of the body. The muscles that move the body are “turned off” during REM sleep, which prevents you from acting out dreamed actions in reality. Non-REM sleep paralysis after waking up (“old hag”) is caused by a failure to re-activate the muscles immediately. Normally this condition lasts only a few seconds, but sometimes it can go for a minute, which causes a very scary feeling. You are damn sure you’re awake now but you can’t move. This is extremely unpleasant but at least not dangerous.”

Here is a typical Old Hag experience. This was posted on the USENET newsgroup alt.folklore.ghost-stories in the 1990s.

From: bwallace@epix.net (Penny)

“… I turned out the light and settled down to go to sleep. As I was lying in bed thinking, I became aware of a rustling sound emanating from the turret. I focused on the sound, trying to determine its origins. A breeze over papers? A mouse? As soon as I dismissed these possibilities the rustling sound stopped and was replaced by the sound of stealthy, shuffling footsteps that were headed in my direction. The sense of a presence was suddenly so strong that it filled the room. I was terrified. The critical detail here is that I clearly remember pulling the blanket over my head (I was lying on my back.) The next thing I knew I was paralyzed–I couldn’t move a finger. The footsteps continued their approach and the next thing I knew, a tremendous weight settled on my chest, forcing me into the mattress. I felt that there was a menacing presence. […] It was nasty! The intense, dreadful weight continued to press down on me, almost like a large animal settling itself on my body. I thought I would go through the mattress. I knew that I was awake, I was not dreaming, and that something evil was in the room with me. Somehow, my childhood years of Sunday School paid off and I prayed to be released. In that instant, it was over.”

Next time you read a book of true ghostly accounts, keep the old hag phenomenon in mind. Most likely you will find a few classic old hag experiences (especially by authors who are unaware of the phenomenon) which the victim assumed were paranormal.

An amusing incident from a reader:

Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 14:58:04 +0000
From: “Mr. Lamb” (brlamb@zeus.kern.org)
To: obiwan@ghosts.org
Subject: “old hag” theory

I have been reading the stories at your site for a few weeks now and I will be posting my own very true very scary tale soon. But first I’d like to ad my own theory or explanation of “old hag”.

A female neighbor of mine would often complain to her husband that several nights a week she would awake with the sensation of being smothered. She claimed that it felt like someone laying across her body, at once pinning her down and forcing the air from her lungs. She said during these episodes she felt panicked and paralized. She was convinced that their bedroom was “haunted” Her husband finally grew tired of listening to her complaints and forced her to get a complete physical and mental check-up. Long story short…she actually suffered from Sleep Apnea. Her “old hag” was actually caused by her inability to breathe!

Her husband still thinks this is hilarious and anytime she says something that may be false he grumbles “ghost my ass, i bet it’s your damn deviated septum again”

The Old Hag phenomenon as astral projection:

From: “Bryan Chandler” (Tokabowla@worldnet.att.net)
To: obiwan@ghosts.org
Subject: Regarding your “Old Hag” FAQ…
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 18:09:12 -0500

Hey great page! This is regarding your “Old Hag” thing on your FAQ pages. I have an alternate explanation that while still classifies itself as “paranormal”, but actually has nothing to do with ghosts.

Many as I do believe that the experience of sleep paralyses is actually due to an Out Of Body Experience. Ever lay in your bed, on the edge of sleep, not thinking of anything, and suddenly have the sensation your falling, as if through your bed?! Realizing this you suddenly “catch” yourself, and jump up in your bed. I’ve had this feeling many times throughout my life.

There are those (myself included) who believe that this is the sensation of your soul or “astral body” leaving your physical body. At some point while on the edge of sleep, it’s believed that your physical body infact does fall asleep, however your consciousness or “astral body” actually doesn’t join you in sleep, but rather becomes disconnected from your physical body. There are those who claim to do this regularly, and can travel anywhere there hearts may desire, and that there is no actual “time” experience in this state. Many claim of being able to go to friends houses who live hundreds, possibly thousands of miles away and listening in on conversations that their friends may have with others, and later being able to describe these conversations to their friends that they could not possibly of heard! Other things similar to this are apparently possible.

Strange buzzing or “frying” sounds, and the feeling of a heavy weight upon the body are also associated with the entering of the OBE state, along with the feeling of being “pushed into and through the bed”. These strange sounds and feelings may explain the “Old Hag” experience.

As far as I know there is no danger of death, or not being able to return to your sleeping body. Infact it is said that you can return at any time you wish. If you experience this phenomenon, and are able to not “catch yourself”, you just might be able to experience an OBE. I however have never personally been able to keep from “catching” myself from the falling sensation. I suppose when your on the edge of sleep, your instincts act before your consciousness can interject.

Bryan C.

SEE ALSO MORE OLD HAG STORIES

Natural Explanations for Supernatural Phenomena

Natural oddities such as ball lightning and “will o’ the wisp,” imagination, and simple misinterpretation are often mistaken for paranormal occurrences. Here is an interesting bit sent in by a reader:

From: “Hilli” (iridium@tegmentum.net)
To: obiwan@ghosts.org
Subject:
Date: Monday, February 11, 2002 6:29 AM

Dear Obiwan,

My name is Hilli and I recently graduated from UCLA with a bachelor degree in neuroscience. I have been reading some of the stories that people have submitted to your page. Having been a scientifically-minded person all my life, I couldn’t help reacting to some of the situations that the writers have described by asking myself how such things have happened. For example, some writers have described smelling strange scents when supposed apparitions were about; I am familiar with the mechanism by which the brain interprets scent–molecules diffuse into the tectorial membane in the nasal cavity and activate connections in the brain which are interpreted as scents. So in order for the writer to have experienced a scent, this neural pathway in the brain would have to be activated by something.

Certain relatively-common neural disordes are characterized by such connections becoming activated in the brain without external sensory stimuli, and are expressed in the patient in the form of images, scents, sounds, and so on. Often these sensory experiences are aided by the patient’s memories–for example, a memory of a relative will influence visual stimuli, and the patient will report having seen the relative. These sensations are very real and not mere illusions–they are as real to the patient as images of objects that are in the patient’s actual visual field.

I can’t help wondering whether a lot of the experiences that people discuss in the stories they submit to your webpage are manifestations of such neural mechanisms. I have worked with patients, myself, who have experienced such sensory experiences as part of the symptoms of their condition. I think this information is worthwhile to mention on your website for those who are not familiar with neuroscience and neuropathology.

Oldest Recorded Ghost Sightings

According to the excellent book Ghost Sightings by Brian Innes, the oldest written report of a ghost comes from the Bible, in the first book of Samuel. Saul goes to a medium (“a woman that hath a familiar spirit”) and asks her to conjure up the deceased Samuel, which she does. Samuel appears in the form of “an old man covered with a mantle.”

Another very old ghost sighting comes from Ancient Greece. A Greek writer named Pausanius wrote around 150 AD about a haunting at the site of the battle of Marathon (490 BC). In the words of Pausanius:

“At this place you can hear all night horses whinnying and men fighting. No one who stays there just to have this experience gets any good out of it, but the ghosts do not get angry with anyone who happens to be there against his will.”

Notes: The description of Samuel in his undead state, covered with his mantle, seems to set a precedent for the sheet-covered ghost so favored in Western culture. Although Samuel was conjured and perhaps not a “true” ghost, Pausanius’ account is clearly that of an already established haunting which must have been well known at the time.

Theories on the Existence of Ghosts

There are many theories of what ghosts (if they indeed exist) are. Some people believe that ghosts are the residual energy left behind by an emotionally strong person or event. This theory holds that more energy/electrical impulses are expended during periods of high stress or excitement, and that the energy lingers for a long time.

Freud thought that ghosts are actually the visions of people who are afraid of death. In this sense, ghosts would not be real at all but rather a projection of our subconscious mind.

A somewhat plausible theory is that ghosts are telepathic images. That is, a sensitive person would pick up past vibrations from the area they were in and witness an event or person as it appeared many years ago. This would also explain instances where a person sees a loved one at or near the moment of the the loved one’s death, since the loved one could be unconsciously projecting their thoughts to the receptive person.

Ghosts might also be the result of time slips, if time is nonlinear. An event that happened in the past might be seen briefly in our time because of a fluctuation in time/space.

On his show -Mysterious World-, Arthur C. Clarke has speculated that our minds might play images to our eyes (the same way our eyes relay messages to our brain, but in reverse), almost like a movie screen. In this way ghosts would be bits of our imagination come to life.

Types of Hauntings — Misc.

Ghostly visitations fall into several distinct categories. Here are a few of the most common.

* Crisis Apparitions — These ghosts appear most often to their loved ones at a moment of great crisis or death. Typically, the ghosts appear only once to a special loved one who may be many miles away at the time of the accident.
* Doppelgangers — Doppelgangers are ghostly doubles of living people. Often the doppelganger is not visible to the person himself, and will simply follow the person around. In some cases a person will come upon his own doppelganger who is typically engaged in some future activity. Doppelgangers are traditionally considered omens of bad luck or even death.
* Repeated Actions — Many apparitions are always viewed repeating the same motions or scenes. Many classic hauntings fall into this category. An example of this type of haunting is The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, who was always seen moving down a hallway with a lantern in her hand. Usually these ghosts pay little or no attention to the observer.
* Ghostly Sounds and Lights — Sometimes a haunting will consist entirely of the sound of footsteps or ghostly music. There are also many legends of ghost lights, which are often said to be caused by someone’s ghostly lantern or by a spectral motorcycle or train.
* Possessed Objects — Sometimes inanimate objects are said to be cursed or possessed. A very famous example of a supposed cursed object is the Hope Diamond. Sometimes a particular piece of furniture will refuse to stay in place, even moving in front of the owner’s eyes.

Make Some Noise: The Poltergeist Phenomenon

Thanks largely in part to Tobe Hooper and Steven Speilberg, when people hear the word “poltergeist” it immediately conjures images of a young blonde girl perched before her television set and proclaiming, “They’re here.”

In actuality, as scary as many found the film, the actual phenomenon is much more terrifying even if less outlandish than what the film depicts.

To start, we should define exactly what a poltergeist is. In short, it is an amalgamation of two distinct German words: poltern, a verb meaning “to make noise”, and geist, which basically means “spirit”. So poltergeist can literally be translated to “noisy ghost”.

For the most part, that is exactly what a poltergeist haunting typically entails. Rattles, bumps, scratching sounds, footsteps, and moans and groans of indeterminate origin.

You can search YouTube for videos on poltergeist activity and be rewarded with a bevy of amazing clips showing objects moving by themselves: cups sliding across a table, cabinets opening and slamming, drawers sliding open and utensils inexplicably being tossed across the room. It is not uncommon to see chairs sliding across the floor or tipping over. Most, if not all, of the videos are fabrications though created by crafty filmmakers, but do a better job at depicting the true definition of poltergeist activity than the actual film mentioned above.

In addition to the specific physical manifestation of poltergeist activity, it should be noted that the spirit is most often associated as being attached to a particular person or object rather than a location. Families having experienced a poltergeist indicate that even moving to a new location did not stop the activity.

In rare circumstances poltergeist activity has escalated into vicious attacks on an individual within the home. Historically, some of the most well-documented cases of violent poltergeists attacking the living revolve around young girls and teenage women.

The famous Bell Witch legend recounts the story of young Elizabeth Bell, the youngest daughter of the Bell household who became the target of an angry witch spirit. She was shaken, burned and scratched.

In the Enfield poltergeist case of 1977, 11-year-old Janet Hodgson allegedly showed signs of manipulation and possession by a the spirit of a prior tenant of the rented home. Prior to the attacks on Janet, the poltergeist activity was limited to the manipulation of furniture, toys and the requisite knocks, bumps, and moans.

The Amherst Poltergeist case of Esther Cox, a 19-year-old secretary who began being viciously attacked after having survived an attempted rape at gunpoint. The case took place in Amherst, Nova Scotia in 1878 and is perhaps one of the most infamous cases due to the level of violent activity which involved fires and Esther vomiting needles and pins.
In all cases of reported poltergeists, the activity stops as suddenly as it began. Most cases span one to two years before the spirit departs giving the family much-needed peace.

But is activity of this nature supernatural? Science offers many explanations for falling and moving objects. A common belief is that underground rivers, streams, and aquifers cause vibrations that can knock pictures from walls, cause furniture to tip, and cause the sound of moaning.

There is also the belief that paranormal activity of this type stems from the afflicted themself. Most documented cases of poltergeist activity involves troubled youth who are often victims of physical and sexual abuse. That is not to say that the trauma welcomes spirits, the implication is that the victims themselves are causing the activity. They are the ones throwing things and blaming disembodied spirits, they contort their bodies and claw at their skin, and fabricate scenarios as part of a dissociative disorder, similar to the survivor of a violent or sexual crime developing a split personality to disassociate themself from the trauma.

Interestingly, most cases of paranormal activity occurred in the late 19th and early twentieth century and have slowly tapered off over time. Only a small handful of documented cases have occurred in the USA with a majority transpiring in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poltergeist#Other_cases)  Not surprisingly, reports of poltergeist activity climbed in the US at the time the film “Poltergeist” was released.

Whatever the case, for those experiencing a poltergeist activity, the situation is real, frightening, and confusing. The fact that there does not seem to be any means of leaving the spirit makes a family feel trapped and seeds of discord begin to bloom.

It is a wide belief in the paranormal field that some negative spirits feed on the energy of distress and grow stronger from it. So perhaps the poltergeist activity is self-sustaining, allowing a mild nuisance ghost to blossom into physical attacks.

Have you had any personal experiences in dealing with a poltergeist? Share your story by leaving a comment. The link to do so is at the top of this article.

Centro Bancomer (Mexico City, Mexico)

From: “Luis Agustin Guerrero Hinojos” (luis.guerrero@softtek.com)
To: obiwan@ghosts.org
Subject: The Haunted Bank in Mexico City
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 20:29:42 -0500

Hello. Im going to tell you about the hauntings in Centro Bancomer, one of Mexico Citys’ biggest buildings. Its the headquarter of Mexicos’ second biggest bank, and has room for some 10 thousand people inside.

Well, now to the haunting.

Centro Bancomer is a big building, a hollow concrete cube, bursting with activity on the day and quite lugubrious in the night. It has three different canteens, one for common folks, another for managerial satff and a third for the CEO and council. The ghost at hand is know as “the little kid”, or el chamaco for those spanish speaking readers out there.

The little kid is a mischevious apparition. A close friend of mine used to work in the canteen management. One day, a couple of cooks came in to file their resignations: they were cleaning the kitchen when this little boy starts running across the floor and thru the wall.

I was working late with this same friend. He was in the cubicle next to mine. Suddenly, he screams mi name. I walk in his cube to find him pale, claiming his drink bulb had moved by itself. Some months latter, the bank upgraded its lights, adding movement sensors. Whenever someone walked by, the lights will come on. After some time, theyll come off again. So, on the weekends, when i was by myself working on the second floor (grey quadrant, if anyone knows the bank, in the debit cards module, near the SAR), the lights would snap on quickly, like someone playing with the light swicth, which is locked. This could be faulty connections, since its the only block that does it. However. It never happens when there are people arround.

The same kid i talked about before, is know to play pranks on the phone. Rumor has it that on some obscure night, one of the vigil keepers had some misterious phone calls from a boy, asking him if he wanted to play with him. Thinking, well im working, and a boy can’t be awake at 1 a.m., he refused to play with, and the hang up. But the kid will call again. And the calls will go on and on, until he screamed some obnoxiuos insults about work shifts and pestering kids. After he confronted his fellow guardsmen, no one did the calls. And now the funny part of it. The same day we got this story told, i stayed working late, making company to this new girl (honest, we were working! or due date was looooong overdue). So, arround 10:30 pm, december 22 1994, with the bank empty as a cavern, the phone rings. And a kid asks her if she wants to play with him!

Now, the last one I know about the kid. One night, the head honcho of the data processing branch was staying late in his office, that is in the basement of this bank, in what could be very accurately described as a bomb shelter, right next to the IBM big irons. So, this man starts hearing this riot outside his office, running feet, things slamming down, the works. He ignores them for a while, and then stands up to see whats happening. Naturally, nothings’ amiss outside. So, he walks back to his desk and starts hearing this same noises. Hes so busy, he ignores them, until he stands up and screams some unprintable maledictions. In that moment, a cork board thats hanging on his wall falls down, along with some books. And as he turns hes head up, he sees this grining kids face up in one of the sheetrocks of the ceiling.

Contact me if you know anything about this, or you want to share stories about “el chamaco” or other hauntings. Id be glad to hear about them.

Hasta Luego
LGH