Sunday, February 8, 2009

Toy's R' Ghosts?

Don't let that cute little giraffe (who goes by the name of Geoffrey) fool you! Toy's R' Us can be a spooky little place! It's not just full of toy's and games, it's also full of spooky goings on! OK maybe not every Toy's R' Us (Or, TRU as it is known on the streets) is haunted, but the one I was fortunate (actually unfortunate is the better word) to work at for two and half years had some un-welcomed visitors! Of course none of this is confirmed by anyone other than myself, but hey you can just take my word for it right?

I worked at the TRU by Metrocenter Mall in Phoenix, AZ for two and a half years, and I started off working the overnight crew during Christmas. My job was to unload dozens of pallets of boxes full of toys and stock them on the shelves. It was a tough job, but someone has to do it right? Well within a week of me working there, creepy crap began to happen. I was putting some boxes away in the storeroom, which was a huge room full of boxes. I was alone in the storeroom when I suddenly heard a loud but muffled voice coming from over in the bike assembly area. Where I was, there was no door between me and the bike area so no one came in. I hesitantly walked to the bike area and realized there was a CD player back there that had turned on. When I inspected it I noticed it was one of those where in order to turn it on, the power button had to be pushed in, not just clicked. Somehow that radio turned on by itself.

Numerous other times I had been putting boxes in the storeroom after cleanup and I heard the sound of boxes falling to the ground. When I would go look, low and behold one box was always fallen off the shelf. Our boxes were pretty securely on these shelves as well, they had to be for safety reasons. This occurred every few weeks, at least for me. Other employees whom I worked with, also told me about instances when they would hear boxes falling of the shelf. A lot of people were spooked to go back in that storeroom by themselves. It was a very dimly lit area, seeing as how there were no windows and only a few lights. One time I actually saw a box slip off a shelf on its own, and it nearly gave me a heart attack. From the moment on, I too was very nervous to go back there alone. Because after that, I always had that eerie feeling that someone was watching me or even felt someone following me around when no one was there. It was a VERY powerful feeling to, like I could almost feel the "person" right behind me. Gives me the heeby jeebies just thinking about it!

There were times where I even heard coughs and talking from within the storeroom during my overnight shifts. They always sounded like male coughs and talking, but most of the time I was the only guy working. We had this machine called a "bailer" it was used to crush and compact all our empty boxes and make them into a giant block of boxes. It was a huge chunk of machinery. I was putting some extra pegs away towards the bike area (which at this point, I rushed through that, not wanting to be back there) and I heard the machine going off. I just assumed someone was crushing boxes. When I got to the bailer, no one was there. The gate was closed (it had to be closed to work it) when before it was opened. You have to push a big green button to make it start, but again, no one was there and the machine was fairly empty so there was no need to turn it on. Could have been someone messing with me, I will never really know.

There were also numerous instances of toys falling or flying off shelves in the actual store. I myself saw items fall off our pegged walls. These things had to have been touched by "something" because there was no way they could simply fall off the pegs the way they did. One of my co-workers told me they saw an action figure toy (which was pegged) literally fly off a peg. They said they saw it shaking slightly on it's own, then suddenly flew off the peg. That co-worker was terrified after that, they hated being anywhere in the store by themselves. Again, I did not witness that particular event so I do not know how credible it was.

*This was one of my bosses, Mitchell. I know he kind of looks scary in this picture, but I assure you he was not one of the TRU ghosts. Pictured behind him is part of the storeroom I was previously talking about.

A co-worker of mine once told me they saw a man who was not an employee, walk into our breakroom area. There was only one entrance to this room. My co-worker was walking in there close behind this man, because they were taking their lunch. When my co-worker got to the breakroom, the man was not there. They checked the little computer room that's in the breakroom, and again no one was there. This co-worker is not a believer in these sorts of things, so they just brushed it off. They told me the story because they knew I was into spooky things.

During an overnight shift, my co-worker and I were putting things on our overstock (which is the very top shelves for extra merchandise) and I was on top of the ladder. From this view point I could see a good portion of the store. My co-worker was handing my toys to put on the overstock when I saw what looked like a short person walk by about 30 feet away. Our supervisor (who the only other person in the building with us, and the store is locked at night) was a pretty short woman. Before I could say anything, my co-worker said "Cathy is that you?" (our supervisor was named Cathy). I didn't realize she saw what I saw. When I looked back over, the person I saw walk by was gone. I yelled "CATHY!" really loud and she responded right away (when the story was empty, you could communicate by yelling across the store haha). When I heard her, I was able to locate her because I was on the ladder. She was in the complete opposite of the store, and she was cleaning shelves. There was no way she walked by us, and then got over to where she was in that time frame (which was maybe thirty seconds). Me and my co-worker were spooked!

We went over to her a few minutes later and told her the story. She said that was funny, because she said around the same time I called her name she thought she saw someone walk behind some aisles near her and she started talking because she thought it was one of us. We were all very confused but also very scared! That night we took our lunch around 1 AM which was usual. (we worked 9 PM to about 8 AM). Halfway through our lunch we heard an extremely loud crashing noise. It made us all jump and my workers even screamed. We immediately went out to the store and searched it for twenty minutes. We saw nothing that had fallen. All the windows and glass (which there wasn't very much of in that store) were in tact. No shelves had crashed down, no bikes were on the floor. Nothing. The crash we heard was VERY loud, VERY VERY loud. It came from within the store, but we could not find the reason behind it. Needless to say, that night was one of the spookiest nights I ever had at TRU. Someone was working with us...who wasn't on the clock if you know what I mean.

*Me on the left, and my co-worker, best friend, and Julie's son Andy on the right. We are in the R-Zone, which is the department I would end up working in until the end of my days at TRU. Some uneasy things happened in there as well.

I was working in the R-Zone, and we had our own storeroom, it was called the "booth". It was very small, it was like a hallway. One day I was working, just straightening shelves when I heard what sounded like a lot of metal clanging to the ground from inside the booth. I went inside to check and a bunch of pegs that we had in a box had falled off the shelf and onto the ground. Kind of weird because this box was very securely on the shelf. I've had other experiences where I've heard other things fall of the shelves in there with no reason.

One day I was in the R-Zone and we had just opened about two minutes prior. I was doing some stuff at the register when I noticed a man at the back of the R-Zone playing our Playstation demo. I didn't notice him come in, but I really thought nothing of it. I walked over the Playstation wall to start pricing some games. He was still there playing the system. Suddenly he asked me "where are the movies at?" and I told them where they were and pointed over to them (the moves were right outside the R-Zone). He said thank you. I went back over to the register to do some more things. I was right next to the entrance, mind you. My head was down so I could not see him over by the Playstation, but I also never saw him leave. I would have noticed because I would have been more attentive at that point. About three minutes go by and I see that he isn't by the Playstation anymore. I look out by the movies, and he isn't there either. I look all around the areas outside the R-Zone (as far as I could wander out) and he was nowhere to be seen! It kind of made me uncomfortable seeing as how that store already had spooked me enough.

Well later in the day I kept thinking about it and I just had to know where he went. Honestly he was a very straggly looking fellow, and we were having theft issues in the R-Zone so I was curious to know if he was one of these bad people. I had my manager look up the video footage from the security cameras and we finally got to the time of day this happened. The video never showed a man walking in the R-Zone at that time, never showed anyone leaving around that time. When we got to the part where I was talking to him, all you could see was me talking to nothing and pointing in the direction of the movies. Now it was kind of a bad angle, so you couldn't see all of the area by the Playstation demo, there WAS room for him to be there without the camera spotting him. My manager got creeped out, as well as I. I will honestly never know for sure if what I saw was a ghost, or a hallucianation (which I later found out I suffered from hallucinations at times due to my bi-polar disorder), or if he really was there and the camera just did not see him.

Metrocenter Toy's R' Us was a fun place to work, mainly because I met so many great people there. It's basically where my life in Phoenix began. I appreciate what the job did for me for my personal life, but actually working there was not my cup of tea. In April of 2006 I walked out and quit withouth notice, it got to be too much for me. But along with my new friends, I will always remember those unsettling moments I experienced, that really set me off in my pursuit of ghosts!

*Metrocenter Toy's R' Us I believe is officially closing here very soon. An end to a chapter in my life.