A Haunted Warehouse & The Toll of The Unexplained

18 Minute Or Less Read Time
Everyone Has a Ghost Story & You’re Not Psychic

Everyone Has a Ghost Story & You’re Not Psychic

The Haunted Business

Years ago, mainly by poor luck, I became an owner in a three-person partnership that managed a moving and storage company that failed. Having worked for other companies and having run a few small home-based businesses, I felt prepared to handle this enterprise. Headquartered in a depressed area of Baltimore, inside a warehouse built in the forties, the building presented many unexpected challenges: old wiring, a leaky wooden roof, and antiquated, nonfunctioning machines long abandoned by prior commercial residents. The labor-intensive field of moving and storage held many challenges alone, but never did I expect the business to form an emotional and psychological trial that affected several years of my life beyond the company’s end.

The first day of the new business began during the difficult task of transitioning customers from the failed delivery company we took over. This stressful event of reassuring customers while trying to form a corporation in the wake of the old company’s bankruptcy inspired twelve-hour workdays. People feared for the safety of their belongings stored in the facility, and rightfully so since the old owner, prior to being forced out, threatened to sit on the dock and charge people to remove their goods: perhaps not a bad idea in retrospect. The long days of coddling customers and laboring in the warehouse seemed a temporary problem I expected would settle into a more reasonable schedule given a few months.

In hindsight, that first day glared a warning as a warehouseman, my business partner, and I stood on the dock swinging shovels and brooms at the black snakes that converged on the dock and slithered up the wall breaching the roll-up doors. The employee first noticed the serpents coming into the doors and called for help when their numbers grew. I don’t know how long we swiped snakes from the building, but striking the serpents off the dock felt like forever before the last one slithered on the concrete, rounding the building’s corner, perhaps to return to the woods behind the old facility.

Turning to my partner and warehouseman, I laughed, “That was crazy!” We all shook our heads and discussed how we never saw snakes behave that way. My business partner exclaimed, “I could count the number of black snakes I saw before today on one hand.” Her observation struck me with the same truth, having hiked, camped, and many other outdoor activities in the past. I shook my head and laughed, unaware that strange incident forewarned a long series of unexplainable, frustrating, and sometimes terrifying occurrences.

Missing Things & Strange Movements

Finger-pointing tends to occur when items are misplaced or missing, often with good cause. I briefly worked for the old delivery company we took over, and that experience held much stress from pilfering and lack of diligence, which threatened our new company. Discussing with my partners, the decision to replace most employees seemed wise to eliminate the risk that made the old company raft with theft and negligence. The decision didn’t happen soon enough and cost the company a lot in missing products, or so the situation seemed.

For sure, theft and carelessness cost a lot of money in those first weeks, but as the old employees left, the stealing morphed into bizarre situations of misplaced products. Things constantly went missing in the warehouse, especially since we lacked a database to track inventory and paper systems relied on human accuracy. In a sixty thousand square foot warehouse filled with goods, a transposed number on a bill of lading could easily hide a box or sofa on the thirty-foot-high racks stretching throughout the building’s interior.

Misplaced product caused countless hours searching the warehouse, often to find the object in the most unlikely places. Typical transposition errors occurred when a warehouseman marked rack-E level-3 as rack-B level-3 or some other common variation. The missing items bothered me not just because they transpired in strange ways, like rack-E mistaken for rack-T, but also the volume of the mistakes. With only three warehousemen, the enormous number of errors should not have happened.

The first time I focused intently on the issue, a worker called in sick, and I replaced him in the warehouse that day. The light day of freight deliveries had us cleaning instead of unloading, and by noon I let everyone leave. A freight truck showed up with a couch to unload, which I accepted, marked for a rack, then forklifted to the position. The distinct memory formed when I placed the sofa and noticed another object in the same shelf marked for a different area in the warehouse. Thinking myself lucky for catching a potential time-wasting error, I moved the freight from that rack to its proper location. The next morning loading the trucks, one of the girls who worked the office came out and said, “That sofa you unloaded yesterday, I added to the delivery schedule.” Knowing the sofa she meant because no other sofa came in the day prior, I went to the rack space, and the couch was not there.

I asked the guys if they moved it, which they denied, and I knew this to be true since I arrived first and worked closely with them. Oddly, the misplaced object I moved to a correct location while storing the sofa sat where I placed it. We searched for two hours before finding the couch in a rarely used long-term storage area I would never choose, but there it sat on the rack, defying my memory of events. I swore to everyone I didn’t make this error, but lacking another explanation, I admitted my guilt. That incident stood out because, for the first time, I could make no sense of the constant errors happening month after month and not just with freight.

Tools often vanished for weeks only to be found under a piece of freight where it had no business. Large crates weighing fifteen-hundred pounds filled with furniture disappeared, requiring hours spent unstacking and restacking them only to find them in the wrong rows. In an office of three people, hours wasted recreating lost paperwork discovered later in an obvious place.

These happenings went on month after month, costing a lot of money and wracking the nerves with frustration.

The Noises & Imaginings

Along with the constant searching, the noises began. The large building had two offices: one by the front door and the other beside the docks on the opposite side of the facility. Separated by a hallway spanning the length of the dock area that formed an inlet for tractor-trailers to park and unload, the dock offices reduced time wasted moving paperwork between the office and warehouse. From that office, windows peered into the hall and out another set of windows to the outside. We opted to use the dock offices since they allowed a view of the freight trucks and warehouse activity.

Above the office, unused storage areas were accessible via an out-of-view staircase in the warehouse. From the day the administrators moved into the office, the noises and imaginings started causing my partner’s complaints about the guys needing to work quieter while upstairs. Giving her a strange look, I responded, “Nobody is working up there.”

She described people walking across the old wooden floors and how the stomping distracted the office workers. Shrugging at the time, I gave the issue little thought, chalking it up to their exaggerating the creaking of the old cinder block and wood building, which occurred often. Soon, I found myself constantly climbing the stairs and searching this attic storage area which contained nothing but old broken furniture. I did not believe the office staff until, one Saturday afternoon, while working alone, I distinctly heard the loud walking on the floor. Believing someone in the warehouse, I went to investigate and found nothing.

On another occasion, while working late one evening with one of the office staff, I left her in the office to retrieve an item for early morning delivery. When I returned, she said, “What did that driver have?” Frowning at her, I asked, “What driver?” As natural as could be, she waved her index finger at the windows looking across the hall into the dock area, and said, “The truck that was just here.”

“There’s nobody here.”

She stopped typing and wrinkled her brow at me. “A truck backed in, and a driver walked past the windows into the warehouse.”

“I didn’t see a truck or driver.”

“Oh, maybe he didn’t see you and left.” She returned to typing as I thought about the deadbolted hallway door leading to the outside dock, which I soon verified as locked. Where I worked in the warehouse, about twenty feet from the dock entrance, I could not miss seeing or hearing a driver, and for certain not a tractor-trailer back against the building.

Similar situations occurred when workers witnessed someone walking at the other end of the warehouse or across the rack aisles and casually asked, “Who’s that working in the back?” or “Did you send so and so to work at the end of aisle five?” Investigating their questions revealed no one’s presence, which made perfect sense since only one door at the docks allowed entry to the facility for security reasons. Five cameras inside and outside the building also never showed the mystery guests. That night, the unexplained driver and truck brought my attention to this pattern of odd sightings that soon coupled with unnerving voices and sounds.

Once while working on a Saturday afternoon by myself, I thumbed through some freight invoices as I stood in front of the dock doors. The old warehouse creaked to the windy summer day beyond the walls, and as I studied the bills, someone called my name from the front of the warehouse near the dark, empty offices. So distinct the voice, I called out, “I’m coming.” Thinking the voice belonged to my other business partner, I approached the area lit only by the skylights and called his name as I looked around the aisles and peeked into the dark, empty office to find no one.

Stopping and standing beneath the creak of the wood rafters, the hair rose on my arms as immense dread filled my chest with the pound of breath and heart. With no one there, a compulsion overcame me, making me drop the paperwork on a small crate nearby and rush through the dark empty office to exit the front door.

I could not get out of that building fast enough.

That was the first time I felt terrified to be in that building. From that day, the strange, unexplained incidents became an unignorable pattern that became more frequent and bizarre, necessitating ever-increasing effort and money to make the business functional.

One night I entered the building around nine pm after remembering during dinner paperwork I forgot to place in a truck for a driver leaving early in the morning. Not wasting time turning on the old gas bulbs needing to warm before lighting the warehouse, I walked through the aisles to the rear of the building in the dim moonlight pouring from the high hopper windows and skylights. As I approached the table holding the paperwork, something shifted to my right, and in the shadows, a stack of boxes toppled to the floor in a dark figure’s wake that sent me running through the warehouse and out the front door to throw the lock and call the police. From my vantage outside the building’s front, I watched the front door and the hallway door by the dock, the only two exits openable from inside. All other entrances had padlocks.

The police arrived and called for a canine unit after they entered and verified my story, having seen the toppled boxes in the area described. They even went as far as to have the fire department bring a truck and search the building’s roof to see if someone somehow entered through a skylight.


Afterward, standing in the warehouse under the overhead light’s luminescence, I stared at the boxes that sprawled the floor as though someone hiding inside the stack of cartons suddenly stood and razed them in the escape. From that day, I hated being in the building alone.

The Toll

Throughout the company’s short life, about two and half years, the escalating problems made people, myself included, paranoid and sometimes crazy. Into the second year, we had already fired a dozen people, and the partners were at each other’s throats. With both partners, I tried, in the most delicate way possible, to discuss the building’s issues. One partner called me crazy, and the other accused me of performing the things I claimed, despite both experiencing the phenomena.

The one partner, who managed the office, fought endlessly with problems she believed employees caused, like the malfunctioning computers. I bought a database program in the first year, and after installation, the files self-deleted, or the program crashed randomly. The computers ran slow, and files corrupted, which led me to suspect a virus. On multiple weekends and late at night, I ran antivirus software, and nothing came of these efforts. The problem continued, forcing us to save all files on a flash drive as the only way to use the program. Amazingly, long after that business closed, I used the same application on one of those same computers at home with no problem.

The labor, mistakes, and fixing problems soared the cost of doing business.

People suffered. No one trusted anyone, least of all the owners. More employees lost jobs, probably unnecessarily, and the best I can describe my one partner is to say she flipped out. She sank a lot of money in the company, and losses kept mounting, but her behavior became erratic as she began having affairs with employees, causing massive internal conflict.

Description of this period clouds with stress and confusion. To be honest, I am not sure I trust my recollections because at some point, I fell into a constant paranoia and found myself drinking every night, trying to cope with the endless anxiety. Emotionally and physically, I felt myself stretched apart.

On my first Sunday off in months, I woke up to a repeating whisper, “Go to work, check the phone records.” Obeying this whisper sent me to the office to examine the bills, which led to reviewing the message logs online. I soon found text messages to and from a phone paid by the company, used to facilitate an affair between an ex-employee and my business partner. We fired this person a month prior, and to my shock, he still received payroll, which I believe formed a scheme with her to embezzle. When confronted, she abruptly left the company and went into bankruptcy, along with having to sort out her marriage.

She became someone unrecognizable to me.

I could not recognize myself. In the crazy circumstance, I thought somehow, I psychically intuited the illicit activities, which led to a delusional paranoia that gnawed me with insomnia. This madness morphed quickly into a fantasy of some dark force at work because her leaving the company escalated the problems. Exhausted, now running an office and warehouse, I became sick and injured as more employees left or needed termination. One day while standing on a pallet, just six inches off the floor, I stretched my arms to place a box on a rack and fell backward, hyperextending my right hand against the floor in a sickening “zik” sound that left my wrist severely fractured.

I swear to this day, the fall felt like someone pushed me backward.

My other partner, who ran a general contracting business, spent far less time in the facility, blinding him to the continuous nature of the problems. He refused to entertain anything about this building’s strangeness, rationalizing every odd happening. He explained the missing and misplaced objects as mistakes; he blamed the other partner or claimed my imagination ran wild, even when events impacted him. His wall of obstinate rationalizing never budged, and perhaps he was right in some instances, but some phenomena defied explanation.

One night, after working from early morning until eleven pm, I went to my office and sat at the desk, too tired to drive home. A small television played in the office while I sat at the desk with the cameras showing no activity. I fell asleep sometime shortly after twelve and awoke around five-thirty. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as I made coffee before entering the warehouse when my driver arrived to make deliveries. He loaded his truck and headed out only to return a few minutes later, complaining the vehicle had no fuel. Soon my partner appeared, and his trucks also had no diesel. Without breaking the locks, someone took off the caps and siphoned several hundred gallons from four different vehicles. A thief needed a truck and a large tank to pull this theft off. Staring at the unlocked caps hanging from the empty tanks, my partner complained, “Some crackhead came and stole the gas during the night.”

I snapped, “How? None of the locks are broken, and your trucks have different locks than mine.”

Before he could explain, I said, “Well, let’s go check the videotape in the office.”

Just like it always did when strange things happened, the tapes showed nothing from the camera pointed at the docks and truck. I turned and asked, “How do you explain that?”

He started nonsensically rationalizing because he couldn’t explain the event that confirmed my worst trepidations and need to get out of that business.

In the last six months, desperate to extricate myself from the business, I did everything to legally end that company short of closing the doors and calling customers to pick up their storage. Exhaustion and fear took their toll, with one partner gone and the other essentially absent, leaving me to deal with the issues alone. I sized back the operation to a storage-only facility and found a new partner to take over the company, but the problems continued.

In a strange turn of events, the new partner was not working out, so I rented half the warehouse to another company and turned over the existing storage to this owner, effectively ending my involvement. I could not take one more day of being in that facility. I hired a temporary worker to help close out the remaining billing for the last month, but even as I tried to exit that place, the bad events continued happening. During the last days of operation, the temporary employee informed me all the files saved on a flash drive the day before somehow disappeared after he unplugged and locked the device in the desk overnight in a secured office I alone possessed keys to enter.

I laughed and said, “That doesn’t surprise me at all.”

On my second to last day in that building, the new company’s manager asked, “Was anyone in here last night?”“No.” I shook my head.

He explained their machines’ programs had erased, and only someone who knew how to access the menu functions could perform the act: you could not just press a button or unplug the unit. I expressed, “You’re going to find a lot of strange things like that occur here.”

I left that facility the next day and returned one more time to look for some personal papers, which of course, I could not find, but entering that building again made me swear never to come back.

In the Aftermath

This story is an abridged version of the actual account that requires a novel to detail along with the full impact on my life. The two months after the business failed, I slept almost all day to recuperate physically. The emotional and physical ordeal left me haunted with an effort to reason the bizarre events. Unlike other negative experiences, retrospect did not readily provide clarity and unveiled more revelations and observations. I am not a believer in the supernatural; hell, I don’t believe in God, much less a ghost, but during that period, reason failed and opened those disturbing doors.

The Sunday after the police searched the building, I inspected the warehouse and offices, looking in every crack and cranny. To this day, I am not sure what I expected to find, but with the certainty I write these words, I know something moved that night, knocking over boxes while disappearing into the shadows. The entity had to be large and heavy enough to knock over ten-to-fifty-pound boxes, which defied my experience of having seen grown men trip over smaller piles of boxes without knocking them over.

I worked with computers since the early eighties when eight-inch floppies were still in use and experienced fewer computer memory issues with a Commodore 64 than with the modern computers in that building. In the last fifteen years since that business, I had two flash drives corrupted because of ejection power failures. Still, the drive contained the information denoted by the used megs but remained inaccessible. There were no magnets, no power supplies close by, or other possible causes. Explaining the flash drives erasing themselves sitting in a desk under lock and key, just like the boxes falling over, held only the explanation of the supernatural or someone’s hand.

Reason dictated if someone or possibly a group of people performed these acts, they needed intimate knowledge of many things and went to great lengths to fool numerous people. Discounting the noises, voices, and seeing things not there still doesn’t explain the movement of objects, often heavy objects, and finding those things where they should not have been. Anyone committing these acts had no endgame other than to cause harm to a business. To believe in a human culprit, one must also concede that the perpetrator or group could access multiple locks, could bypass the alarm system, and, most importantly, could alter the security video feed. No one who worked at the company had those abilities, including partners. So unlikely was the idea that someone or a group fucked with me in this way that it forced me to consider supernatural explanations.

So powerfully did this circumstance force questioning of my beliefs, I visited in the years following places rumored to be haunted, even once crawling in a pitch-black tunnel underneath an abandoned asylum, seeking supernatural evidence that might confirm my experience with that warehouse. No proof came, but these explorations led to a rational explanation that altered my thinking for the better.

I still do not believe in God or the supernatural, even less now many years later, but I do know events can occur that defy reason and probability. One of human nature’s strange qualities is the reductive view of cause and effect, which can blind us to the complex nature of problems. The missing fuel, for instance, may have been a multifactor event. However unlikely, someone obtained a key or means to unlock gas caps to siphon the diesel. At the same time, glitches in the video feed at the wrong time could explain the missing vehicle or movement of the thieves.

The objects moved about the warehouse into unlikely places could also be explained by simple human error or perhaps one or multiple workers sabotaging the operation. The occurrence of voluminous errors seems unlikely but perhaps transpired in conjunction with a saboteur. Warehousing is prone to theft, and one of the tricks internal thieves use is chaos, like hiding items to distract from other offenses or even just to milk the timeclock. In an industry suffering poor quality labor, multiple people with no association were probably hired, committed these acts, quit, or ended up fired.

Our rational minds can work against us in complex circumstances by seeking singular causes for events. Understanding this does not lead to the desired answers but to possibilities, which are often difficult for us to accept. Many of those experiences remain a mystery today.

How did the flash drive format itself while sitting in a locked desk?

I don’t know, but I also don’t understand the flash drive’s engineering or what took place in that room that night. Perhaps a static discharge caused the issue. Though rare, the information saved to the flash drive possibly experienced corruption during the saving process, making all data on the drive unrecognizable to the computer. Multiple errors likely occurred when saving the files and discharging the device. Similar multifaceted errors probably caused the other company’s machines to magically erase themselves.

Seeking simple cause and effect explanations turns complicated events into mysteries, and in my case, multiple complex occurrences amplified that illusion of mystery. By allowing myself the possibility of the supernatural, I opened myself to more confusion that ultimately distracted me from the real problems. Had I considered the possibility of multiple event catalysts, I would likely have altered some of the outcomes by seeking numerous causes. Still, with so many complex events occurring, it is unlikely that solutions would have readily presented themselves or saved the business. Explaining the problem of the misplaced product doesn’t void the need to spend the money wasted on finding it.

Even today, remembering apparitions, constant computer errors, missing objects, the snake attack, hearing voices, and many other incidents resist reason when considering the probability of all these events occurring during this company’s brief existence. Yet to believe the supernatural, you give yourself to even more fantastic explanations, which caused nothing but financial losses and grief, forming the vital wisdom that dictates recognizing and detaching ourselves from out-of-control situations, people, and things.

There is no ghost in the machine. For many unknown reasons, things and people often create harmful, unexpected outcomes. For whatever reason, a car can be a lemon and constantly need repairs. The worst thing you can do with the lemon is waste money on repairs.

Get rid of the car.

Had I surrendered to this wisdom after six months or even a year of unexplained problems, I would have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars and not lost countless hours struggling to salvage an unworkable enterprise. Giving myself to fear and supernatural lies stripped me of that reasoning and created years of financial and emotional turmoil recovering from that bad situation.

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