Creepy Experiences During Nightshift
As one might expect, most supernatural and paranormal encounters occur in the hours of darkness. What is it about the night that seemingly exhibit these occurrences? Is it our own feelings of isolation and vulnerability or is it something more profound? In this post, we hear accounts from those who worked through the night on the dreaded night shift.
The night shift is a polarizing proposition for many workers. Some actively seek it out, enjoying the relative peace and quiet of the midnight hours. Others try to avoid it at all costs, only partaking out of necessity or because they have no other choice. Luckily for the latter, the requirement to work overnight duties has lessened somewhat in the last two decades due to the introduction of the more salubrious twilight shift or the implementation of automated solutions. But even in circumstances where a human element is still deemed necessary, those performing such roles are often supported by digital communications, CCTV and GPS technology, which assist them with their duties.
And yet, for the people who undertake these 10 or 12 hour shifts whilst the rest of us are sleeping, with only themselves or a limited number of colleagues for company, such periods of time often prove difficult to endure. Even with the aid of stimulants such as caffeine, medication and electronic devices, all the technology in the world cannot suppress emotions such as fear, loneliness, and doubt. It should come as no surprise that many night workers often find themselves isolated and alone, and whether through irregular sleep patterns leading to sleep deprivation or something more profound, we often find that these people have at least one strange experience to share. What follows is a collection of stories from night shift workers who encountered something out of the ordinary.
Bodmin's St. Lawrence hospital incident
Built in 1818, Bodmin's St. Lawrence hospital was commissioned to accommodate growing numbers of mentally ill residents. During its tenure, it would become one of the most prominent asylums in the southwest of England and its facilities would go on to be expanded a further six times over the decades.
As with many such institutions of its day, its reputation would come to be somewhat marred by accusations of mistreatment towards patients. Much controversy and lengthy legal battles would come to define its final years, before it was eventually closed in 2002. What followed was a period of neglect as the site stood derelict for over a decade before the main buildings were eventually converted into luxury apartments in 2013. During the intervening period, the less historic outer buildings were slowly demolished.
The sprawling hospital grounds were fenced off from public access, and patrolled by security guards, posted to prevent vandalism and wayward urban explorers. One of these security guards, Steve Hennigan, would work on the site for several years, during which time he would allegedly experience numerous eerie and unexplained incidents. These included doors violently slamming shut of their own accord and gurneys rolling down corridors when no one was near them.
Some of his colleagues claim to have heard footsteps making their way around the facility at night, coming through hallways towards them or stamping around in rooms above their heads when they knew no one else was there. There were also reports of cackling laughter or soft whimpering coming from behind the doors of locked rooms, and shadowy figures which were seen to somehow pass through solid walls. Due to its sheer size, it was standard practice to have two guards stationed at the complex during the night, though on occasion, a third worker might also be present for training or some other purpose.
That working routine consisted of one man patrolling the perimeter fences and checking the buildings, whilst the other remained in the CCTV cabin, keeping an eye on the camera feeds. They would then alternate these responsibilities throughout the shift.
During one evening in February of 2004, Hennigan was working alongside his usual partner, Rob Durham, as well as the new guard named Shaun Pollock. Shawn would be filling in for Rob in the coming weeks as he was due to take annual leave.
At some point during the night, whilst the new recruit was out walking the perimeter fences, Steve had started to feel unwell, and advised Rob that he was going for a lie down. Leaving his partner to man the cameras, Hennigan made his way to one of the empty outbuildings nearby, where the guards had constructed a makeshift sickbay, using furniture and bedding left over from the hospital's closure. Settling into a gurney, Steve closed his eyes and rolled onto his side, trying to alleviate the nausea which had come over him.
But after about 10 minutes, he was disturbed by a recurring noise emanating from the main corridor just outside. Believing this to be the wind, he tried to ignore it, before realizing that it was far too persistent and rhythmical. As time passed, he concluded that what he could hear was deep and labored breathing, coming from just outside the room where he was lying. Thinking, this was one of his colleagues playing a prank, he turned and shouted for them to cut it out and then rolled back over to face away from the door.
But the sound had persisted. As Steve laid with his back to the entrance, he realized that the breathing was steadily growing in volume, as if the individual responsible had now entered the room with him. Turning again, he scanned his surroundings, only to find that he was alone. But still, the same persisted, and now seem to be coming from just outside the room's only window. It wasn't unusual for homeless people to sneak into the grounds, and now he believed that someone was sleeping in the small alleyway just beneath the window outside.
Creeping over, he took out his torch and shone it down into the darkness, only to find that the alleyway was completely empty. Confused, he stepped back and that is when he saw her.
Standing no more than three feet away from him, was a slim woman wearing a white hospital gown. Hennigan could not see her face, as her profile features were obscured by long dark hair. She had her back to the wall, facing directly into the center of the room and was breathing heavily, as if distressed.
Overcoming his initial shock, he asked the mysterious intruder if she needed help. When she did not reply, he reached out to tap her shoulder only for her to turn and recoil in horror, stepping back and passing right through the wall behind her, his nerve broken, Hennigan fled the room, running across the site back to the CCTV cabin. His unexpected and crashing entrance through the portacabin door startled his two colleagues. Struggling to get his words out, he asked if either had seen anything unusual on the cameras, only to be told they had not. His coworker, Rob, then fixed him with a knowing smile and said ," You've seen her, haven't you?" Apparently, Steve's was not the first encounter of its kind.
The experiences of Steve Hennigan in central Cornwall are eerily similar to an incident which took place a decade later, on the far side of the world. And on this occasion, the location involved was not a derelict premises, but one of the busiest buildings on the island of Honolulu. Located in central Waipahu, the Ke Kula Makai training center is the main coaching facility for the Honolulu Police Department.
The Ke Kula Makai training center ghosts
Attended by new recruits, seasoned officers and civilian support staff, it is a thriving hub of activity in the daytime. But during the hours of darkness, the facility is usually patrolled by a solitary security officer. This story concerns one such individual, a guard by the name of Tony, whose experiences during one terrifying week of work almost led him to quit his job. Tony had worked on site for several years, arriving each evening as the instructors packed their bags and left via the main entrance.
Once he was alone, he would secure the gates, before commencing a roaming foot patrol in and around the site. One evening at the start of a new set of shifts, Tony had been walking the fence line, when he had heard a loud disturbance coming from the dog kennels on the opposite side of the complex. Torch in hand, he had run as fast as he could to the canine section, to find the police dogs going wild in their kennels, barking and howling at another apparent commotion.
Alongside the barking, Tony could also hear a series of loud bangs, as if two points of wood were being smacked together. Leaving the pens behind him and following this sound, he found himself heading towards an empty building, set aside for firearms training. As he neared the void premises, he saw that the wooden shutters, which should have been secured over the windows of the building, were slamming open and shut of their own accord. It was a windless night and thinking it must be someone pranking him, he shone his torch over towards the building to see who it could be. To his amazement, the shutters continued to move to and fro, despite nobody being nearby. He shouted to announce his presence and no sooner had the words left his mouth, than all the shutters suddenly slammed closed once and for all.
A little disturbed, Tony walked over to the building, conducting a wide circular patrol, before finally going inside. Every room and stairwell was empty, with no sign that anybody had been there. Completely dumbfounded, the guard left to continue his rounds, steering clear of this building for the rest of his shift.
Two nights later, Tony was once again working alone near the site's main entrance. Having already conducted two full circuits of the fence lines, he decided to take a break in one of the smoking areas. As he scanned the grounds, he suddenly caught sight of an old lady, attired in a flowing white dress, slowly walking across the car park towards him. Assuming she was lost or in need of help, Tony rose to his feet. He wondered how she had gotten into the facility since he had already locked the gates.
Waving his arm to attract her attention, the guard was shocked to see her suddenly vanish into thin air. Already on edge as a result of the incident at the firearms building, he had immediately resolved to call for the assistance of a local unit. As he turned to head towards the security office, however, he now saw that the woman was standing behind him. She was closer now, and he could see that her features were angry, twisted into a terrifying grimace.
She took a step towards him, at which point his hand instinctively fell to the pistol at his belt, only for her to once again fade into nothingness. Staggered by what he had just seen, Tony's knees gave way and he slumped onto the bench behind him. He turned, resting his face in his palms upon the table in front of him and was suddenly consumed by a dreadful feeling as all the hairs on his body stood on end.
Raising his hand, he now saw that the woman was sitting directly opposite him, her stare boring in his soul with that horrifying expression. He left from the table and made straight for the security office, looking behind him one last time, only to see her still sitting there staring at him, as he hurried away. When the police arrived shortly afterwards, they never found any trace of the spectral intruder.
A humanoid creature in a complex
The antagonists in such incidents are not solely limited to women in white, with the nocturnal visitor in our final story being of an entirely different nature. Several years ago, a young man by the name of John Lockwell took a job as a night watchman at a brewery complex in the Northwestern United States. The facility consisted of several processing plants, with a smaller bar and shop area where the public could buy beer direct.
Initially excited at the prospect of his first paid employment since leaving college, Lockwell soon found himself starting to feel uneasy as his shifts progressed. He had adopted a routine where he would focus his patrols around the bar building, occasionally conducting a walkthrough of the brewing facility, but soon became convinced that someone else was on site, watching his every move.
One evening, he had just completed his second patrol of the brewery floor and then returned to the bar area. Letting himself in, he waited until the motion sensors triggered the internal lights and was crossing the bar when he got that familiar feeling that he was not alone. Turning around, he glimpsed a large humanoid figure, completely covered in a long, thick hide, staring at him from the door through which he had just entered. This entity seemed almost too large to fit through the open doorway, its oversized arms hanging limply down at its sides.
But no sooner had he made eye contact with this mysterious Intruder, then it suddenly disappeared. Tentatively approaching the open door and searching the area, Lockwell could see no sign of it or any sign that it even been there at all.
Over the coming days, when he tried to discuss the matter with guards on the daytime shift, he found that nobody was prepared to talk to him about it. Finally, after some persistence, one of his colleagues stated that something weird did frequent the site on occasion, but that it was totally harmless. A week later, Lockwell had walked over to the bar area to conduct another walkthrough.
The bar had two sets of automatic doors, which formed a kind of "airlock" in the space between them. After swiping his security pass to open the external door, he stepped inside the airlock and moved forward to swipe the card reader for the inner door which led through to the bar. Staring into the glass pane before him, however, he had suddenly frozen in terror. In the reflection of the window, the youngster could see that the strange entity was standing right behind him, apparently inside the airlock with him.
Swallowing hard, he slowly presented his past to the sensor for the internal door, unable to take his eyes off the terrifying vision of the creature towering above him. He could not hear or feel its presence, but could see in the reflection that it was staring down at him with an intense gaze, its chest rising and falling. Stepping through the doorway, he quickly turned, only to find the airlock now completely empty, with no trace of the humanoid intruder. This incident proves too much for the terrified security guard, who quit shortly afterwards, choosing instead to apply for jobs which did not involve working night shifts.
The nighttime working environment can provide additional challenges rarely experienced by those on day shifts. Factors such as lack of direct contact with or support from other people, deprivation of natural light and often working in hazardous or remote environments can create strange and unique situations.
At first glance, many of these encounters can see mysterious or supernatural in nature, but often go on to make sense when reconsidered in their aftermath. And yet, some instances still continue to defy any kind of rational explanation. Is it possible that the darkness somehow weakens the barriers between the living world and what lies beyond? That by remaining awake whilst the rest of society slumbers somehow makes us more inviting to these kinds of encounters.
Do a person's feelings of loneliness also play a role in this and make them more appealing to such entities? Or is it a combination of sleep deprivation and the inevitable feelings of vulnerability when isolated in the small hours, which preys on our senses and makes us see things that aren't really there? You may be working a night shift as you listen to this. We may be putting suggestions in your mind. And you may go home after your shift has ended having seen something you cannot explain.
Regardless of whatever you believe, one thing remains certain. As long as society requires people to work night shifts, stories of paranormal or supernatural visitors will forever walk hand-in-hand with their job description.