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The Fourth Floor

June 2004

All my life I've been very sensitive to all things supernatural. I supposed it has to do with my father never discouraging me to believe what my senses tell me. He has also had quite a few memorable encounters with those things that not everyone can see. Needless to say, I have many many ghost stories that I could share, but I thought I would share the one that scared me the most.

Normally I'm nervous, tense, whatever you want to call it when I run into something that "shouldn't be there." Very rarely do I honestly feel unsafe. It was this one time that I felt so unbelievably afraid that I refused to ever return to the place where it occured if I was by myself. (The fact that I returned at all will be made clear later)

After College, I was trying to find one of those "temporary jobs until I can start my career," when I decided to apply to a security company. I impressed my boss enough in the interview that he decided to keep me as a beat security guard for a few weeks only. After a little experience in the field, he wanted me to go to work at the dispatch center. I would be the graveyard dispatcher.

"There is just one catch," he told me. He had me sit down in his office and asked me if I believed in ghosts. I told him that I did. He asked if I would be willing to work in a building that was haunted. I told him that I could do that because, although I believe in ghosts, they don't really scare me. They just make me nervous.

He then explained that I would be the graveyard dispatcher at our dispatch center. I would work five nights a week from the hours of 11 pm to 7 am. The dispatch center was a hundred year old hotel that had been converted into an office building. Since it was a historical landmark, none of the original architecture could be taken out, the builders could only add on to it. I told him that I would be okay with that. He wanted to make sure so he told me about a dispatcher who had quit a year earlier. She had been riding in the elevator when "something" grabbed her elbow. She left the post and called them from home to say that she quit and would never go back. I told my boss that I could handle it.

A couple weeks later I started the new position as graveyard dispatcher. My first night there, I could see why anyone would find the place creepy. It still looked like a hotel. In fact, I felt like i was on the set of some b-rated scary movie. To get into the building, I walked through one door of 2 sets of huge double doors. They were ornate wood and glass. I walked in and the first thing I noticed was the huge glass chandeliers hanging over my head. The other light source in this front entry was were the wall sconces.

To my left were two elevators and to my right was a front desk. The front desk was the type that used to be in old hotels where they would greet guests and check them into the hotel. Directly in front of me was another double set of double wood and glass doors. Beyond those doors was a huge ballroom that appeared to now be used as a foyer of some sort. There was even a fountain in the foyer.

The dispatcher I would be relieving gave me a tour of the place. And with that tour came another kind of warning about it. There were eight floors to the building. Janitorial would be in the building until about midnight or 1 am. After that, I would be the only person in the building. All the doors would be locked so no one could get in but I would have to be careful about the "ones who were already there."

After Janitorial leaves, I was supposed to check all eight floors. I would have to make sure that all the doors to the offices were locked and then turn off all the lights. I was pretty sure that this responsibility was going to suck but I figured it couldn't be that bad. That is until the tour continued upstairs. I then discovered how much of a "movie set" i was in. The wall sconces continued upstairs as well. When I got out of the elevator on the upper floors, I saw that there were a couple of offices to my right and a long hallway to my left where the rest of the offices were. This was the same on every floor.

The only problem is, as I stated earlier, nothing in this historical monument could be removed. There were windows that had been bricked up because they no longer faced out. There were doors with no handles because they didn't go anywhere anymore. There was even a hallway that had been sealed off with a wall of bricks. You could see where everything had been originally because they had bricked it with the thought that it should be seen rather than to have it blend in. The worst part was the location of the light switch that would turn off the power for the floor. The light switch was in a closet directly across from the elevator going past that long hallway. Let's just say it's not much fun to kill the lights for the floor (except for the saftey lights and the glowing green exit sign at the end of the hallway) and then have to walk past that darkened hallway to get back into the elevator.

Let me further explain the set of the story by telling you about the ballroom downstairs. In the ballroom were the old elevator shafts. They had been the original elevators in the building. They were still there but had been converted into storage closets. On that side of the building, there wasn't really a second floor because the architects had wanted an exceptionally high ceiling. There was only a balcony that ran the perimeter of the room on what would have been the second floor. In order to get to the restroom, the dispatcher would have to leave the front desk and walk the length of the ballroom (under the balcony) to the opposite side of the room.

Now that I have laid the groundwork for the setting, let me tell you what I was told that first night about "the ones already in the building." I was told to watch out for the sixth floor. A ghost of a scorned lover inhabited that floor. She had killed her self in the hotel after her fiance married another woman. I was told that she made her presence known with the smell of perfume or roses. I was also told that there were children that liked to play with the elevators. They would make the elevators run by themselves at strange hours of the night. There is a lady in white and a man in a bowler hat who like to walk the balcony in the ballroom. And there were many more reports that I could tell but are not necessary.

One final caveat, I was told that the property managers knew that the place was haunted and that as employees, we were not allowed to talk about it to anyone who came in the building.

That first night, nothing happened. But in the months that followed, I would see the elevators move by themselves. At which point I would tell the "children" to knock it off because I was too tired to deal with them. They were kind enough to oblige when I asked. I would hear footsteps and pants/skirts rustling in the ballroom at 2 am. To me, it sounded like I was hearing a ghostly party going on in the ballroom. I would hear a phantom front desk bell (the kind used to ring for service) at 2 or 3 am. I learned to say that there were no vacancies to get the bell to stop. I also heard more and more stories from people who worked in the building when they would come in in the morning. Apparently very few people were willing to stay in the building past normal working hours.

All of this was creepy but I could deal with it. That is, until the night of the incident on the fourth floor. I was doing my normal lock ups at about 1 am. (Janitorial had been late leaving that night.) I started on the eighth floor and worked my way down. I could smell roses on the 6th floor and said hi to the ghost. I asked her to be kind to me that night as I was tired and had a lot of work to do. Despite letting me know she was there with her perfume, she did not make an appearance. I saw the elevator operator who guards the elevators on several of the floors. BTW, you can never see him if you're looking directly at him. He's only visible in peripheral vision.

I was a little nervous because the paranormal activity seemed to be more noticable than usual but I brushed it off as I was tired and being more emotional than usual. That is, until I reached the fourth floor. I walked out of the elevator on the fourth floor and walked down the hallway to make sure all the doors were locked. I didn't find anything unusual but did notice that I felt like I was being watched as I walked back toward the elevators. I figured one of the "children" might be playing on that floor. I went to my left and entered the closet with the light switches and turned off the lights for the floor.

I then started to walk past the now darkened hallway to the elevators. I don't know what made me look to my right, down that hallway, but look I did. I looked down the hallway and it took a few moments to understand what had grabbed my attention. I got that feeling you get when you're looking at something, and you know something is wrong, but it takes a few seconds for you to pinpoint what that thing is. There is a green electric exit sign at the end of every hallway. When the lights are turned off, there are two safety lights on in the elevator bay and that green exit sign at the end. My point is, when standing in the elevator bay, I can see to the end of every hallway even when the lights are turned off.

I realized, after a few seconds, that I COULDN'T see to the end of the hallway. About half way down was a dark shape. It appeared to be crouching down on the floor of the hallway. I could see around it, but I couldn't see through it so I knew that it was not a shadow. Foolish person that I am, I took a few steps into the hallway trying to better see what was in the hallway. Two thoughts occured to me at once. One; I had just been down that hallway and nothing was there. Two; it looked like person and there was NO ONE else in the building. I continued to stare at the crouching figure and I suddenly felt this overwhelming sense of dread and danger. I was getting this "vibe" that this was this "creature's" domain and I was not welcome there. I felt that if I stayed, it was going to try to do some sort of mortal damage to me.

Needless to say, I ran to the elevators and went downstairs. I never went back upstairs that night and so did not finish checking all the doors. Unfortunately, I could not afford to leave that job. I told my boss the next morning what had happened. Sadly, he did not seem surprised. From that moment on, I continued to do my job like I was supposed to, but I would never return to the fourth floor after dark if I was alone. The supernatural activity continued in the months that followed that night. However, nothing ever made me feel as if I was in mortal danger like that thing in the hallway on the fourth floor had that one fateful night.

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