The Haunted Strip Mall (Revisited)

Almost seven years ago I wrote about the strip mall near the house we were living in at the time.  It sits on the corner of 19th and Northern Avenues in Phoenix.  At the time there was an Albertsons, Starbucks, Einstein’s Bagels, other shops and offices.  I don’t know what is there now because we moved away from the area.

I had heard stories about the mall being haunted.  I looked up the claims that some have reported about the area.  Before it became a strip mall, there were several abandoned decaying buildings on the site.  Witnesses have seen ghosts wandering around the old buildings.  Kids who decided to explore the place at night heard crying and whimpering resonating from a long dark passage.  They reported seeing three headstones, a large one in the middle of two smaller ones.  The odd thing was that no one ever saw them in the light of day.

Today there sits a strip mall where some employees reported hearing crying and seeing what they could only describe as a ghost in various areas of the stores they were working at. Others have claims of seeing a ghostly looking homeless man in the area behind the store where a body of one was found several years earlier. The reports were that he was murdered in his sleep. He seems to be still hanging around behind the strip mall, making an appearance from time to time.

When I wrote this post, blogging was much bigger with lots more people writing blogs.  I would get many more comments than I do today.  What I didn’t expect was all the comments about the history of the area.  I couldn’t find any information, but thanks to those who commented, I found out lots.  I decided to do an update on this post and share all the interesting comments I received.

           The old building used to be the Good Shepard School for Wayward Girls.  It was a Catholic school built in 1930 and then burned down (I am not sure when), but sat empty for years.  It was extremely creepy looking and teenagers, including myself, always dared us to sneak into the old abandoned building to witness for ourselves the rumors of satanic worship and hauntings.  Of course, I never did sneak in, I was way too chicken, but for those who grew up in Phoenix, you are sure to remember this place.  It was so freaky looking.  It is just so weird because I worked right by this location now at 19th Avenue and Northern and I frequent the Starbucks and Albertson’s a lot and to think all of the freaky stories that came out of this creepy building.  I would love to hear more about the stories of the building when it was still used as a girl’s school.   I think it was closed in the late 60’s or 70’s, but I have read other posts from people who went to the school and said it was haunted then.  I sure wish I could find a picture online of what the building looked like before the built the Albertsons when it was all fenced off.  If anyone can locate a picture, please post it!  ~Anonymous~ 2010

      It was still open in 1979 and closed in 1981~Therese~ 2010

            Here is a pic of the original Good Shepherd School for Wayward Girls in Phoenix. ~Anonymous~ 2011

        As soon as I entered this Albertson’s for the first time to help out my mother-in-law, I immediately felt it to be very creepy.  Then I heard a cashier mentioned it was haunted so I came to this very interesting webpage.  ~Anonymous~ 2012

         I have been curious about Good Shepherd School for years.  Was there in the late sixties and lived in the cottage with “Aunt” Barbara (who was pregnant) and her husband.  ~Anonymous~ 2012

        I lived in Marietta cottage in 1972.  ~ralon48~ 2015

          I am curious after finding this site; there appears to be two articles about Good Shepherd listed through the UofA.  ~Anonymous~ 2012

         I know this location well.  I first saw it as a child in the 70’s.  We all heard the stories.  In my teen, I was part of and led many a ghost hunt.  Data was always corrupted.  Do to the large numbers of homeless living largely in the boiler room, pigeons and feral cats in the rafters and walls.  The wicked little AZ roof rats didn’t help much.  That being said, I did have a large amount of personal experiences.  The big one was constantly hearing heels on the tile.  The tile had been gone for decades.  The floor was broken concrete, dirt, plant matter, and trash.  ~Anonymous~ 2012

          My father was actually the original developer who purchased the property when it went up for sale in 1982.  We were neighborhood residents since the early 70’s when the school was in operation.  I was 16 when Dad bought the property and during the negotiations, I went with him on many tours and met all of the sisters that still lived there.  There were 8 very nice older nuns, and had been living there since the school was open.  Their order/church had made the decision to relocate them and sell the property because the school had been closed for so many years.  During our first tour, my mother commented about feeling “something” in one area of the basement.  When you’re 16, dark and abandoned buildings ALWAYS seem creepy, but even a couple of year later, when I worked at the site during the very beginning of demolition, I never experienced anything unpleasant there.  During one summer, I even worked nights for my father as a security guard, so I spent many hours wandering the hallways and grounds at night with a flashlight.  It was ALWAYS eerie, but again, it never felt BAD.  To me the elegant old buildings had an almost kindly feel to them, like parents whose children had moved on and they knew their time was drawing to a close.  My father’s vision for the place was to preserve the history, and to leave it some dignity, and that always felt right.  For several years no development work could be done because of problems with the Phoenix Mayor’s Office and the Historical Preservation Committee and eventually the project was put into bankruptcy because it had been mired in Valley politics for so long that the financiers had pulled out.  What you see now is a sad end to a once stately property.  ~ Anonymous~ 2012

       We just visited this place today after my Grandma asked me to look it up.  (She is from Yuma and moved to Phoenix)  This place was the Good Shepherd Girls School and really dear to her.  She said there was no “strange” activity.  The nuns were very sweet!  She even told me she taught them how to make tacos and that they would have a special taco night during the week.  She also said they took very good care of all the girls and that it was a very beautiful place at that time.  I would love to find anyone that went in 1961 for my Grandma.  I don’t understand why people get so scared by older buildings.  ~Marlene~ 2013

       Reply to Marlene’s comment:  It sounds like your Grandmother saw a different place than my mother has described to me since I was a child.  She was there as a young girl, and the things that happened to her there are absolutely heartbreaking, certainly not the happy place you describe~Anonymous~ 2015

       Reply to Marlene’s comment:  I was there in the mid 70’s with “Aunt” Marilyn for a little over a year.  I agree with your Grandma, it was a good place.  The nuns and teachers were great and we (the girls in that cottage) loved Marilyn.  There was never any suggestion or rumor that the place was haunted or even spooky.  There was an orange orchard there too.  ~Anonymous~ 2015

       I was at Good Shepard for running away from home.  I learned I was not the “bad” girl I thought I was.  The girls were nice, just trying to be tough, yet lonely and scared.  I was never mistreated, went to mass, lived in a cottage on the 19th Avenue street side, and went to the “grocery store” on certain days with our shopping cart.  Never heard or saw satanic anything nor did I see any pregnant girls.  The only thing I remember was a girl wanting to leave the cottage so she threw a chair though the big picture window and left.  Of course, police were called, but other than that, nothing scary or spooky, just rumors.  ~Anonymous~ 2015

       We lived in the area.  It’s crazy because the Great Clips had incidents in their office where papers went flying and door opened.  Then on the other side of the street by Bookmans there used to be a family salon.  We were close with the owner.  The last time I had my haircut we heard rummaging in the back and a door closed.  I asked the stylist is someone back there and she said no.  That was when I was told of the stories of spinning chairs and apparitions.  One of the apartment building has a part that look like a bell tower on the northwest side of the Albertson’s plaza.  Some have tried to look at the records in the public library near Metrocenter and were denied access.  Our neighbors are curious where the deceased were buried and even our nearby complex has strange incidents.  ~Unknown~ 2015

       Reply to Unknown’s comment:  The salon by Bookmans (it was a Safeway store) was Dinos hair design, the owner was John Lametica.  The wayward home was across the street till 1981.  ~Therese~ 2016

       My mother worked there for a time in the late 50’s and early 60’s.  She speaks glowingly of the nuns and all the girls who were just normal teenagers in retrospect.  Mom talks of the beautiful buildings and acres of orchards.  The property grew all its own fruits and vegetables.  The girls who lived there had access to the swimming pool and gym and of course the “grocery store” where they could buy shampoo and such.  We went to visit a few years back and my mother was extremely sad that the buildings, orchards and trees were all gone.  I don’t remember which house my mother was in charge of, but if you’d like to ask her for more questions, I’m sure she would be happy to.  She remembers a lot of the girls that were there at the time.  ~Unknown~ 2016
     This is so interesting!  My grandma used to attend the school back in the day.  She is no longer with us, but if anyone who knew a Carol Compton, please email me.  I don’t know a lot about her past as a child, but I would love to hear.  My email is  ~Unknown~ 2016


  1. That place has a weird feel. I went to the Starbucks, went into the restroom (before a ghost hunt down the road). I was in the stall all by myself in there when I heard a man's snarling voice near the sink. I peered out and no one there. I went to wash my hands and it was ice cold there. No vent on me. I got instant tingles. Opted to have my coffee outside with the team.

    1. I remember you telling me about that. I love all the stories that came from this post.


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