By M.P. Pellicer | Stranger Than Fiction Stories
There are many typical places where ghosts are expected to be found, but government offices are not usually one of them.
Child Ghost Haunts Spanish Town Hall
The story began February 3, 2017, when a councilor of the City Hall of Vegas del Genil had to stay late in the building to finish a project.
He was alone that evening, and he got up from his desk to put on a coat because, according to him, "it was abnormally cold". Then he went to the bathroom where he began to hear strange sounds from the end of the corridor, "as if someone were dragging a box of files". At first he called out the name of the townhall's orderly, thinking it would be him, but he had long since left.
For fear that thieves were breaking in, he decided not to turn on the light. Then with his cellular phone he took a picture of the hall, however the flash did not go off. He didn't see anyone, which made him feel better. But when he returned to his office he looked at the photograph and could not believe what he saw: in the middle of the corridor, appeared what looked like the figure of a little girl. "I entered into a state of panic" explained the councilman who locked himself in his office, and warned his colleagues who shared his office through the WhatsApp group they shared. One of his companions went to pick him up to take him home.
The next day they wanted to minimize the importance of the event, but when discussing it with a worker from the City Council, she told them that other colleagues also said that they had felt strange phenomena and "restlessness due to the inexplicable cold in the plenary room", where they said there were two heaters, which had been inspected by technicians who confirmed they were working perfectly.
Although they tried to prevent the story from getting out, they could not stop the photo from going viral in the small town of about 11,000 inhabitants.
A councilor decided to ask a Reiki master to perform a "clean energy" session to eliminate that "strange presence." The Reiki practitioner clarified that it was not an exercise in "spiritualism" and that their work consisted in "opening a door so that these presences that are trapped and do not know how to return are able to do so". According to the Reiki practitioner, besides the girl that appears in the image, "there was a denser entity that is the one that caused people that sensation of fear they were feeling".
Leandro Martin, the mayor dismissed the request for an exorcism. He said he had townspeople without electricity, which demanded his attention more than what he suspected was a joke.
Nothing more was written about the photograph, or if there was any history to the building, which would explain the ghost of a child in a government office.
The Old Santa Monica City Hall
In 1912, the city hall at Santa Monica boasted its own ghost. The building was undergoing improvements and some hoped it would scare the phantom away.
The wraith remained unseen, but not unheard. Former Chief of Police Barretto would hear mysterious footfalls and rapping in the treasurer's office. He would go to investigate and would find no one there. George Willey a one time police sergeant used to hear footsteps on the second floor, when he was on night duty on the first floor. He would hurry upstairs and went through the various offices, but they were empty.
Other officers said they heard uncanny noises, and were unable to explain them.
The Old Oakland Park City Hall
The Oakland Park City hall faced demolition in 1913, and there was concern if the old city hall ghost would be left homeless.
Some wondered if he was the spirit of a former prisoner. He was described as a weird figure by several policemen and others who worked at the building throughout the years. It seems he was a quiet ghost and the police were quite used to him. No one knows who he was or what he was, and only saw him a few times. He presented as a shadowy outline of a stout built man wearing a cap. He was usually seen around midnight wandering about the first floor. He would go from the old pressroom toward the coal bunker and finally disappear into a wall.
Lieutenant William Wood saw the figure, and after he shouted at it, the figure slid away into the darkness.
A.J. Stolk an electrician described it as: "it had a sort of phosphorescent glow about it. I did not try to talk to it. I beat it at once. You don't catch me mixing up with ghosts, because while I may not be brave, I have good common sense."
The Old Greensboro City Hall
It seems that the destruction of old city halls brought about concern for what was to become of resident spirits. Such was the case in 1928, for the phantom that walked the hallways of the Greensboro (NC) city hall.
The story of the ghost went back to 1897, when a gallows stood where the crumbling city hall would be built a few years later at Elm and Gaston. A public hanging took place, and many had come to witness the event. The prisoner was a man convicted of murdering his wife, and he was duly executed.
The ghost would prowl on the stairways and about corridors during the night, and policemen who were headquartered on the second floor were the ones to most often hear him "bumping and thumping" around in the dead hours of night.
If there was anyone who would be cursed to walk as a ghost it would be Robert Sunly Ryan, also known as Sonny Ryan. He was executed on December 29, 1897.
He was illegitimate and from a young age he "arrayed himself against laws and morals". He was fond of bad company, carousing, drinking and gambling. In 1875, he married Eliza A. Jennings and they had 8 children.
He took to making blockade whiskey, and due to his cunning he managed to escape punishment.
In the spring of 1897, he beat his wife while she was pregnant and he left the city in fear of being arrested. He returned in the fall but kept hidden. On December 4, he waited in the darkness by the gate leading to the house where his family lived on South Ashe Street, near the A.M.E. church. He knew his wife would visit the market every Saturday to purchase food for the boarders at the house.
He disguised himself as a woman and crouched in the shadows. As expected his wife was returning from her errand with their 5-year-old son. The murder was described by a local newspaper thus:
He stepped toward her, threw his left arm around her neck and fired two shots at her from a 38-calibre revolver, one of the bullets penetrating a vital spot in her left breast, just below her neck. The boy ran back to the house crying that his father was out there trying to kill his mama. William Mitchell, a boarder, ran out followed by Ryan’s oldest daughter, Eva, aged about eighteen. Mr. J. R. Pitts and others, who happened to be passing almost on the opposite side of the street, rushed over to the scene and found the woman lying on the wet ground. Carrying her into the house they at once summoned medical aid, but to no avail.
It was thought prudent to execute him quickly after he pled guilty, and was convicted since a large crowd gathered and there was talk of taking Ryan from the jail and lynching him, but Sheriff Hoskins made arrangements to protect Ryan from any mob violence.
Eighty or more spectators gathered for the execution. He never expressed any remorse. He never asked to see any of his children. The sheriff fixed the rope on his neck and asked if he wanted to give the word when to spring the trap. Ryan said he did. "Tell me when you are ready," said the sheriff. "Let her go!" promptly responded Ryan. The fall broke his neck and 12 minutes later he was pronounced dead. He was 41 years old.
Since 1870 there had been five executions in the county prior to this one.
Eliza's children lived into old age.
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