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Unlock The Door Holly

Holly, Western New York, USA
September 2007

In the summertime, I have a seasonal job working at the Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown, New York. People often confuse it with the actual Fort Niagara, which is right next door, and still contains what was once famous battle grounds years ago. I had not been there since I was in fourth grade or so, I don't have the interest. But I had often heard a variety of stories of the spirits that haunted the French Castle and the grounds it stood on.

A requirement of the job was making sure the bathrooms in the pool area were clean throughout the day. The supply room was located in the back of the bathroom are, with a door on either side- one leading to the men's room, and the other to the ladies room. Obviously, one of the three male employees were in charge of the men's side, and the girls for the ladies. Both doors would be locked when not in use, but only from the outside. Due to the fact that our office only had one key, either a boy or girl would open their own door, then open the other so the opposite gender could get inside for cleaning supplies.

On one particular slow day last July, I had been ordered to go tidy up the girls side on my own, and was given the key. The girls bathroom was empty by that point in the late afternoon. I turned on the light in the very run-down supply closet. It really wasn't a pretty sight among all the pumps and bathroom pipes.

In whatever manner that old place was built, the pipes from the boys bathroom ran overhead, above the doorways and along the ceiling in the girls bathroom. They were very old and very rusty, though were not going to be replaced anytime soon. I had just put on a pair of gloves and grabbed a bottle of windex, and was heading towards the girls bathroom when there was a knock on the door which lead to the boys side. Due to nosey pool patrons always trying to get inside the room (I don't see the appeal either), we are also required to make sure there is an employee outside the door before letting them in (silly rule, I know). I called out the names of the three boys I worked with, and when there was no response, I assumed it was a bratty little boy and was going to attempt to get the cleaning done. But before I had managed to leave the supply area, there was another knock. I was about to shout 'cut it out', but first heard "Holly, let me in". It sounded similar to one of the boys, and certainly none of the patrons knew my name. I turned around to open the door, but the handle would not turn, as though it was locked, which they never were from the inside. I gave it a few more tries, in tune to "Open the door, Hol". At that point, I figured it was my co-worker, Bryan, as he was the only person who referred to me as 'Hol'. The handle still remained locked, and classifying it as yet another broken thing at work, I told Bryan through the door that I would come around to the entrance of the boys bathroom and just give him the key. But before I even finished the statement, "NO! DON'T!" was screamed. I assured him that both bathrooms were empty, and there was nothing in a boys bathroom that I had not seen in the past, but he continued demanding that I don't do it.
The handle was jiggling, from a struggle on Bryan's side, so I assisted him hoping the lock was only stuck. Suddenly behind me, a set of pipes from the ceiling broke off and fell to the cement floor, taking down the wooden shelves on its way. The mangled mess lay right in front of the door that I would have gone out of to get into the girls bathroom. Slightly shaken by that, I twisted the door handle one last time, and the boys door opened.
Bryan was not there, so I ran through the boys bathroom and to our office, assuming that's where Bryan had taken off to, ready to report the noise. He stood just inside the office doorway, talking with our supervisor, and gave me a concerned glare. I frantically explained that I was trying to let Bryan in. My supervisor snarled at me, having no idea what I was talking about. When I asked Bryan to explain his side, he simply asked "what do you mean?".
"Inside the supply closet, didn't you hear that?". He shook his head. "Just now, when I was trying to let you in, you wouldn't let me bring you the key. That's rather fortunate, I probably could have been killed". He then told me that he had been down the park beach picking up garbage, and had not been inside the bathroom at all that day.

We asked the other co-workers, no one was in the bathroom, and there were no patrons at the pool at the time it happened. As easily as Bryan could have been lying, simply to play a trick on me, could someone, or something, else been keeping me away from what could have been my own disaster? Surely enough, there's a good chance that I wouldn't have been standing in the exact spot that those pipes and the shelves fell, but at the same time, why did the door only unlock afterwards?

I am still employed there.

Holly, Western New York, USA
00:00 / 01:04
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