The first of our Tech Horror Stories. If you have one you’d like to share send it to john at crunchgear.com ASAP. Spooky!
So I was an IT contractor working in Honolulu. Except there’s a small part of the Hawaiian heritage they don’t promote along with the palm trees and beaches featured in the travel guides.
One night I was working late. It was probably two in the morning and I had been at my cube, pulling an all-nighter. We had a massive requirements review coming up and I was working round-the-clock to get it done. I was the only one left in the office.
As some point in the evening, I noticed a really bad smell. Like a homeless person or someone who hasn’t showered in months. I figured, “Hey, it’s late, the air is off, the safety windows won’t open, it’s just stale air getting a little rank.”
Then I started hearing noises behind a looked door. I figured, “Hey, it’s just air in the pipes, or the building settling, it’s nothing.”
I had sat there at my desk for more than two hours. Racking my brain, striving to come up with a logical explanation. “Fuck it,” I finally said. “You win. I’m leaving,” I said out loud to an empty room. There was this incredibly long hallway to get out of the building and man I hadn’t forced myself to walk that calmly while being that scared since I was a kid. I was this close to whistling.
But as I tried to believe in those weak explanations and concentrate on my work, I started to remember something a client had said months earlier. This longtime client had been near my desk and he was telling people that the building was haunted. I wasn’t involved in the conversation and was only paying as much attention as I had to, given that I couldn’t help but hear him.
“This corner of the building is haunted by two ghosts,” he said. “One is a lady and she’s nice. She smells like lilacs and is friendly. The other ghost is an old man. He stinks and he’s very agitated.”
The client’s story starts percolating in my brain as I try to explain the smell, the sounds, and the feelings that I’m getting now. Behind that closed office door, which I knocked on, which I know no one was in, were sounds that I can only describe as organic. They weren’t pipes or foundations or squeaky windows. They sounded distinctly human. This noise kept going, “Huhhhhhhhh.” And grunting. Like someone who is frustrated. Long frustrated sighs punctuated by curt grunts.
I didn’t see any heads spinning round or apparitions moving through walls. Scooby didn’t show up to expose some adult who then blames some meddling kids. I didn’t see anything. But I know what I felt. And after about two hours of trying to come up with a reasonable explanation, I gave up and hauled ass out of the office.