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Old 11th July 2015, 05:41 PM   #1
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My Ghost Story

OK, to begin with, I am an extremely skeptical person. I do not believe in ghosts, EVPs, or any of that nonsense.

Nevertheless, I had an experience not to long ago, that I am struggling to come up with a rational explanation for.

I am a consultant by trade, I specialize in building inspections for environmental, Health and Safety issues. Last year, I had a project that involved an inspection and inventory of all the different ceilings in a large, high school building where portions of the buildings were built in various phases from the late 1800's on.

Even though it was summer, we had to do the work from 3:00 to 11:00 in the evening. With the exception of a few people in the admin wing, the building essentially emptied out at 5:00.

The first two nights, I had an assistant with me and we got about 90% of the work done. The third night I was by myself and trying to finish up some minor areas that we had trouble accessing the first two nights. My client contact had mentioned that the building could sometimes get creepy late at night, but I didn't really pay any attention to that. I'm used to how old masonry and wood framed buildings shift and creak as they cool down in the evening.

Back in the early 20th century it was common to build schools with an auditorium on the 1st and 2nd floor, and the gym on the third floor above the auditorium. This was a 4 story building so they even had a nice balcony on the gym accessible from the 4th floor. It was getting late, and I was on the fourth floor by the gym balcony when I noticed a set of stairs leading up.

Curious, I went up them to see if there was an accessible attic. there was. there was a large space that had at one time served as the school locker room. there was a long gallery with a tongue and groove wood floor and hard plaster walls about 18 feet wide running about 60 feet long with a shower room at the other end. The lights worked, so I went down across the room and inspected the showers, no issues for me to deal with. there was another set of stairs leading down from that end, and something about that area was making me a bit edgy.

Maybe it was just the thought that "If there is a rotted floorboard up here, and I get hurt, it's going to be a while before they find me."

I was planning to just head down the other set of stairs, but there was a problem, the light switches were at the end I came from

So, I reluctantly turned around and began walking back across the old locker room to the other stairwell so I could turn off the lights behind me.

Man that was one creaky floor. Funny, it didn't seem that noisy when I walked across it the first time. I get to the other end and at the top of the stairs and I stop to turn off the lights.

I stopped. However, the floorboards did not stop creaking. For about 6-7 seconds, the creaking sound came towards me as if someone was walking across the floor, following me.

I didn't run, but I got the hell out of there as fast as I could, thoroughly creeped out. Now logically I could attribute this simply to the old floors and joists settling back into place after I walked over them.

But I have never heard that happen that loudly or for that long after you stopped moving.

Structurally, the joists should have been running across the locker room from side to side, not lengthwise, so I doubt that me standing at one spot would have affected the floor 15 feet further down the room.

I found out later that the Engineer was very familiar with the "Ghost." According to him, he has heard footsteps in the building when he knows he is alone.

As for me, it was just plain creepy, and I keep telling myself that it was just a structural issue. . . .
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Old 11th July 2015, 06:10 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Alferd_Packer View Post
OK, to begin with, I am an extremely skeptical person.
The story, on the other hand, does not comport with that claim.

A "extreme" skeptic repeats an experiment under the same conditions as opposed to running away. There wouldn't be the slightest thought about spooks.

It would be a pretty casual "oh, that's interesting - let's do it again" affair.
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Old 11th July 2015, 06:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
The story, on the other hand, does not comport with that claim.

A "extreme" skeptic repeats an experiment under the same conditions as opposed to running away. There wouldn't be the slightest thought about spooks.

It would be a pretty casual "oh, that's interesting - let's do it again" affair.
Maybe.

I had no desire to play around on the floor if it was structurally deficient, a possibility I was not discounting.
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Old 11th July 2015, 06:21 PM   #4
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Im willing to accept reasonable explanations for the phenomena.
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Old 11th July 2015, 06:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Alferd_Packer View Post
Maybe.

I had no desire to play around on the floor if it was structurally deficient, a possibility I was not discounting.
That makes no sense. You submitted professional credentials as a building safety inspector, state that structural deficiency was a significant possibility, but on the other hand left without further consideration of the school children's lives you have now put at risk.

In court, at your criminal negligence trial, will you be offering the mitigating factor that a ghost scared you off your job?
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Old 11th July 2015, 06:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
The story, on the other hand, does not comport with that claim.

A "extreme" skeptic repeats an experiment under the same conditions as opposed to running away. There wouldn't be the slightest thought about spooks.

It would be a pretty casual "oh, that's interesting - let's do it again" affair.
A proper skeptic considers competing hypotheses, strange as some of them may be.
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Old 11th July 2015, 06:59 PM   #7
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We lack sufficient information. You should return to the school and investigate the creepy locker room further, as soon as you can round up a few friends.
You'll need a jock, a hot red head, a somewhat cute, but frumpy girl with brains and glasses, oh, and a Great Dane with an insatiable appetite. Bonus points if you have a van already.
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Old 11th July 2015, 07:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Alferd_Packer View Post
Im willing to accept reasonable explanations for the phenomena.
Of course, and there probably is one. Nevertheless, you had what you would consider an experience that's outside the norm.

So let's consider the competing hypothesis: something extraordinary was at work (ghost, some latent psi-power you have, an alien (or matrix programmer) having fun freaking you out, etc.).

What I'm interested in is what probability would you give the extraordinary hypothesis?
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Old 11th July 2015, 07:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
A proper skeptic considers competing hypotheses, strange as some of them may be.
I couldn't agree more. Ghost cheerleaders. It raises certain ethical questions. If they are 17 at death but 117 at present, are they beyond age of consent?
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Old 11th July 2015, 07:35 PM   #10
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Is it possible that the floorboards become depressed when you stand on them and that they slowly move back into their original position after you remove your weight so that some of them are sliding back into place a few seconds later?

The reputation for having a ghost maybe just comes from a number of people hearing the same unusual sound of the floorboards.

There's an old building that my dad's town council meet in that was reputed to be haunted. A workman that they asked to do some construction in refused to go back after he was scared by a "ghost". So his superstition has cost him a pay packet.
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Old 11th July 2015, 07:59 PM   #11
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Sounds like you answered your own question.

My guess is those floor boards were just popping back into place. You were likely the first person to walk on them in a long time. I'm sure it sounded weird, it's happened to me.
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Old 11th July 2015, 08:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Alferd_Packer View Post
Im willing to accept reasonable explanations for the phenomena.
Sorry to nitpick, but if you had an unexplained squeaking floor, that is one issue. So in this case, it would be a "phenomenon," not the plural, phenomena. I've known Ryan Buell, founder of the Penn State Paranormal Research Society (PRS), who 'starred' in the A&E TV show, Paranormal State- to do the opposite- use the singular "phenomenon" when he should have used the plural, phenomena. I believe the following quote is attributed to Ryan on page one of the PRS Handbook, "We hope to educate those who are experiencing phenomenon..." Ryan majored in Journalism. It happens.

I took so long to write this, I see angrysoba, and Axxman300 already suggested you compressed some floor boards when you walked across the floor, and some of them temporarily stuck down, which after short time- they slowly popped back up. That could've made it sound as if someone was walking towards you.

Go back and try it again like Mike! already suggested. Maybe at the same time of day as before. Maybe even same day of the week. Same weather (humidity?) conditions. And try other days of the week, different times of day. I don't feel I have enough information to determine the cause, but I wonder if the squeaking floorboards is easily repeatable. As in, no ghost.

Depending on the condition of a rotten floor board, I'm not sure if a rotten floor board would squeak, because it might not be dimensionally strong enough to squeak, but might rather disintegrate without a squeak. Depends.
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Old 11th July 2015, 09:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
I couldn't agree more. Ghost cheerleaders. It raises certain ethical questions. If they are 17 at death but 117 at present, are they beyond age of consent?
To what, exactly, could a "ghost" consent?
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Old 11th July 2015, 09:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Slowvehicle View Post
To what, exactly, could a "ghost" consent?
Inspection, obviously. He's an inspector.

The floor is probably a sleeper system. (For soundproofing.) You get more floorboard deflection over a wider area.
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Old 12th July 2015, 05:25 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Alferd_Packer View Post
Im willing to accept reasonable explanations for the phenomena.
You made up the story either out of whole cloth or are enhancing a memory.
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Old 12th July 2015, 05:35 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
You made up the story either out of whole cloth or are enhancing a memory.

Or he was remote-viewing scenes from The Gallows, precognitively.
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Old 12th July 2015, 06:54 AM   #17
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Alferd_Packer, did the tongue and groove floorboards have any finish on them? And, do you know if the old boards were cut quartersawn, as compared to plainsawn, riftsawn, or livesawn?

Do you know how the boards were attached or connected, such as were they nailed together, and what type of nail?

Three primary types of forces that act on a board are compression, tension and shear, and happen when a board bends.

Are the boards attached to a sub-floor?

To be really inquisitive, it would be helpful to know the humidity, and the moisture content of the wood. Wood has a tangental-to-radial shrinkage-expansion ratio, and might also be a factor in squeaky boards.

I think you experienced squeaky boards due to a natural causation. Need more info to determine exactly what caused what you experienced. But seems entirely normal. Not paranormal.
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Old 12th July 2015, 07:36 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Is it possible that the floorboards become depressed when you stand on them and that they slowly move back into their original position after you remove your weight so that some of them are sliding back into place a few seconds later?
I think that that is the most logical answer. Certainly the structure of that part of the building is unusual. the 3rd, 4th and 5 floors were added on a few years after the 1st and 2nd were built.

it was weird, though. It seemed too slow to be normal.
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Old 12th July 2015, 07:39 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
You made up the story either out of whole cloth or are enhancing a memory.
I am not making the story up.

My memory of the incident was is quite clear, there was a distinct and drawn out period where the sounds continued after I stopped, long enough for me to turn around and look behind me while they were still happening.
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Old 12th July 2015, 07:42 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Ernie M View Post
Alferd_Packer, did the tongue and groove floorboards have any finish on them? And, do you know if the old boards were cut quartersawn, as compared to plainsawn, riftsawn, or livesawn?

Do you know how the boards were attached or connected, such as were they nailed together, and what type of nail?

Three primary types of forces that act on a board are compression, tension and shear, and happen when a board bends.

Are the boards attached to a sub-floor?

To be really inquisitive, it would be helpful to know the humidity, and the moisture content of the wood. Wood has a tangental-to-radial shrinkage-expansion ratio, and might also be a factor in squeaky boards.

I think you experienced squeaky boards due to a natural causation. Need more info to determine exactly what caused what you experienced. But seems entirely normal. Not paranormal.
I am familiar with squeaky floorboards.

usually the squeak when you put your weight down on them, then squeek again when the weight is removed. they don;t generally stay depressed and slowly squeak back into uncompressed state.

As the the floor itself, I don't remember too much detail, but I would assume that they were hard maple installed directly ontop of the floor joists.
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Old 12th July 2015, 07:46 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
Inspection, obviously. He's an inspector.

The floor is probably a sleeper system. (For soundproofing.) You get more floorboard deflection over a wider area.
The room was not hat wide. think of a building with a long hallway and rooms on either side. The locker room was directly over the hallway below.
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Old 12th July 2015, 07:54 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Alferd_Packer View Post
I am not making the story up.

My memory of the incident was is quite clear, there was a distinct and drawn out period where the sounds continued after I stopped, long enough for me to turn around and look behind me while they were still happening.
It was late at night, it was a large space, you were alone. But were you? At the back of your mind you were scared as you ventured into this unkown dark space late at night, no-one else around. You were hypervigilant. The creaking floorboards still creaking 6-7 seconds later, creeped you out!

S C R E A M !

How do you think horror film writers write their scripts? This age old spooky feeling.

All you needed was thunder and lightning and banging doors.

And Ted your ThunderBuddy to hold your hand.
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Old 12th July 2015, 10:26 AM   #23
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I also have to point out, that I suffer from hearing loss and I was not wearing a hearing aid.

It was quite loud to me. so it must have been quite loud in reality.
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Old 12th July 2015, 10:31 AM   #24
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I'd have probably reacted the exact same way you did under the circumstances. And just like you, I'd be telling myself that it was probably some structural anomaly. The next thing I'd probably do is go back to that room (OK, I'd probably drag someone else along for support) and see if I could repeat and further investigate the phenomenon. Because really, there would be no downside. Either I'd be able to prove to my satisfaction that there's a mundane explanation, or I'd find real evidence that consciousness may survive death. Either explanation should be comforting on one level or another.
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Old 12th July 2015, 10:38 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
The story, on the other hand, does not comport with that claim.

A "extreme" skeptic repeats an experiment under the same conditions as opposed to running away. There wouldn't be the slightest thought about spooks.

It would be a pretty casual "oh, that's interesting - let's do it again" affair.
Like the lion said in "The Wizrd of Oz". "I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks".
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Old 12th July 2015, 11:32 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
You made up the story either out of whole cloth or are enhancing a memory.
I'm going with "B".

He most certainly made up the part about being so scared of structural failure he had to run away and then conceal that major safety issue from the client.

He really put himself in a bind with that embellishment, and evading the point since I made it is the only alternative to admitting it wasn't such a big deal when it happened.

From Alfred Packer
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The room was not hat wide. think of a building with a long hallway and rooms on either side. The locker room was directly over the hallway below.
lol. "Longer" area and "wider" area mean exactly the same thing in this context - meaning the boards will depress more as compared with a floor directly laid on subfloor. It has nothing to do with size or dimension of the room. It has to do with the span, which is zero when laid on subfloor and something positive when laid on a joist designed to create a dead air space for soundproofing.

The result is what you just claimed as the most logical answer.

So why didn't you report to the client that you were worried about structural failure if it really was true that you were worried about structural failure?

Or would you like to confess that you weren't worried about structural failure and only used that as the excuse with us as to why you needed getting out in a hurry...

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Old 12th July 2015, 11:36 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Stellafane View Post
... or I'd find real evidence that consciousness may survive death. ...
How would non corporeal consciousness depress floor boards?

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Old 12th July 2015, 11:58 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Daylightstar View Post
How would non corporeal consciousness depress floor boards?

Tell them it's sad, long, boring, post-life story of not-living in a long abandoned shower and locker room?
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Old 12th July 2015, 12:22 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Alferd_Packer View Post
I am not making the story up.

My memory of the incident was is quite clear, there was a distinct and drawn out period where the sounds continued after I stopped, long enough for me to turn around and look behind me while they were still happening.

When faced by anecdote of an unexplained happening such as yours most skeptics will say that either you are making it up, or you have a faulty memory, or you have had a hallucination.

Your story is similar to a friend who lived with her family in a haunted house. The previous owner had been killed by a deranged worker with a spade. The ghost was seen by most of the family walking around in broad daylight.

When the friend walked down the passage there were occasions that she heard footsteps behind her. She would stop and the footsteps would continue for a few more steps before stopping.

Explanations.

A brain malfunction if there is no such things as ghosts.

If ghosts do exist then it seems the spirits linger on for a while and have a small amount of capability to interact with matter. It is an effort for the ghost, and they have to rest.

Spirits or ghosts decay and fade away with time, and they lack intelligence since they are a ghostly copy of the living organism. Souls are the entities that may or may not have an afterlife.

I do not know whether to believe you or not. There are many frauds out there, and there are many cases where the human brain does deceive itself.

Some of these things do repeat (not for me though). Perhaps if you went back?
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Old 12th July 2015, 12:42 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
The story, on the other hand, does not comport with that claim.

A "extreme" skeptic repeats an experiment under the same conditions as opposed to running away. There wouldn't be the slightest thought about spooks.

It would be a pretty casual "oh, that's interesting - let's do it again" affair.
Cut him some slack. Even skeptics can let their primitive brain get the best of them and get creeped out.
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Old 12th July 2015, 01:00 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by PartSkeptic View Post
When faced by anecdote of an unexplained happening such as yours most skeptics will say that either you are making it up, or you have a faulty memory, or you have had a hallucination.
I think most sceptics would usually say that there is almost certainly a mundane explanation which was not immediately obvious, and about which (in the absence of more information) we can only speculate.
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Old 12th July 2015, 01:38 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by FramerDave View Post
Cut him some slack. Even skeptics can let their primitive brain get the best of them and get creeped out.
I respectfully decline your straw man.

Because he chose to embellish with "extreme" skeptic. So it would be a straw man to say that I am not cutting the skeptic slack when the person claims to be the superman of skeptics.

Instead, I am doing what a proper skeptic would do: paying attention. The fact he embellished in the very first sentence is important evidence.

A second embellishment was saying he feared so much about structural failure that he had to rush out and not inform the person paying him to inspect for that very thing. Randi taught us to pay careful attention to the misdirection a magician uses, not the illusion he is conjuring up.

It is a no-brainer that a person who embellishes this much also exaggerated how long the creaking went on.
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Old 12th July 2015, 01:38 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
Tell them it's sad, long, boring, post-life story of not-living in a long abandoned shower and locker room?
Hmm, I suspect that would depress the non corporeal consciousness, not the floor boards
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Old 12th July 2015, 02:07 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by FramerDave View Post
Cut him some slack. Even skeptics can let their primitive brain get the best of them and get creeped out.
and that's the thing, I suspect..it's a deeply hidden part if us, that we choose to think no long exists, till it does....
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Old 12th July 2015, 02:13 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Daylightstar View Post
Hmm, I suspect that would depress the non corporeal consciousness, not the floor boards
I think it goes without saying the non corporeal consciousness is already depressed and was hoping the floorboards would cheer it up a bit with an equally sad tale of being walked all over through it's entire existence, but all the floorboards did was groan.
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Old 12th July 2015, 02:53 PM   #36
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How about..... Walking across this admittedly creaky and perhaps-unsound bit of walkway, some of the boards creaked, and some were compressed..."catching" for just a few seconds and then releasing (with accompanying creak...) after the individual had passed. Might sound quite convincing.
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Old 12th July 2015, 03:02 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
I think it goes without saying the non corporeal consciousness is already depressed ...
Very good point.

Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
... and was hoping the floorboards would cheer it up a bit ...
Sounds quite reasonable.

Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
... with an equally sad tale of being walked all over through it's entire existence, but all the floorboards did was groan.
I would groan too if some non corporeal consciousness would walk all over me.

Perhaps an important detail is whether the stalking non corporeal consciousness used to be a male or a female?
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Old 12th July 2015, 03:05 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
I think it goes without saying the non corporeal consciousness is already depressed and was hoping the floorboards would cheer it up a bit with an equally sad tale of being walked all over through it's entire existence, but all the floorboards did was groan.
Floorboards especially get depressed when treated like doormats.
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Old 12th July 2015, 03:05 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Alferd_Packer View Post
... it didn't seem that noisy when I walked across it the first time. ...
Perhaps because you didn't walk the exact same line as the first time.
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Old 12th July 2015, 03:07 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Floorboards especially get depressed when treated like doormats.
Every floor board deserves a good carpet
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