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Is Your Office Haunted?
By: RSS/News FeedsHungZai Team

Many people describe their place of employment as a horror story. But some try to claim it’s the work of a ghost.

Maybe the spirits have decided that spooky mansions and creepy battlefields are passé. Maybe they want to cash in on the glamour of corporate life. Maybe they just wanted the sushi.

In Orlando, Fla., a landlord is in court battling his tenant, a Japanese restaurant, for backing out of a lease. According to the landlord’s complaint, the eatery’s owners decided not to move in because they heard the premises “were allegedly haunted by ghosts, unworldly characters, ungodly spirits and apparitions.” Too hard a story to digest? Well know this: The landlord offered to exorcise the premises, but the restaurant owners declined. The case is ongoing.

Not even lawyers are spared. Gloria McCary, a deputy district attorney in Socorro, N.M., says that her former office had a ghost. She says she and some of her colleagues heard noises and voices they couldn’t explain. Once when preparing for a felony trial, McCary heard a chair and files being moved in the office next door–but no one was there. Another time she heard typing coming from a keyboard that wasn’t being used.

McCary enjoyed the experience. “It would be really cool to know who it was,” she says. “I thought working in a haunted office was incredibly interesting.”

Interesting until closing time, at least–when the ghost became a good reason to high-tail it home. “The building was so frightening after dark that I took work home,” says McCary. The district attorney’s office has since moved to a newer building.

McCary’s account will be published in a book about workplace hauntings due out next year from Atriad Press. Some of the book’s other stories, which are still being collected, are about seemingly paranormal activity at an embassy building, a toy store, a university building and a horse stable.

Ghosts, it seems, are not often spotted in modern offices. Paranormal investigators offer several theories as to why. Ghosts might not like new buildings’ “environmental conditions”–such as metal and concrete construction or fluorescent lights, says Vince Wilson, author of Ghost Tech and president of the Maryland Paranormal Investigators Coalition. Rosemary Ellen Guiley, author of The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, says ghosts hang out in places that had a high emotional content–not that offices aren’t the site of strong emotions, she says, but “it’s a different consciousness than what people engage in at home.”

Lingering spirits seem to turn up a lot at restaurants and bed and breakfasts, two business types that are able to capitalize on ghost sightings. Moss Beach Distillery in Moss Beach, Calif., advertises its ghost, nicknamed “The Blue Lady,” on its Web site.

The restaurant let General Electric-owned NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries run a story on her, a paranormal paramour who employees believe was a young, married woman who had an affair–possibly with the restaurant’s piano player–before dying in a car accident. Susan Broderick, an accountant at the distillery, says that one night when she was working, the printer–or the Blue Lady–mysteriously spewed out a nearly blank page with only a heart on it. She says every time Unsolved Mysteries reruns the episode, curious customers show up.

Leave it to lawyers to see potential differently. Loyd Auerbach, director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations, and author of A Paranormal Casebook, says ten years ago a ghostly figure was frequently spotted walking in a hallway near law offices at an older building in San Francisco. Auerbach believes the figure had no consciousness but was a “repeating phenomenon,” like a videotape of a past event.

One of the attorneys there thought it would be fun for a local television station to report on the apparition, Auerbach says, but another partner was afraid that the resulting publicity could lead to lawsuits from employees alleging a hostile work environment. “People sue over the strangest things in workplaces,” says Auerbach. “It would take an attorney to think of that.” Auerbach says that the ghostly figure was never publicized and that the law firm has since moved to a different building.

If you think your office is haunted, remember that not every strange sound or spilled coffee can be attributed to ghosts. Don’t jump to blame your computer problems on them, either. One paranormal investigator in North Carolina, no fan of Microsoft’s (nasdaq: MSFT – news – people ) operating system, says he has had to explain to people “that if you’re running Windows, you have a much bigger problem than ghosts.”

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