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Just Another Day At The Office

October 2001

When I first started working at the hospital where I am currently employed, my office was in one of the older out buildings. The area where the hospital is located is a more historical area of Downtown Baltimore. The hospital itself is well over 150 years old and the building where I worked was built in the late 20's or early 30's.

When I went to interview for the job, I wasn't particularly unnerved by the building. Remodeling made it appear reasonably modern despite the art deco architectural style.

When I first started working my co-workers told me stories about how the building used to be a morgue and laboratories. That didn't bother me all that much. I suppose being a ghost hunter and growing up in a haunted house have a way of making you just accept the possibility that you might encounter yet another ghost.

The first week I noticed that the elevators seemed to have a mind of their own. Sometimes you would get on an elevator marked up and it would go down or vice versa. Other times I would walk towards the elevators, but before I could even reach my hand out to push a button, the doors would open. Other times I would step on an elevator and sensing someone behind me, I would put my hand in front of the sensor so the door didn't close. Most of the time no one was there. Once, while on the elevator alone, I felt someone brush against me. These experiences did leave me feeling slightly uneasy, but nothing severe.

After a month they moved me from the fifth floor to the first floor and that is when my "ghost radar" really kicked in.

My new office was located halfway between the front and back of the building across from the elevators. When you walked in there was a main reception area and waiting room to your left and a hallway leading to office to your right. Down that hall on the right was a hallway and file cabinets and to the left were 2 offices. At the very end was the Vice Presidents office. The office was very small and you could hear the goings on in each of the offices unless the doors were closed.

My first day in the new office was pretty uneventful. I had to get used to the sound of the elevators being right outside the door. I also had to get used to the fact that I was quite literally underground. Each office had a window, but the windows looked out to staircase and cement support wall. This only lent to the feeling of unease and dreariness that I felt upon walking into that office.

Fairly quickly I adapted to my new surroundings, but I still felt very uneasy. Often I would feel that someone was staring at the back of my head. Sometimes I just couldn't resist the urge to turn around and look. I found this kind of funny since I was right against a wall. If I even leaned back in my chair, I would hit the wall behind my desk. Other times I would see someone out of the corner of my eye standing in the hallway leading to the offices. When I would look over or up, no one would be there.

One thing I noticed that really made me nervous was that when I was in the office alone, I could hear someone walking in the hallway. A few times I would get up to investigate, thinking that one of the directors had come into the office while I was in the ladies room. Every time I would find nothing.

I'll never forget the night I stayed late to help my boss get ready for a big presentation. She left before I did and I thought that since I was already there and it was quiet, that I would use that time to check my overflowing voice mail box. I was about half way through my messages when I heard the door to the office open. I looked over and the door was closed tight. The hair on the back of my desk stood up straight. I hung up the phone, grabbed my bag, and hurried out of the office.

The next morning when I went to work I found the other secretary sitting in her chair with a confused look on her face. When I asked what was wrong, she said that when she came in, the door was locked and the lights were off, but when she entered the office, she could hear the sound of someone moving around in the Vice President's office. She thought he had come in early, so she went to say good morning. His door was standing wide open with the light on but no one was there. When she had left the night before she turned off the lights and closed the door as always. When the VP came in that morning, she asked if he had come back into work the night before. He said no. I thought she was going to faint.

That day she began to open up. She told me about the times she would feel as though she weren't alone, heard the sounds of someone moving around in one of the offices even though no one was there, and how the elevators seemed to have a mind of their own. It turns out that she too often saw a tall, thin man standing in the hallway leading to the offices. Quite a few times she saw a man turn the corner into the back office. She told me that the occurrences were at times so frequent that she could almost accept them as a part of daily office life.

Even though most experiences were not extreme, we did have some "biggies". Here are the some of the most memorable:

1) We all had left the office for a lunch meeting and locked the door. Upon returning we found the door still locked, but when we entered the office we found several boxes stacked against the wall. That didn't scare us. What did was the fact that these boxes had been stacked in a locked cabinet in the VP's office. He was the only one with a key to that cabinet and he had been sitting in the meeting the entire time. We put the boxes back in the cabinet and all went back to work, trying to pretend nothing happened.

2) One day a co-worker and I were hanging Halloween decorations in the front reception area when suddenly we heard a loud crash from the office at the end of the hall. The VP was out of the country, therefore his office was closed and the door was locked. Thinking that someone or something must have broken through the window, we called security. When they got there, both of us were standing out in the hallway, our knees quaking. Security searched the back office (not a big job since it was only about 20' x 14') and the rest of the rooms. They found nothing. Not even a paper clip laying on the floor.

3) One night the other assistant and I stayed late to organize some files. It was getting late and we were both tired so we decided to run around the corner for some coffee. To get to the coffee shop you had to walk down a little cut through and then up a fairly busy street. The cut through was between our building and another. As we were walking along we thought we saw someone standing at one of the fire escape doors, which are glass with metal bars covering them. When I looked the man just blinked out. One minute he was there and the next he wasn't. My coworker grabbed my arm and dragged me down the cut way. We took the long way back. When we got into the office a box of papers that had been sitting on the floor was scattered from one end of the hallway to the other. We both ran out of the office, deciding to take care of it in the morning. When we arrived in the morning the papers were back in the box.

Shortly there after my direct supervisor left to take on a new position. Further downsizing resulted in my transferring to another department within the hospital. Shortly thereafter the VP and his assistant moved to another space within the hospital. Right now that office sits empty. Of course there are still other offices in that building and employees in those office have their own stories to tell....

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