Sometimes the office can be a bit of a nightmare – whether it is your boss, the space you work in, or your busy-bodying colleagues who give you the creeps. But think again – what if you worked in an office which was actually haunted? These five offices are known for their paranormal activity…they are not the kind of places in which you’d want to work late.
1. Bush House, London, England
Until quite recently, Bush House was the home of the BBC World Service. Officially the corporation left because the lease on the premises expired, but there may be other, more sinister explanations as to why Auntie took off in 2012.
It is alleged that the area – which was once the BBC bar and gym – is haunted by a hazy female figure. And itâ??s not just us for whom Bush House conjures up feelings of haunting and eeriness; the building is said to have inspired George Orwell to come up with the idea of Room 101 and the Ministry of Truth’s canteen in his novel, 1984.
These days the South West wing of Bush House is occupied by HM Revenue & Customs – so ghosts or no ghosts – there are sure to be plenty of frightening things going on.
2. Ceres House, Lincoln, England
One morning in the mid-1980s, a former driver-handyman saw a faint, misty man appear through the southern wall, walk through the room, and then disappear into the adjacent wall.
Spookier still, in 2010 a staff member driving past the building at midnight saw some lights on inside. Not spooky you say? A strange phenomenon when the lights can only activated by a motion-sensor. Faulty circuits? A mouse, something tipping over? Scepticism? Rational thought? Why let such things get in the way of imagination and a good story?
Sightings in modern office buildings are relatively rare but Ceres House, which was built in 1977, shows that no office – old or new – is necessarily safe from the clutches of spectres and paranormal activity.
3. High Royds Asylum, West Yorkshire, UK
Although not strictly an office, High Royds Asylum – an abandoned, dilapidated ex-hospital – is of interest to urban explorers and those with a curiosity in the institutionalisation of mental illness. High Royds is perhaps one of the most well-known asylums in the UK, noted for its controversial treatment of patients (including electro-shock therapy).
Many visitors argue that the past residents’ energy can still be felt. This is quite a common claim in many asylums, and such feelings become amplified in one which has been abandoned. Pubs, old homes and churches are some of the most common locations for ghost sightings, but there is something quite believable about a haunted asylum story. High Royds has its fair share of ghostly goings-on, with electrical appliances turning on and off for no reason as well as strange noises emanating from the building. Some ex-workers have even claimed that such disturbances have followed them home…
4. The Old Workhouse, Derry, Northern Ireland
Again, another a place of work if not strictly an office. Much like asylums and hospitals, old workhouses tend to have their fair share of ghost sightings. Like the aforementioned buildings, workhouses elicit many of the same sorts of sensations and feelings. Such buildings – having been designed with experiment, imprisonment and / or punishment in mind – have often seen their fair share of horrors, so that â??supernaturalâ?? feeling or â??energyâ?? is not surprising.
The Old Workhouse is alleged to be haunted by the spirit of the Blue Guardian, who had a penchant for locking up children in her cupboard. The story goes that on one occasion, she went away to visit her ill sister. Upon return, she unlocked the cupboard to discover two dead children – she had locked them up prior to her trip and forgotten about them. Stricken with grief, the Blue Guardian died of a broken heart. Her spirit is said to roam the corridors of the building in an eternity of remorse.
The Old Workhouse has since been converted into a hospital and, most recently in 1997, a museum. Many of the staff and visitors claim they have seen an apparition, and many past patients say they are soothed by an unusual, gentle and calming presence.
5. Kentucky State Office, Frankfort, USA
Casting our net a little bit further field is the USA; America has a rich tradition of local legends from which to pick from. The one which stands out most is the Kentucky State Office – a place commonly frequented by ghost hunters – as it ticks all the boxes for a classic Hollywood movie setting. It also happens to be built on a top of an asylum.
Shadows, voices and the feeling of being watched are the most common reports. One woman reported hearing voices and the shuffling of papers in the cubicle next to hers when working late alone in the office. In another instance, a man said he saw a full-blown apparition staring at him as he ran towards an elevator which was just about to close – only to find no one standing there when he reopened the elevator two seconds later.
No one works late at the building any more. Whether this is to do with the hauntings or just the fact that nobody wishes to work longer hours, remains to be seen.
This guest post is written by Heather McKay on behalf of Flexioffices, a service office space provider, based in London UK. Ghostbusting services are not included.