It seems like anywhere at all can be haunted, and these are sometimes the places that one would least likely expect. Take police stations. They are full of the courageous men and women who would protect us from the dark forces of the world and enforce the laws that keep us safe. However, what happens when the dark forces and things from beyond our understanding come for them? Here we will look at some peculiar accounts of supposedly very haunted police stations, where the spooks seems to have been able to dodge the law in the weirdest of ways.
An inordinate number of these cases come from the city of Chicago, which is loaded with quite a few supposedly haunted police stations. One of these is The Thirteenth Precinct Police Station at Grand Crossing, which was once supposedly the haunt of an apparition that takes the form of an elderly man with long white hair and “a covered face and floating garments,” which seemed to enjoy startling the stations officers and had the unsettling habit of brushing its hands against their faces. According to the Chicago Tribune, February 28, 1898, one of the first encounters with the specter was made by a Sergeant William Clancy, who was at his desk one evening when the ghost walked by to brush his cheek as it did and then walk off without a sound to vanish into thin air.
Not long after this, Night Operator David Lyon was startled to see the ghostly old man walk by just as his dog started going wild, barking and snarling madly, and the telephone began to ring incessantly. When it was picked up there was no one on the line, and the only two direct connections to the station insisted that they hadn’t called. A month after this the ghost was seen casually sitting in a patrol box reading a newspaper by candlelight, after which it stood up, walked out of the box, and blinked out of existence as several officers looked on. Many reports of the Thirteenth Precinct Police Station ghost would be reported in quick succession after this, and the article would write of this:
Since that night regular visits have been made to the station each month by the strange being. These visits invariably occur between the 1st and 5th of the month. He has been seen by ex-Desk Sergeant George Charles and Sergeant John Duffy, who has been awakened twice by the bony hands of the “gray man” stroking his face as he slept in the squadroom. Duffy will no longer sleep in the room for fear of another visit. Martin Murphy is another who refuses to occupy his bed up-stairs. The latter has had in all seven encounters with the mysterious stranger. Operator Will Head claims that the first time he saw the apparition both the station clock and his watch stopped. It was 12:30 one night two months ago. The last appearance of the “gray man” was on Feb. 4 shortly after midnight. Patrolman Philip McGuire was awakened by a hand placed upon his face. “Are you ready to go to Cuba?” a hoarse voice asked. McGuire saw bending over him the shadowy outline of an old man with covered face, which instantly vanished.
According to the site Chicagology, there are at least 6 other haunted police stations in Chicago, including The Stockyards, Hyde Park, Grand Crossing, Englewood, Desplaines, and New City stations, and it lists several old articles from the Chicago Tribune talking about these hauntings. One account from The Stockyards station comes from the Chicago Tribune, May 5, 1907, concerns an old soldier who had asked to sleep in the station’s basement on a cold winter’s night and was found the next morning dead, either from old age, illness, or the elements. The next evening, strange things would happen, and the article says:
The next night, when Sergeant Prindeville sat dozing in his chair, waiting for the dawn to break the night watch, and send him home to breakfast, he was startled to hear a slight rap on the door. The night was stormy and the sergeant thought at first that the wind had caused the noise. Listening carefully, he again heard the rapping on the door and went at once to open it. As he turned the knob a flurry of snow was whipped into his face and through this, in the half light, he saw the outlines of the same old soldier that had asked him for a night’s lodging on the previous night. Knowing, as he did, that the man had died the night before, Prindeville realized at once he was facing a ghost. At that time, he never had met with a visitor from the shadowy world and was frightened out of his wits when the old soldier’s spirit stood before him.
According to the report, the ghost went on to make a habit of showing up at the station every winter during the coldest snowstorms, only to knock on the door and vanish. The Hyde Park station not too far away also supposedly has its own ghost of a woman who roams around the premises freaking people out. One such report comes from the same 1907 Chicago Tribune article, and describes an encounter made with the ghost by a Detective John Shea, who says he awoke in the station one evening to something constantly pulling the covers off of his bed. He thought this was merely his imagination at first, but the invisible force continued to pull the covers off and tug on the sheets, and that is when the entity made its presence known. The rest of the rather harrowing report reads:
Shea says the intruder was shaped like a woman, except that it had only one eye, which shone with a blue sort of light. Stealthily approaching his bed, until it stood within a foot of him, the ghost slowly put out a hand toward him. By that time Shea, who would rather chase an armed highwayman into a dark alley than eat, was as cold as an icicle, and was clutching his revolver handle so firmly that his fingers are bent yet from the pressure. Slowly the extended hand of the ghost gathered up the corners of his bed quilts and as slowly pulled them from him on to the floor. Then the ghost retreated to his position behind the locker, where it could watch him with its one blue eye until he had gathered up the quilts again.
Shea declares with all the vigor he can summon that he lay there eyeing that ghost for an hour. By that time, he says, his courage returned to him, and with his gathering strength he leveled his revolver at the hideous eye before him and then jerked the trigger. With the shooting there was a commotion downstairs, where some of the other night men were playing cards, and across the street in the Holland hotel, where hundreds of guests were sleeping. With strides that cleared a half dozen steps at a time, Shea’s fellow officers ran up to where he was sleeping and turned on the lights. Then, with the perspiration dripping from him, Shea pointed to the plastering on the south wall of the room, where six large holes had been bored by the bullets from his revolver, and uttered the one word, “ghost!”
Another of these haunted Chicago police stations is the Englewood station, which has a rather terrifying and somewhat violent ghost. According to the 1907 article, the ghost is said to be that of a Polish laborer who had died when he was hit by a train on the tracks right behind the police station. This ghost apparently had the unsettling habit of pushing police officers out of their bunks at night, and was also known to throw items such as rocks, bricks, and brick bats with great force, even carrying bricks around with it specifically for this purpose. A Chicago Tribune article details one particularly frightening encounter with the ghost, which was experienced by an officer Denny Lang, saying:
About an hour after he had climbed into one of the iron cots provided for the men on reserve duty, Lang was startled by a heavy thumping on the floor under his bed. Peering out from under the covers to learn the nature of the disturbance, he was startled out of his wits to behold, over in the corner of the room, a life sized ghost, with fire balls for eyes and equipped with the bag of brick bats, just as the other men had described him. Denny admits that he felt his courage oozing away and that he made up his mind at once that he had better get out in a hurry.
With one leap he reached the head of the winding stairs and in two more he was in the street and racing like wild fire down Wentworth avenue. After him, hurling brick bats, that bounced uncomfortably close to his heels, followed the angry ghost. Lang admits that he would have been running yet had he not reached his own home after setting the ghost a pace that was too hot to be followed, and since then he has not slept in the station. Recently the Englewood station was remodeled and the men say that with the changes the ghost does not appear as frequently as he formerly did. Even yet the officers at that station are chary about sleeping there unless several of them are together.
Moving out of Chicago, we have the old Richmond Police Station, in Richmond, Texas. Built in 1897, it once served as the county jail before going on in later years to expand to become the more modern police station it is today. It is also said to be very haunted. The old historic jail cells which are no longer in use are said to be the home of clanking bars and dragging objects even when no one is there, shadow figures are seen throughout the building, intercoms are known to come alive with a voice telling people to “Get out,” and there are the frequent reports of the sound of children running around upstairs when no one is there, to the point that a Master Sgt. Lowell Neinast has said, “There are some officers who would rather not go upstairs by themselves at night,” and one dispatcher at the police office named Christina Carr has said of some of her own experiences:
You'll see people walk back and forth, it looks like shadows, black shadows that'll walk back and forth sometimes in the lobby and there's no one here in the building.
Across the pond another supposedly haunted police station is the former Accrington Police Station, in Lancashire, England. It is apparently pervaded with a good deal of myriad paranormal phenomena, such as apparitions, moving objects, cold spots, and in particular doors that open and close on their own. The old station is now a historical site and popular with ghost hunters and ghost tours, and in July of 2019 some of these ghost hunters got more than they bargained for. According to reports, a crew from the TV show Most Haunted had been exploring the old police station when they were inexplicably trapped inside one of the gloomy decommissioned jail cells on the premises when the door closed and locked apparently on its own. This is quite bizarre, as it seems that when the station was closed the doors were rigged to be permanently locked open, and it should have not been possible for them to close in the first place. Since the door could not be reopened, the crew was eventually rescued by firefighters, who had to physically saw the door open. Ghosts or just a freak mishap?
These have been just a few of the strange cases of haunted police stations that have popped up, where ghosts truly seem to be above the law. After all, there is no way to really arrest them, and is it a stated crime to haunt a police station? It just goes to show that nowhere seems to be above a good haunting now and then, and whether any of the accounts we have looked at here are due to paranormal activity or not, they sure do make for a wild ride, and it is amusing that these brave officers of the law should be quaking in their boots due to unruly specters.