More Ghost Stories!- Haunted Cat Shelter

It was a dark and stormy night... Once upon a time... Back in the day... Do you remember when...

These are fairly cliched ways to start a story. We've used them so much, that some have become memes, and the people sharing them don't even know where they started. But, and this is the funny thing, how many of the stories we heard growing up, whether stories about our families, or about the city we lived in, started that way. "Back when I was a kid..." or "We all knew about So-and-So's house".

I've written about my old farm house, and the whispering door, the shadow people and BEK's, creepy haunted clown dolls, and Satanic Panic. If you've read my work, you know I love scary stories. Especially the ones that seem plausible-- the ones that make you think for a second, look behind your shoulder when you're walking at night, or watch the rear-view mirror when you're driving.

October, being the month of Hallowe'en is rife with ghost stories. We dust off the urban legends, break out the "back when I was a kid" and share our ghostly experiences. I've a handful that I want to share, and I'll start with a haunting. I'll try to get a few queued up for the next few weeks, and I'll dig around my local area, to see if I can find some new ones to share!

I'm not going to rationalise any story I share for the Hallowe'en season. Not one! They're merely to share and enjoy. :)

I work for a cat shelter, you all know this. The originally house was built in 1952, and built on to so many times we're not even sure what it originally looked like (there was a fire back in the 60's or something, and so we couldn't get the original blue prints. Isn't there Always a fire?!). We've moved out of the building, while we get it ready for a full renovation, and as of right now, our store front isn't haunted.

The house is, though. The shelter is long, vaguely rectangular, has 3 larger sections. The easternmost section is "medical", where the kitties are cared for if they are sick, where the mummy cats care for their kittens, and where exams and jabs are done. The centre section is where the FeLV+, FIV+, Senior Cats and the Lobby are located. The westernmost section includes what we call "general pop", the administrative offices, and two large outdoor "catios" (fully enclosed patios, with screens to keep the cats from climbing out, or predators from climbing in). Mind you, square footage-wise, this isn't exactly thirds. But, more the way we spoke of it.

The medical portion of the shelter used to be a guest house, from what we've been told. Then, eventually, the two little houses were built together, and the western part was added on. Again, this place has been added on to so often, and I don't know if anyone knows exactly when each part was done. My office, for instance, was located in what used to be the aviary/patio! It got built in, walled up and there you go.

The place has character, though, and that's why we're renovating it; it would be a shame to lose such a neat building. Anyway, the hauntings.

* The house was wired up with speakers for the intercom; we could play music over it, or page each other (which is handy if you need So-and-So, and they're somewhere in the 9,000 sq ft building). It didn't like to work all the time, or the intercoms would work on half the house, but not the other half. Which half, well, what day is it?

Walking from the Lobby, east to Medical, I passed an intercom speaker in one of the alcoves. It was hissing with white noise. So I made a mental note to say something to our IT guy, who had wired it up. We'd been having trouble with them, not working, and I thought maybe there was some interference-- it made sense, if something was interfering, no wonder the intercom wouldn't play right. (No music this day, and the intercom connection was closed; no one was trying to page anyone).

I ran my errand and headed back to the lobby, where my desk was then located. (Before I moved into the back office). I heard a voice coming through the intercom; it was a woman's voice, but it wasn't clear, and I couldn't figure out who it was or what she wanted. So I walked toward the back Admin office and asked who was being paged. No one. They didn't know what I was talking about. I mentioned the white noise, and thought I'd imagined it.

If that was the only time it happened, I'd chalk it up to that. But, there were two intercom speakers that regularly spouted white noise followed by voices for the three years I worked in that building. I could never hear what was being said. But eventually, with much listening, I realized it was two voices, women, and they were conversing.

* The last time this happened, was just before we moved in August. I heard the voices, very muffled, but still there. No white noise, though. How weird, I thought. Then I remembered that the intercoms had been shut off-- one overheated badly, and we cut electricity to all of them while we tried to work out what was going on. There was no electricity going to them, whatsoever. I wish I'd thought to record it!

* One employee heard the laughter of an old man, one night when we were open until 7pm. He was out on the west patio, checking doors and making sure no one was still visiting with the cats. He ran through the shelter to me up front, face pale, and walked me back to the patio, asking me to listen. While I didn't hear the laughter then, I did later; what I did hear was a rhythmic creaking sound; made me think of a rocking chair. The rocking chair was a fairly common thing to hear, too; at all hours, if that patio was empty, you might hear it.

* On the medical side, there was a long hallway-- from front to back of the building. If you went over, stood by the door, and flicked off the lights, then waited, you'd hear step-step-tap, step-step-tap; all the way up the hall, coming toward you. It would stop and turn around about 6 feet from the door. Sounding like a person walking with a cane. Up and down the hall. I heard it come up, and then back. It didn't turn a second time, and I was a little disappointed, as I was going to walk to meet the sound. (Because I'm a little stupid like that!)

* We used to have a "kitten cam", or a live camera feed in our kitten room, that you could watch online, along with cameras inside the shelter, for security. The kitten cam was a favourite for quite awhile; when we stopped broadcasting, we still recorded after hours for security. Our director and a few others, regularly saw orbs on the camera's recordings, dancing all over the room. I haven't seen the orbs, but from what I was told, only some of them can be explained by dust, light or other things. The camera was mounted on the wall, too high for the kittens to get to, and there were no lights on a night. The street light didn't shine into that room, and so it was pretty dark.

* "Did you see the cat that ran in here?!" Someone would burst into the lobby, or holler through the door. "It was a black one?" We'd drop every thing, dash into the room and start counting back cats. Whether it was FIV, FeLV or the Geriatric wards, we knew we had to figure out which kitty had "door darted" and put them back in their proper room.

We'd count and count and always come out the same: No extra all black cats in the room.

Almost every employee and several volunteers have experienced this Ghost Cat! It's exasperating, as there were a handful of kitties who'd run through your feet if they could, just to go "exploring"! So we run around like maniacs, trying to figure out which cat doesn't belong, and to get them back in their spots, only to realize there were no extras... I think it's one of the cats who lived there many years before. He had his photo taken with our Founder many times, and he was her baby.

We always speak of the founder of our shelter as if she's still there, even though she passed away more than 25 years ago. She's the one we blame the sounds on, the conversations and the steps. We just say Hello to her, and go about our days. I do hope that when the renovations are done, she's still around, I'd hate to lose that part of this shelter-- it's one thing that made working in that building so much fun: you never knew what you'd see!

These aren't all the stories of our haunted building, but they're the ones I can remember, or that I know were fairly common.

Please write them in the comments, or email me if you want to share some of your own stories! I'd love to read them, and will post them with attribution if you give me permission :)


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