So, this post was actually supposed to run last Friday – but, I totally forgot to post it. (I think it had something to do with weekday holidays always messing up my days of the week.) Anyway, I apologize for skipping a week – but perhaps you felt more comfortable shopping last week without knowing about these little, hidden secrets in malls and stores. Enjoy!
One week ago today was Black Friday, a day synonymous with crazy deals, massive amounts of people, and the beginning of the retail Christmas shopping extravaganza. But, as you walk down through those gayly-decorated malls with their sparkling silver stars, ginormous ornaments and plastic Christmas trees, did you ever wonder who else might be haunting the halls? I mean decking the halls?
Let’s find out!
According to the website, Mental Floss there are shopping malls all across the United States where you can browse for ghosts.
The first one is the Pike Place Market in Seattle Washington. “As one of the most famous public markets in the country, Pike Place Market is known for a lot of things: fresh coffee, fresher fish, and paranormal activity. The Seattle Times reported on a number of figures who supposedly walk through walls or vanish into thin air—one older gentleman named Frank apparently likes to introduce himself to the living outside of a restroom at the Alibi Room. Various other spirits also have names, like Princess Angeline, Madame Nora, and the “Fat Lady Barber.”
At one point in the early 1900s, one section of the market was home to a mortuary. Currently operating in the basement of that space is Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub. Its manager, Patrick McAleese, recalled some eerie instances to the Times, such as a wall mirror inexplicably shattering, only to have the shards fall into a neat pile. “You think someone must be pulling your leg,” he said. “But then you don’t see anyone.””
The 13th Floor website explores the Pike Place Market a little more in detail. Here are three of their stories. “Princess Angeline is one the most frequent ghostly patrons of the Pike Place Market. She was the daughter of a Native American chief and their tribe lived on a Duwamish reservation near where the market currently sits. The early settlers of Seattle referred to her as “princess” because she acted as a mediator between them and her tribe. Despite a treaty set in place to force the Native Americans off the reservation, Angeline insisted on staying. She spent her days working in the laundry business and made hand-woven baskets to sell in the downtown area. In 1896, the princess died at 85 years old and the local settlers provided her with a proper funeral ceremony and buried her at Lake View Cemetery on Capitol Hill in Seattle.
For over a century, Pike Place Market regulars have reported sightings of Princess Angeline, often mistaking her for a live person… until she disappears into thin air. If you happen to be in the lower levels of the market and spot an old woman wearing a red scarf and carrying a woven basket, don’t be fooled.
Arthur Goodwin had a solid helping hand alongside his uncle Frank Goodwin in the development of the Pike Place Market. For twenty years, Arthur maintained the title of Market Director with his office residing just above the shops. He would often look at the market through his office window to catch a glimpse of the ongoings below. Since his death, Arthur’s old office has been converted into the Goodwin Library which is now used as a conference room. Many Pike Place Market employees and customers alike have spotted an apparition resembling Arthur Goodwin through the Goodwin Library window, sometimes swinging a golf club.
Although the formal name of this next spirit is unknown, “The Fat Lady Barber” has become a regular of the Pike Place Market scene. Legend has it that in the 1950s this woman worked in the market and was notorious for lulling her patrons to sleep with the sweet sound of her lullabies. As they nodded off to slumberland, she would rob them of any cash in their wallets. It is believed that The Fat Lady Barber died when a section of the shop floor caved and she fell all the way down. Some janitorial workers at the market have reported hearing the sounds of the songstress as they tidy the place.”
COS in New York City is where New Yorkers can brush elbows with a ghost in Soho. “The legend dates back to 1799 when Gulielma Elmore Sands tried to elope with her fellow boardinghouse tenant, Levi Weeks. Eleven days later, her body was found at the bottom of the well in Lispenard’s Meadow—which is now 129 Spring Street. Since 2014, it’s been the site of a COS retail store.
Levi was arrested, tried, and acquitted in the first major murder trial in America that was fully recorded by a court stenographer. His attorneys? Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr! But Sands’ ghost is said to roam the area, a warning to other girls who might try to run off with their lovers. Curious shoppers can still see the well in COS—just head to the back of the men’s department in the basement.”
Hitting closer to home, the mall closest to my house, Cherryvale Mall in Rockford, has some interesting occupants. According to an article in the Rock River Times, “mall employees reported feeling watched or followed once the mall closes at night. Other employees have reported that certain stores would be a mess in the morning, with clothing scattered or displays knocked over, even if the space was cleaned before being locked up. And, on an even more unsettling note, some even claimed that bathroom doors were held shut by an unknown force.”
Okay, no more going to the bathroom at Cherryvale Mall.
According to the Dayton Local, Browse Awhile Books is an interesting place to shop for books and that little extra paranormal experience you know you want. “I’ve always been pretty skeptical of such things, but at Browse Awhile Books in Tipp City – which is believed to host up to seven friendly ghosts – I personally encountered some paranormal activity. Browse Awhile Books has been featured on a few different television shows related to Ghost Hunting, and I had the opportunity to partake in an overnight investigation of the store by a trained group of professional ghost hunters.
Things became very real, when we were all down in the basement, nobody was upstairs and the sound of footsteps came from above. It wasn’t the floor creaking or anything, it was clearly footsteps, but the skeptic in me still needed more convincing. What happened next left no doubt in my mind that we weren’t alone. A turned off flashlight was laid out, and one of the investigators asked the ghost to show their presence by turning on the flashlight. Suddenly a ray of light came from it. I don’t know what happened next, as I didn’t stick around to find out. A fire destroyed Browse Awhile Books over the summer, but it’s being reconstructed and none of the ghosts are believed to have been harmed.”
Let’s stay on the bookstore theme – because, really, if I come back as a ghost, I would love to hang around in a bookstore and finish reading all of those books I never got to finish. This bookstore is in Detroit, Michigan and is called “John K. King Used and Rare Books.” This is what Detroit Bookfest says about the store, “Many people think that John King’s Book Store is haunted. Over the years, there have been numerous reports from customers of supernatural & unexplainable phenomena including footsteps and whisperings in empty hallways, lights turning on and off, feeling like they’re being watched, inanimate objects suddenly moving, doors and cabinets opening and closing, items disappearing and reappearing, feeling something lightly brush past them, unexplainable cold spots, etc…
“Years ago, we bought an estate of a murder-suicide victim. When we moved her books and other objects to the 4th floor, strange things started happening. Lights would go on and off randomly, we would hear bizarre noises, books would fall off the shelves by themselves. We weren’t scared, it was just irritating.”
Tom Jr. chimes in:
“The paranormal people came in a few years ago and claimed to have located one authentic ghost. They told us that back when this was a factory, a man killed himself on the 3rd floor. He fell in love with a female co-worker. She rebuffed him, so he killed himself up there. And his ghost haunts the 3rd floor.””
Makes you just want to go to that bookstore, doesn’t it?
The final shopping mall is, in my opinion, the coolest – literally. Dimond Center in Anchorage, Alaska is a shopping mall that was built above an ancient burial ground of Native Alaskans. (When are people going to ever learn that building on top of burying is a bad thing?) According to The Alaska Experience “As workers dug up the area, they found a few graves, but mostly ignored them since they were so small and old. Now, people share tales of hearing flute and drum music and seeing the transparent figures of wolves inside the mall, as well as ghostly people dressed in native garb roaming the hallways. Some people say they’ve felt a fearful presence in one particular room that hisses in the visitors’ ears and pinches them if they linger too long.”
So, as you walk through the stores and the malls today with Christmas music ringing in your ears and cashiers ringing up your sales, keep an eye out of some of the real spirits of the season.
Like what you read? Find more stories by Terri Reid here.