This is a compendium of reader comments I have received about the haunted Toys R Us store in Sunnyvale, California. Newer comments are on top.

External links

short article with a picture of a seance at the building.
An article on Snopes’ Urban Legends web page.
A write-up at The Shadowlands Famous Hauntings.

Reader comments

McCarthy, Janet
Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 6:18 PM

I worked at Toys R Us Briefly in the early 90’s and I had the same similar experience, in what was then the last row of the store (the row part of the building that is probably closed to El Camino Real). The story had big long rows, but now they’ve redesigned the interior and it’s harder to tell where exactly that area is, but it was in the last row, towards the end of the night, I had picked all the toys up and organized the shelves. (it was xmas time)…Had everything up off the floor, there weren’t allot of people left in the store, I finished that row, had everything up and put away, and went to the next row, which must have been done by someone else, because it was already clean, organized.. So I was in that isle for like maybe 2 mins, So I want to take one more once over and I go back to the last isle, and there is a doll in it’s box in the middle of the isle floor, just like someone had taken it off of the shelf and put it there to bother me, cause I had just straightened everything up…I went down the next few rows just to see if I could catch the kid that did it, and there was no one there….The thing is, is that I knew there was a haunted Toys R Us, but I had heard that it was the one in Redwood City, so when this happened to me, I had no idea that I was working in the haunted Toys R Us…

A haunted Toys R Us in New Jersey:

Subject: Haunted Toys R Us
Date: Wed, November 4, 2009 8:31 pm

My name is Joe Toth. I was a Store Director for TRU for 7 years and worked for them for a total of 11 years from 1996- 2007. My last store I managed for TRU was in North Bergen New Jersey. I was there from 2002-2007 as Store
Director. When I arrived at this building most of the associates told me that the store was haunted. As the story goes the site that this store is on was a car dealership for many years. A young girl was said to have been killed at the area that was the car dealership. The store associates had given her the name “Jennifer” since they did not know her real name. Jennifer loved to knock the Barbie doll toys off the shelf and throw balls down the aisles. She would usually pick one person to focus on each Christmas season, some times a new associate or sometimes an overnight stocking crew member.

My Nightcrew supervisor was usually the target of Jennifer’s pranks. Up to now I have been telling you about second hand encounters. I am now going to relate a personal encounter I had with Jennifer. After about 6 months at the store I was opening up in the morning with my money room associate. It was only us two in the building at this time and we were both at the front of the building by the registers talking. It was at this time the store paging system activated and we heard a mumbling voice over the page. Now in order to page you needed to pick up a phone an press a button. The location
of the phone used to make the page would be visible on the other phones throughout the building. When the page went off it showed it was originating at our Juvenile desk in the rear of the building. Again it was just myself and my money room associate in the building and we were at the front of the store. We just looked at each other very puzzled and a little scared. The pager was hung up and at this time the freight elevator was activated and sent to the upper store room. It could be heard as it was very quit at the early hours before opening and the elevator was loud. I decided to see who or
what was operating the elevator. I went up stairs to my store room and found nothing. As I was starting to head back up front I was brought up short by a Barbie ball bounced from down the side aisle of the store room in front of the stairs. Needless to say I beat a very hasty retreat back up front.

I became firmly convinced that we were host to this little girl’s spirit. I have found a mention of the on another paranormal investigating site, but the list it erroneously as the Jersey City Rt 440 Store, which by the way I also managed and never had any ghostly experiences. I hope you will include this with your “Haunted TRU page. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or clarifications.

Joseph Toth
Saddle Brook, NJ

A haunted Toys R Us in San Bernardino:

Jeanette Robles
Fri, Jul 23, 2004 at 8:52 AM


I happened to come across your web page on Toys R Us hauntings in Sunnyvale and I though I would share an experience from a different location. I worked at the San Bernadino location back in 1984-1985 and I worked late at night stocking. My boss suspected someone was stealing or doing drugs at night and put a camera system in that we did not know about. About a week later, he calls us in to view the video and it showed not only some of the stock boys doing cocaine up in the “attic” office, it showed toys moving to and fro across the aisles while we were working on other ones. Now at that time I thought the guys were playing tricks on me because I was the only girl there. It turns out that a little boy had died before the store was built there and he would play at night. Mind you, the toys that were popular at this time were the talking Chuckee doll and Teddy Ruxpin who kept talking all night while we were working. It was pretty spooky. My aisle would be stocked and clean when I left at 6:00 a.m. and by the time they opened at 9:00 a.m. it would be messed up! My boss concluded that the stock boys needed to be quietly fired and that we were to keep working along with the ghost!

Thanks J

From: “Isabel” (
Subject: my experience at the HAUNTED Sunnyvale Toys r us
Date: Saturday, January 22, 2005 2:29 AM

I worked at the toys r us in December 1976 (Xmas season) while in College. I can tell you that the Sunnyvale Toys R Us IS HAUNTED!!!!!!!! Well, I grew up in sunnyvale and had never heard about this store being haunted until I worked there. so, here goes my story… one cold foggy xmas night I was with a friend in the back stocking room where the bikes were assembled and as we were moving some boxes we heard this loud BOOM. Well, when we realized what we heard we thought some one had to be behind some of the boxes since the noise was so loud. When we searched the area there was no one to be found. two of the boxes were opened and torn on one side. There is NO way that could have happened by a tipped fall plus the boxes were stacked too close together. So my friend (Marty Littlefield) and I ran like hell because we thought it was a ghost. Well, it was the ghost of Mr Murphy (a street is named after him)..Murphy street was near the corner of the Toys r us. Anyway, I was totally convinced the ghost was real. Later after college I moved to Houston texas and that is when this was confirmed again. I was watching a TV program in the early 1980’s and guess what was on TV?? The real documentary of the Haunted Sunnyvale toys r us. Unbelievable, I said. The infrared cameras showed the ghosts that night as the camera crew recorded at 1 am. Anyway they better not ever tear that Toys r us down OR the ghosts will haunt the construction workers forever and leave them terror stricken the rest of their lives!!!!! That’s all for now.

Norm B.

Subject: Haunted Toys r Us in Sunnyvale, CA
Date: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 8:06 PM

I currently live in sunnyvale and have lived here for my whole life (14 yrs). I have been the the famous haunted toys r us and have never expierienced anything out of the ordinary there. But I do have 1 unique story about the place. My dad told me a story once that went like this; My grandma (when she was a kid) and my great aunt (who was older than my grandma at the time) lived in the sunnyvale area. Now according to this a phsychic used to live all alone in a house in the same place where the toys r us stands today. One day my great aunt decided to take my grandma to this phsychics house. While they were there the phychic told them that her house stood where a man many many years ago died and spirit still remains there. She told them that he had been working on a farm there chopping wood far away from the farmers house. His hands slipped and he badly cut his leg, so unable to move and too far away to be heard, he bled to death. So his spirit has remained there for probably over 100 years and is still roaming the grounds to this day. Im very very sure that this story is true and it also eliminates the theory that the toys r us chain just made it up to get customers cause obviously this myth has been around for a while.


From: “john kunkel” (
Subject: toys r’ us ghost
Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 12:04 AM

Hello, my name is John. I read your article on your website about the ghost haunting in the Toys R’ Us, and it was funny because i live in Sunnyvale, Ca. And I used to work at Sunnyvale Toys R’ Us. I worked the graveyard shift, and i heard of the story there before, my dad used to talk about it. So i thought id give it a shot by applying, about a month later i got hired, and i remember we used to have floor meetings before we started to stock, and we would all be together and toys would start to go off right in front of me, and i thought “ok this is wierd” but never really paid much attention. And one time i was walking to put something away, and a toy fell of the shelf right in front of me, and the guy behind me saw it to. there was no draft or anything, i thought it was pretty cool. anyways i just thought I’d share my experiences with you. take care..:) take care

sincerly, john

From: Anonymous
Subject: Toys R Us story
Date: Monday, February 09, 2004 7:26 PM


I have a story on the Toys R Us that confirms the encounters that people have described. I worked at the store in 1983 during the holiday season. My section of the story was the last two aisles, referred to as the infant and pre-school aisles. I was also a cashier. Many times while using the restroom, the water faucet would turn itself on after I would turn it off. I just thought the bathroom was in serious need of a remodel.

As was store policy, we would be required to restock the shelves after the store would close at midnight so we would usually continue to work until one or two in the morning. One Saturday evening we finished restocking and then put everything away – it was a rule that nothing could be left on the floors. Then we all left at the same time and would wait for the manager to turn on the alarm and lock the doors. This was mostly for our safety in walking to our cars so late at night. Sunday morning I had to work the opening shift and was there a little early so I had to wait for the manager to arrive and open the door. As we walked in we saw that all the little riding toys (big wheels, tricycles, etc.) we scattered all down the aisle. I was upset because I thought I would get in trouble since this was my section and my responsibility to clean up the evening before, but my manager just said “looks like the ghost was busy last night” and continued to open the store. Another afternoon while it was quite, I was on a short ladder restocking a peg wall and I felt someone touch my hair and tap me on the shoulder. I thought it was a customer but no one was there. It gave me quite a chill. After that I just tried not to be all alone if possible!


From: “mike D.” (
Subject: haunted toys r us
Date: Sunday, September 21, 2003 2:26 PM

i worked at toys r us about 2 years ago and i was working there for about three months. It was mainly for holiday work to make a little bit of money. Anyway there was really only one time i saw something that freaked me out. One time another employee helped me carry a ladder to get a product down for a customer. we carried the ladder over to the aisle were we need it we were starting to open up the ladder, and a little toy just fell from no where. It was strange because just as we were opening the ladder it just fell and there is no way it could have fallen off of the shelf. just a little story to let u know about.

former employee,

Subject: Toys-r-us.
Date: Friday, June 21, 2002 10:56 AM

I grew up in Sunnyvale from ’51 to 73. The orchard behind Toys-r-Us was always considered spooky, before a Whitefront department store was built there in the sixties, the building that Toys-r-Us now occupies. As kids, we rode our bikes over there, hid them in the wild blackberry bushes, and ventured into the orchards, where we knew a man with a rock-salt loaded shotgun would be stalking us. We were brave enough to go into the bing cherry trees and gorge ourselves, but the border between the cherry trees and the plums was where we balked. It was definately weird beyond that. Rumors of ghosts, and a ramshackle village from another time figured prominantly. For several years friend and I shared the same recurring dreams of this muddy village, perhaps from the 1890’s, or possibly as late as the 1920’s. Robbers and prostitutes, before we were aware of what those types were, figured in these dreams. Also vicious dogs and dirty, mean mules and horses. I believe that the ghost of the man who chopped his arm off at a well there and died, is the main ghost in Toys, but others are involved. The area we were most concerned about was between Wolfe road, and closer to, Laurence Expressway, about a quarter mile south of el Camino, unless I’m confused, 20 years down the line. We also used to sneak onto the grounds of the Winchester Mystery House whe we got a little older. There was a ghost of a doberman pincher there. This was before they built the Century 21 domed cinemas, or whatever that was called, on her orchard there. Also, has anyone heard of a house in Saratoga that belonged to the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, which had once been a Nunnery in which 2 nuns were gassed accidently. In the late sixties we visited the tennant there who performed what we considered a very good parlor trick, where all the windows would be locked by us, and we would take a short walk around the grounds, and return to find all the windows flung wide, supposedly by the asfixiated nuns. Ever hear about that place? I live in London now, and love to explore the zillions of haunted places all over this country. Thanx for your rapt attention!

Robert Hawkins.

Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 17:31:16 -0700
From: Alejandra Gonzales (
Subject: Toys 4 us ghost


I ‘m a past resident from Sunnyvale, California. I lived there till i was 12 and i’m 20 now, living in san jose. I don’t believe in ufo’s and I don’t believe that elvis is alive either. But i can account to what happened to me when I visited Toys R US .. in sunnyvale.

I used to go to the toys r us all the time,when i was a kid with my mother. One day after going to burger king we went to Toys R Us. I loved looking at dolls and going through the aisles alone to find something i could pursude my mother into buying. Well. it wasn’t buzy that day, and I was roaming around all happy tryin’ to find something. I started going to the aisle i wanted with barbie’s and all that. I look down each aisle just to see what is down there.. so i could stop and glare. Just as i pass a aisle, i look down it and there is a frisbee in free flight.. just .. glidin’.. down… but there was NO ONE I MEAN NO ONE!! i didn’t think anything of it…

I went to the aisle i wanted… i found a barbie and started down the aisle to my mother as i turn around to get another outfit for my barbie.. there are three barbie doll boxes.. on top of eachother… in the middle of the floor.. NO ONE was in the aisle and it was too quick for anyone to run get all of them and put them on top of eachother and then run off. I was too young to think anything of it… again!!..

So.. after i get home.. i told my sister what happened.. after she called me stupid and all that.. she told me how it was haunted.. i didn’t believe her till i saw the show later.. years to come.. on .. Sightings.. i was freaked out.. my hair was standing on end…

so now i know .. what happened… i wasn’t just a crazy kid ! LOL

From: “Wynter Mitchell” (
Subject: Ghost Stories
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 15:44:31 -0800

Re: Toys R Us Sunnyvale

I went there to do a story for my school paper and I felt something push = me aside as I went to the back of the store, I was there for about 2 = hours trying to get a sense of the whole atmosphere. Only that push = confirmed it for me. It was not a strong push, but it was like someone = was trying to get by, it wasn’t hostile, it was similar to a polite = “excuse me, you’re in my way”. I was content.

Date: Mon, 07 Jun 1999 12:03:28 -0700
From: Chris Garcia (
Subject: Haunted Toys R Us

I just wanted to write in on the Haunted Toys R US story. My dad used to pal around with most of the Bay Area Parapsychology folk(and Sylvia Brown) and almost went on the over-night where the famous photo came from. He did visit around 1 am one night, a friend of his being a night watchman. What he saw was not a man, but a black fog-like mass which moved about the board game aisle. This would have been in early 85. I have heard and seen some strange things while shopping there, but nothing I can pinpoint(mostly just hearing things from aisles where there aren’t any people, a few things out of the corner of my eye)

Just thought to drop a line


Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 23:45:14 -0700 (PDT)
yourname Steve

Well, I just noticed your website has a section on the Toys R Us haunting and I figured I’d add something to it’s section. I worked at that Toys R Us for one christmas season and I live in santa clara (city right next to sunnyvale) so, I’ve been there plenty of times. I have to be honest in telling you that I didn’t see many things happen in the aisles and most of the employees would probably agree that most of the weird activity tends to happen in the stocking areas. The store itself looks HUGE when you walk in and it almost seems like there’s no place where stock is kept but the actual store is surrounded by stocking areas (save for the front). The left side where you walk in is shipping and recieving (where my girlfriend worked at the time) and the back of the store is the biggest stock area (where most of the weird stuff happens). Ok, so here’s the experiences. On one of my first nights working I was being trained by another employee and we were going through all the boxes on the second floor of the stock room in the back of the store. He informed me that we should take an early break (heh) so, we pulled out one of the large boxes stacked up on other boxes, shifted it to the center of the floor and sat on a box between other boxes to sort of relax and hide from any possible managers. While we were sitting there we started to hear very heavy footsteps heading our way so we peeped over the top of one of the boxes towards where the footsteps were coming from and we were completely alone in the entire upstairs back area. I’m fairly down to earth so I chalked it up to sounds perhaps from the downstairs area (although they were quite apparrent footsteps). Now christmas time is QUITE busy so usually there are people there restocking around the clock. However, one night we got finished very early and my current girlfriend at the time had finished up with one of the managers and they were the last two to close the store. They both incidentally had to be back there in another 6 hours so they rushed home to bed and then back to work. Upon opening the store together, they had found a monopoly board all set out as if someone was preparing to play it. The pieces were on the board but the cash wasn’t scattered anywhere or anything. (Monopoly is a very old game btw). Also, several of the girl employees had claimed that they’d occassionally feel someone ‘petting’ the back of their hair in the back rooms although my ex g/f had never felt anything. *Shrug* That’s about all I know of it. Didn’t really feel any ‘strange’ feelings or hear ‘SPOOKY’ sounds. Just weird stuff that could have an explanation.

Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 00:15:27 -0700 (PDT)
yourname marian

Hello all, I worked at the SUNNYVALE Toys r us for about three years. Alot of the stories I read on this website seemed a bit extreme. But don’t get me wrong I don’t doubt you all experienced something. I actually had a few frightening experiences when I was there. But nothing major. For example I was the money counter stuck early in the morning in a little room with only one window, so many times I saw someone out of the corner of my eyes watching me. But when I would turn to look no one was there. Yeah it could have been sleep deprivation. The store has now been remodeled but back in the day(1995-1998) there was alot of activity on aisle 15C(that would be where the fisher price items were. legos were just down the aisle). People said they felt the cold chill I also did. Other associates said they could hear him on the roof(like he was walking back and forth kicking the stones), also the toys playing music by themselves and toys falling off the shelves. I personally never heard him. Never really saw him full on. We really did not talk about it at work unless it was mentioned on t.v. You all can imagine how many phone calls we would get “is this the haunted Toys r us?”. Honestly I can’t really say 100% either way. I am very scared of seeing something tht shouldn’t be there(A GHOST!). Maybe that is why I did not have alot of encounters. Let me just say when the power woul go out and it usually would at least two times a year I would be the first one out the front door. There was a few things that i’ve read in various places that did make me quite upset: #1 I have never heard Toys R Us(big wigs) brag about the fact that there is a ghost at one of their stores. It’s not like they chose to have a ghost there. #2 Regardless of what he is doing there he does not pray on or bother the females. He never hurt me and now when I go to that store I feel very at ease not frightened. HE IS NOT A BAD GHOST! Last but not least I am still with Toys R Us, although a different store I thought I finally got away from the “haunted” Toys R Us and then I come to find out that a few people who work at my store think it’s haunted. I know I am very contradicting in this very long story. I am sorry I guess I do believe!

Marian 🙂

Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 15:24:51 -0400 AST
Subject: I believe I can verify C. Coffman’s account of Ripley’s Believe

Hey there,

Now, I can’t remember if this was Ripley’s Believe It or Not, but I definitely remember seeing a TV show on the unbelievable where a paranormal spectre haunted a toy store. (I believe the show was called “That’s Incredible!” although it just might’ve been “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”, since all other of my recollections of the first show were not of a paranormal nature, unless if you count the day-to-day video journal of a man eating all of a bicycle’s parts in about a week paranormal.)

Coming back to the original story, the spectre’s form was caught on film as a dark shadow. A camera had been set up (quite possibly by a non-believer), from which they showed a still photo of the ghost, but on the stairs, not toppling a rubber ball. However, keep in mind that I was six years old at the time, in first grade (I can vouch this because I remember the classmate to whom I spoke to the following day, which we only shared the same classroom in this grade) way back in 1982. Since the story was a two-parter, it could have been that my mother deliberately forbade me to see any further of this affair (since it did keep me scared through most of the week, if not the month, forget the night) and I would`ve missed the live surveyance camera account. This would leave me with the last vivid memory of that first part: a display of the photo, with one of the hosts saying, “Tune in next week, when we show what was caught…” or something to the effect.

This news may be old hat to you, but it’s fun for a 21-year-old to reminisce on something for a change, 🙂

Glen Bourgeois

From: TJSGumby (TJSGumby@AOL.COM)
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 22:16:03 EDT
Subject: haunted Sunnyvale Toys R Us

I use to live in Sunnyvale for eight years. I believe that it is haunted. There is a presence in some of the back aisles. when you go back there, in the doll aisle,

it is always strangely quiet even though it isn;t quiet in the store. It is also a mess with boxes on the floor as if , no matter what, the employees can’t keep that aisle clean. I have heard that ol’ Johnny died while chopping wood, and yes, he is searching for his lost love. my dad believes he was hit my the ghost while he was cutting cartons, causing him to cut himself on his neck. He still has the scar. The rest of the store fine, but those back aisles, man are they scary!

Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 23:14:18 EDT
Subject: Toys r us haunting

I work for an electric utility here in Ca. I was talking to a fellow employee on day and I don’t recall how the consversation came up but somehow the discussion of the Toy’s R us haunting came about. We also had both seen one of the shows that featured the stories on T.V. This show had shown a picture of the spirit as he was when he was alive.( Now to the story). This gentleman that I worked with told me that years ago he was dispatched to do some work on a meter panel that was on the property where the Toys r us is built. Apparently at one time it was a big farm or something. As he drove on the property behind the toy store he was looking for the panel to work on.After driving awhile with no luck finding the panel he came upon a gentleman who was sitting. He asked him if he could direct him to the panel. The gentleman just pointed and said nothing. After completing his work he drove back by where the gentleman was sittiing but no one was there. He said it was odd that the gentleman was gone but didn’t think too much about it. Sometiime later he watched the program on T.V. and was stunned when the picture they ran of the spirit was the same gentleman who directed him towards the meter panel.

Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 16:00:06 EDT
Subject: haunted toys r us:sunnyvale, ca

I am a 15 year old boy from Maryland.A few years ago, I saw a program on T.V. about the Toys R Us in Sunnyvale, Ca. Well, recently I visited the store with my aunt and uncle who live in the San Francisco.I spoke to one of the employees outside the store before I entered. She told me of some occurances that have taken place inside. She said that the majority of the incedences have occured on the left side of the store. So I went down the hallway near the bathroom and nervoisly peeked my head in the door.After about 10 seconds, I slowly started to shut the door.Just before it was closed, I FELT A COOL BREEZE ON MY FACE AND I HEARED A MALE VOICE CALL ” ELIZABETH “. I proceeded to run out of that hallway and into the main part of the store. Seeing tears in my eyes, my aunt asked me, “What’s wrong”? After I caught my breath, I mumbled, “I heared it”. My aunt went back into the mens bathroom later on but did not hear anything.” She may not believe in ghosts but I know what I heared, and I’ll never ever forget that day.

From: “Kitchele Montgomery” (
Subject: Toys ‘R’ Us
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 09:33:37 -0000

Hi! I just read the story on the haunting of the toy store in Ca. I = watched an unsolved mystries episode that had that story on it. The = show said that the man also named Yonny, was a farmhand at ranch that = was once on the sight. He was mentally challenged, and he fell in love = with the farmers daughter, Beth. Anyway, she didn’t love him, and often = rejected him in a harsh way. One day Yonny was chopping wood, and he = cut himself and died. He roams the store now, bothering the lady = employees and reeking havok. That’s the way I heard it!!!!

Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 14:33:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: TOYS R US

The old Toys ‘R Us story is purley propaganda.

I have heard that story since I was 8 and it always involves a “ghost named Johnny looking for his lost love”….I recall the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not with the story about Johnny who had cut off his legs as well… seems odd to me that Toys ‘R Us feels the need to create such “hoopla” around their businessess in order to attract more curious customers.

I believe that you can catagorize this one as “an old wives tale”.

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 16:17:46 -0600
From: Paul Allen (
Subject: Toys R Us Ghost

I just read the entry about the Toys R Us ghost on this site. I knew it sounded familiar and since I have a rather large collection of ghost story books, both true and fiction, I did a little checking. Sure enough I found it. The story can be found in “The Ghostly Register” Copyright 1986 by Arthur Myers published by Contemporary Books, Inc. The story is titled “The Haunted Toy Store” and includes two photos of the ghost on infrared film and one control photo on normal black and white film. According to the book, a combination of both versions from this site is what it would take to match the books version. Just thought you would like to know.

Tony Allen

From: “TdP WEB” (
Subject: Haunted Toys-R-Us
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 20:37:15 -0800

I was born and raised in Sunnyvale, California, and have lived here for = most of my life. When I was a child, I remember walking down the second = aisle from the far left of the store. There are legos and blocks down = that aisle. As I was walking down it (alone), I heard a crash from = behind me. I look behind me and found about 200 lego-blocks scattered = all over the floor. There was no one in the aisle next to me, on the = right. To the left of me was a locked glass case that contains = electronics. The ghost is the only explanation as to why this happened. = I have also been in the back stock room at night time, and have heard = strange noises, and have seen boxes topple over from the high shelves. = It is quite spooky.

Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 20:27:19 EST


From: Brahndy (
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 01:02:36 EST
Subject: Re: Your Web site

I was reading your website with regard to the Toys R Us in California being haunted and it triggered a very familiar memorie for me. I was about 9 yrs old, which would have been around 1983 or 1984 and I remember watching a news report about the store, In reading another letter you had from someone, they made reference to a video camera. In the news report that I had seen it showed live footage of the store after it was closed, and also some footage of it opening the next morning. I remember toys falling off the shelves and talking dolls and thing moving around in mid air. I don’t know if it was trick photography, but if so, seems like they went to an awful lot of trouble. Anyway, I’m not sure if you knew that already, but If not you might write in there somewhere that video has been taken of this place. Or ask if someone else remembers this news broadcast.

From: “Michael Shu” (
Subject: Toys “R” Us
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 16:07:25 -0800


I used to live in Sunnyvale when I was a little girl, so you can imagine how often I went to the haunted Toys ‘R Us, which was a five minute drive away. I was just there last week. I’m sixteen now and I live in Cupertino, a neighboring city. The supposedly haunted aisle is the aisle with all the boardgames and some random electronics. We went there to get our Gameboy. I never think of that store as a haunted place, just as the site of many childhood memories of my initiation into the world of consumership and capitalism. I have tons of stuff from that store, including our now fuzzy Gameboy. Well, it’s nice to know that one’s first favorite store has this interesting claim to fame. I’ve heard about it before, but I keep on forgetting. To me, it’s not the board game aisle that is sad. It’s the aisles on the right, with the legos, swing sets and primary toys. It’s so neglected there. I don’t know why.


Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 14:32:40 EDT
Subject: ghost at toysrus

Hi, I was just writing to tell you that I saw a story about that ghost on Unsolved Mysteries. It stuck in my head because the man died while chopping wood and hit his leg with the ax and bled to death. Also the name of that girl Elizabeth was on there, because he was in love with her or something. Anyways, on the show it said that he was haunting a toystore so, that also stuck in my mind.

From: “Barton, Tom” (
To: “‘'” (
Subject: toys r us hauntings
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 10:37:12 -0600

Dear Sir:

I truly am not a person who would ever believe anyone if they ever said they believed in ghosts. I’m a payroll secretary and a sound realist. So it seemed like a lot of folkstories when it comes to hauntings and ghosts and stuff. Till It happened to me…

Almost 8 years ago I had just moved to Sunnyvale Ca. from San Antonio Tx. I had never been to a toys r us in my life so I was excited when i learned we had one just down the street. So my husband and I and my 6month old decided to go. I remember it was late. After 9pm. I was amazed that they stayed open so late.

We were in the last aisle close to the end of the store, when my husband went on to look at something else in another aisle. I stayed behind. I was looking at something right in front of me and so intense was my concentration that I didn’t notice this poor person standing right beside me obviously trying to get to something. Well I jumped back and excused myself and apologized outloud to the person. To my amazement there was no one there. I was in the middle of the aisle. So I looked up and down. There was no way he could have just disappeared? Well I felt really goosepimply all of a sudden and I just really wanted to get out of there and quick. I quickly caught up to my husband in a rush and when he said, “what was the matter”? My reply was.. oh nothing. I’m just scaring myself”.

5 years later I was watching a documentary about the 10 most Haunted Places in the U.S. Imagine my surprise and shock when I found out that that theToys R Us in Sunnyvale was one of them. I still get goosebumps when I think about that ghost or whatever you wanna call it standing right next to me. Well thats my little story. I’ve never told anyone but a few family members and a few friends. But maybe you can add it to a listing of some sort for other disbelievers like myself.

Angela A. Huerta

From: Sara Mullins (
Subject: ghost story
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 13:19:26 EDT

Hello! My name is Sara Mullins. I have a story regarding the Haunted Toys R Us in Sunnyvale,Ca. If you do decided to post my story,I would like to have my info posted along with it. Well,here’s my story.

The Christmas I was 11 which was around 1990 or 1991,my mom and dad took me to that Toys R Us,which is not far away from where we was living at the time, and told me i could pick out what I wanted for Christmas. I went to the back aisle where the electronics,lego,stuff like that was and as I was walkin through the aisle i felt something cold brush past me. I thought it was just the air conditioner or something so I thought nothing about it. I hadn’t heard about the ghost,but my cousin who had come along with us had and he told me about it and i didn’t believe him. So as a joke i went “Well if there really is a ghost why don’t he come and get me.” I shouldn’t have said that. As soon as I did,toys from the top shelf came flying down and they barely missed me. From then on I was a believer! Well, recently i went in there with my niece and nephew and my boyfriend and we went to that back aisle,cause Justin(my nephew) wanted to look at the legos. Andrew(my boyfriend)took him back there while i took Kalie(my neice) to look at the dolls. We had been looking at dolls for about 7 or 8 minutes when Andrew and Justin came flying down he aisle. Andrew was a pale color and poor justin could barley talk. When they finally calmed down to tell us what had happened we learned that Justin had to go to the bathroom and he didn’t wanna go in there by his self so Andrew went with him. While they were in there Andrew was leaning against one of the stall doors when all of a sudden,the water turned on,all of the toilets flushed at the same time and the stall door next to Andrew flew open. He said when it flew open he felt a gush of cold air run by him and they by that time Justin had flew out of the stall and was standing behind Andrew. They heard a voice yell the name Beth,then it let out a little moan and everything stopped and the water turned off and it was gone. Andrew acts all tough but he really is afraid of his own shadow. Justin and Andrew wanted to leave the store but Kalie wanted to stay and look at the other dolls and that little girl gets what she wants to we stayed. Well later on,I had to go to the bathroom and so did Kalie so we went. We was just getting ready to open the door to leave when we heard a woman voice,it sounded like a woman crying in on of the stalls. Me and kalie are both blondes so we decided to look in the stalls to see if we could kind the lady to see what was wrong. We was at the next to the last stall when Kalie opened the door and a woman in a white old thyme like dress was setting on the toilet crying,she looked up and then she disappeared. Before she disappeared she mumbled something that sounded like I can’t believe he’s dead or I can’t believe he’s gone or something we really couldn’t understand her. Needless to say after she disappeared me and Kalie took off running to find Andrew and Justin to tell them what had happened. My experience was in late May and i haven’t been back to the store since. So i don’t really know what has happened since then. But i talked to the store manager,which is one off my really good friends and he said that other people had seen or heard a woman crying in the lady’s bathroom,some people believe it was Elizabeth the daughter of the farmer who had his farm on that location before it was turned into Toys R US. Others believe it is the farmer’s wife and some people say it is Lila,a helper at the farm. People really never could find out who she was.

Well I shared my story. E-mail me back at andrews_girl6969@hotmail.commy story has been posted on other sites,thought i would let you know that.

Thank you,
Sara Mullins

DATE: Thursday, 18 May 95 14:51:39 CST
FROM: Richard L Foster (
Subject: COVER NOTE – Is this Toys ‘R’ Us a haunt

I found this on UT-Austin’s library database. Enjoy.

Richard Foster

Is this Toys ‘R’ Us a haunted house? A ‘ghost’ tramps the aisles see king his lost love? (ghost reported terrorizing Sunnyvale, CA branch store) (American Pulse).
Koeppel, Dan
Adweek’s Marketing Week.
June 10 1991, v32, n24, p17(1)
in Academic Index (database on UTCAT PLUS system)
COPYRIGHT BPI Communications Inc. 1991

A `ghost’ tramps the aisles seeking his lost love

The children have left, and the din has subsided. Another hard day’s shopping is history at the Sunnyvale, Calif. branch of Toys `R’ Us. Yet there might be activity inside the vast, silent emporium this midnight, none of which has to do with the straightforward business of retailing.

Inside, it is said, toys topple from the their shelves. A skateboard rolls down an aisle, clanking aimlessly into a wall. But nobody is in this Toys `R’ Us this midnight. Or anyway, nobody alive.

In the tony heart of high-tech Silicon Valley, could there really be such a thing as a haunted retail outlet?

“I’m a skeptical person,” says Toys `R’ Us assistant store director Jeff Linden. “But something’s definitely happening here.”

In the past few years, store management has tried to get to the bottom of several curious developments. Linden recounts stories of objects flying 20 feet through the air and hitting employees. Shelves left neat in a locked store have been found in disarray the next morning. And then there was the talking doll that cried “mama” over and over-but would only do so when put in a locked box.

If nothing else, it’s attracting curiosity-seekers. “My daughter insisted we visit when she came here from Hawaii,” said a woman (who declined to identify herself) at the local Chamber of Commerce.

But that doesn’t mean that store workers laugh off the matter. “Some of our employees are spooked,” Linden says. “They won’t go into certain parts of the store alone.” He hastens to add that the “ghost” hasn’t affected day-to-day store operations in any tangible way. Yet the incidents were taken seriously enough that management let a local psychic visit the store.

“I thought they were seeing things,” says `private psychic counselor’ Sylvia Brown. I usually find ghosts in old houses. Not in a modern-day retail store.” But Brown changed her mind when she walked into the store. “I felt something,” she says. “Especially in the last aisle on the left.”

It was in that supernatural aisle that Brown got permission to conduct a seance, a summoning of spirits.

Brown says the whole problem comes down to one scenario, namely that “Johnny is waiting for Beth.” The ghost, she says, is one John Johnson, a circuit preacher who set up his tent in verdant Sunnyvale at the turn of the century. In those days, apples grew on the current site of the store. “Beth” is Elizabeth Yuba Murphy Tafee, daughter of a prominent rancher. But his love went unrequited. So poor Johnson-or “Yonny,” as the employees have dubbed him-is doomed to tramp the aisles of the orchard qua toy store. He is reduced to bewailing his plight, searching for his lost love and occasionally beaning employees with a package of rubber ducks.

Of course, many observers consider the ghost about as real as a Ninja Turtle.

“My response is `Skeptics `R’ Me,'” says James Randi, a prominent debunker of psychic phenomena. “There are lots of silly people who make all kinds of declarations.”

But Brown can produce a photograph (see above) from the seance that she claims includes old Johnson. He is looming in the misty background, leaning against a store shelf. Brown says there was nobody in her group standing anywhere near that location during the seance.

Such “proof” doesn’t cut much ice with Randi. And some of Brown’s claims don’t stand up too well when checked.

Brown says police are “constantly” responding to alarms at the store. Lieutenant Andy Pate, of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, says the store has “no more alarms than any other large retailer.” But the stories persist. Local papers and TV have looked into the lovelorn spook.

“That’s part of the hype,” Randi says. “Why don’t they install a video camera? Why don’t they put the place under surveillance? Call me, and I’ll get rid of the ghost in three days,” says Randi. “Of course, I don’t think they’d like that.”

That may be the point. “Sales go up after reports of the ghost,” says Linden. “A lot of people think this is a great thing.”

So maybe nobody’s in any great hurry to smoke out Old Yonny Johnson.

A reader of the web page sent me this note:

Date: Sun, 02 Feb 1997 11:01:59 -0800
From: “C. Coffman” (
Subject: “Haunted” Sunnyvale Toys’R’Us

Hi there,

Just read about the Sunnyvale “haunting” on your Paranormal page…I have some stuff to add to that, for your consideration. Remember that old show w/Jack Pallance, Ripley’s Believe it or Not? They had an episode about that Toys’R’Us. In it, their “psychic” said the ghost (whom she also named “Johnny”) was a local farmboy who died while chopping wood on the farm which used to stand in that locality. Her version goes that he cut his leg with the axe, bound it in a handkerchief, and attempted to continue chopping the rest of the wood. He died from loss of blood. The reason she gives for him still hanging around is: since he didn’t realize the wound was fatal (by just ignoring it and continuing his chore), he doesn’t realize he is dead. She thought he was trying to communicate with people.

Anyway, I seem to recall ol’ Jack Pallance setting up a infra-red camera in the store after-hours, which picked up something weird just as an inflated rubber ball fell off a store shelf.

Believe it or not. (As they say…;)

Another reader sent this in:

From: “Tom & Ellen” (
Subject: Toys R Us Ghosts
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 1997 02:34:41 -0400

Ghosts at Toys “R” Us is nothing new to the employees at the Greensburg, PA store Either. After reading the current story of the California store it struck me as very, very familiar. I have worked the over-night stock shift at the Greensburg store for almost a year now and have seen many similar occurences. Boxes in our back stock room have mysteriously fallen off of shelves, perfectly neat and straight isles of merchandise are messed by the time morning crews arrive. Some employees, I among them , have seen an apportion moving about the store. Usually its just a black form that you catch out the corner of your eye as it goes past an isle your working in. “Homer” as we have lovingly named him , (We all feel this is a male entity) is usually just mischiefious , not harmful. Of course, at about 4 AM you can get kind of tired playing with Homer, but we find if we just ignore his antics he moves to a different part of the store. Many employees refuse to work night shift because of Homer. One stock person worked one night building extra bikes for the summer rush. He obviously peaked Homers interest because none of us had problems that night except him. He kept complaining that he would lay a tool down one place and find it in another, or that he felt like he was constantly being watched. He claimed to have felt a very cold place by his construction area but no where else in the stock room. This stock person will not work overnight anymore.

Homer, rumor has it, is a victim of a car crash behind the store before the building was built. There is a cliff that has a hotel on it directly behind the store and somehow, we assume suicide, the man drove off the cliff to his demise.

As for me I just deal with Homer when I have to and leave him be. He hasn’t hurt anyone, just frightened a few people. If I feel particularly disturbed in one area of the store I do something else and go back later.

Another Haunted Toys R Us

I saw the stories you had about the Haunted TRU in Sunnyvale, CA. I’am not sure if you still keep the information updated, but I wanted to send an email to validate the stories of haunted Toys R Us stores.

I had worked for Toys R Us for many years and actually worked with a manager that had worked in the Sunnyvale store at the time that Ripley’s did the story with Jack Pallance. She happen to bring it up one day and just like what was said in your story she claimed weird things happened quite often. I was a skeptic, as are most people that heard the story. I transfered up to a Toys R Us in another location and oddly enough there was stories of a ghost named “Lazarus”, named after our founder and CEO at the time, haunting the store.

Over numerous years at the store working night crews, remodels and early morning shifts I believed! Two seperate occasions stick in my mind whenever I think about it, the first was in Feb. 1997 when we had a horrible ice storm that knocked out the power in town and we got the ok to shut down and send everyone home. I was alone with the Assistant Store Director waiting for a security guard to arrive so we could leave, and we heard a crash down a back aisle sounding like a group of books had fallen in our BORUS area, Books R Us area. I ran back to see what happened and there was nothing wrong, but I heard a slide whistle sound walking away in the store rooms. We were alone and she, the ASD, was on the phone up in the front of the store. That is when I believed!

A number of years later, in 1999, I returned as a manager and was running a remodel of the store. I was in the store one night with a small crew merchandising. I was alone in the rear of the store and the remainder of the crew was in the seasonal area up front. I was filling holes in a perimeter wall, with a storeroom on the back of the wall I was working. I heard a box drop on the other side so I walked back to put it up, figuring I shook the box when I was loading up the shelves. No boxes had fallen and I felt someone starring at me from the top of the stairs into our mez. Needless to say I headed up front real quick to turn on all the lights in the store and from that point on I never worked that area or went back into that store room while working a night crew again.

There are other stories from people that say they actually saw movement or heard voices, one person was actually hit in the head, while in the mez, knocking her unconscious after talking about the ghost. I have since left the company in 2000, but I still talk with the folks I worked with and “Lazarus” is still around the store.

3 Replies to “Haunted Toys R Us (Sunnyvale, CA)”

  1. Used to live in the area, frequented this store often, occurred about 1987 or so, end of the stuffed animal isle with my infant and toddler who were in the cart, I saw a skate board with a teddy bear sitting on it roll down the end isle, it was cute, I was in the middle of the isle, I wanted to see who pushed this and no one was there, I walked down the middle isles to see if I could find anyone but there was no on there. Mind you this was a early morning, weekday when there were few customers around, years later I found this place was haunted and at that time frequented the stuffed animal isle.

  2. hey gess what i went to the toys r us in sunnyvale and i saw there a guy that looks like the guy on the you tube video that looks like the guy who died on the land of toys r us and he keeps looking at me and laughing and he was wearing what everyone that work there wearing and he sounds like that guy too no only that i hella ran out of the store so fast i fell down on the side walk really hard and got up and ran a gin i got scard i went there today dem its still hunted how old would that guy johnny johnson will be today

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