Ghost Stories

Old Family Ghost Stories

310 DeGuigne was the site of what, a the time, was called the GE Building. General Electric owned the whole complex, and California Plant Protection had the security contract. My father worked the graveshift on security. CPP had a great reputation at the time, and favored miilitary veterans with good records, and Dad was a WW2 vet, Pacific Theater. This is important, because after the Japanese Empire threw everything they had at him (or so it felt) not much scared him. He had seen some awful stuff and been in some scary situations. With that in mind, think about what it would take for him to call our house at 3AM telling my brother and I in a shaky to get over there and bring the dog.

We grabbed Sarge and hit the road, not knowing what we were going to encounter. When we got out there, my dad was pacing nervously at the main building's glass doors. He unlocked them and hurriedly ushered us in. Sarge, an adult German Shepherd, was happily wagging his tail as Dad rrlated the tale to us:

He had just finished up a patrol of the grounds and had returned to his desk. The janitors had already come and gone and he was quite alone. He sat down and had leaned back to continue reading his book when he heard what sounded like a giant pounding his fists on the roof. Three solid kabooms on the roof were followed by three on the sides of the building and three on the front that he was surprised didn't shatter the glass. He had at first thought it an earthquake and dove under the desk. When it was over, he looked up to see if tehre was any immediate danger from the lights overhead, but they weren't even swinging. He did an immediate patrol of known "danger zones", places with pressurized tanks and pipes that might have exploded. Seeing nothing, he went outside and checked the whole grounds. Nothing.

There was a second building that was across the parking lot. If anything had exploded over there, the blast would have had to have been big enough to level the building. As the building was intact, he headed over there, and that's when he became reacquainted with a sensation he hadn't felt since facing a banzai charge back in the war; fear. every step he took felt heavier and heavier and by the time he got to the building's door, he felt like someone was standing on the other side of the glass and was incredibly angry with him. In spite of everything telling him to leave, he forced himself to open the door and enter the building.

He turned on the lights as he inspected the building but couldn't shake the feeling of someone walking very closely behind him. Every office he checked felt like someone was in it. Every hallway felt oppressive. At one point he walked past the fabrication area, the "fab" room. He reached for the door, but it flew open. He was startled, fully expecting someone to emerge from the room although he knew that there was nobody else on the site. All that lay beyond was a darkened fab room. The fab room was halfway down this hall. At the far end was a pair of fire doors, shut and chained. Nonetheless, a violent wind came racing down the hallway at him accompanied by the sound of crashing 50-gallon drums.

This was where his nerve broke. He admitted to running back out the front door with the crashing sound behind him. He didn't even stop to lock the door. He cleared the parking lot in record time and locked the place behind him, turning to watch the now unlocked second building just to be sure that he hadn't just been hoodwinked by more corporeal entities, i.e., friends of the guard he had discovered stealing monitors and turned in to the police a few months prior. He stepped backwards toward the desk, never taking his eyes off of the building. It was then that he called my brother and I.

When we got there he was visibly shaken. He gave us the low-down and admitted that he did not want to go back to the second building. It was strange to see my father so frightened. Still, he had courage left to go back. We went in with Sarge on a leash and a small recorder. As we walked up to the door, Sarge stopped. His tail was down, his fur was bristling. Dad opened the door and Sarge began walking in slowly, cautiously, his eyes and nose pointed straight ahead. Once inside, Dad pulled the door shut and locked it behind us.

My brother had brought along a camera with infra-red film. (Or was it an IR lens? Memory on that is kinda of fuzzy as he had both.) He began snapping pictures in various places, including into the fab room. The oppressive feeling was still hanging in the air. We went down to the fire doors and confirmed that they were still chained and secure. Our last photograph was in the conference room. I had gotten into the shot, wearing my usual all-black. (I was a typical teen rocker. What can I say?)

All the while we were walking around, Sarge was moving like he was tracking something. We took him off the leash to see where he went, and he kept returning to the hall with the fire doors. He start down the hall like he was ready to chase something, but then he'd stop, one paw raised in mid-step. Finally we decided to set up the recorder, but Sarge didn't want to leave. We had to drag him bodily out of the building. He didn;t settle down until we got back to the first building.

We left the recorder on for 90 minutes, the length of one side of the tape. While we waited, Dad told us about things he had heard from employees. Hands seen out of the corner of the eye in the copier room, desk drawers slamming shut on their own, someone shouting "Hey!" in an angry voice, it was no wonder that the janitors raced through that building, giving it only the most minimal of cleaning. Some people working overtime would actually call security to be escorted not just out to their cars but out of the building entirely!

Back at the tape recorder, something had gone high and right on us. We went to retrieve the machine and found the machine shattered. It had been smashed, destroyed, even to the circuit boards being cracked in two. The tape had been unravelled. Fortunately, I was able to reel the tape back up. It contained about 30 minutes of nothing followed by ten or so minutes of what sounded like heavy but distant footsteps. After that, something muffled the microphone, like a hand being placed over it. That was where the tape stopped.

We sat out the rest of the shift with Dad, leaving only as the company's morning shift began to arrive. We took the film to have it developed and when we went to pick it up we were offered $100 for the film. The developer collected ghost photography and our pics of 310 showed amorphous shapes distinctly in several photos. In the one in the conference room, a definite human shape of a husky arm, part of bib overalls, and a bandana were visible almost right next to me. While the picture was being taken, I didn't sense anything, but I'm not a sensitive.

My mother's family has a long history in the area and they were where we started our research. Through their answers and people they referred us to, we learned that the site of 310 had been a large strawberry farm. When the big corporations were moving in, not everybody sold so readily, even when offered more than the land was worth at the time. I don't think it was GE, but when it came time to buy the strawberry farm, the owner refused to sell. It had been in his family for too long. Through legal tricks and the Old Boy network, the land was suddenly and mysteriously devalued, some politician pulled a few strings, and before anyone knew it, the strawberry farm had been stolen. The previous owner was given a pittance and died a bitter and broke man.

Following this lead, we actually got to talk to several people higher up in the company and they told us that the site had a very high turnover. Employees were constantly requesting transfers to other sites, and they were strangely relieved to hear our account. They feared labor/management problems more than the dead! less than a year after our meeting with the heads of that site, GE moved out. The site was cut into several different suites, and some years later, my brother and my boyfriend drove by the place. We wanted to know if anything had changed. Seeing a light on in an office, we knocked on the door. A frightened looking employee happily opened the door. He was very happy to have company and did not hesitate to tell us of the hauntings he was experiencing. We told him of our findings years prior and he felt better knowing that he wasn't losing his mind.

As of last year, 310 Deguigne still had a high-tenancy turnover.

For my part, I wish I hadn't trusted the pictures and recording to my brother. He left them and all of our notes, including the farmer's name, in a duffel bag that he put into a storage unit that he just stopped paying on.