320 South Boston

Photo credit: the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society.

In the run up to Halloween, I thought I’d share some of the spookier experiences I’ve had throughout my life. Apart from assuring you that I am not making this stuff up, these are submitted without comment — you can make up your own mind about what, exactly, it was that I encountered. Watch for more of these stories to appear over the weekend.

Back in the fall and winter of 2004-2005 I spent several months temping in this iconic downtown Tulsa building. It’s one of the oldest buildings downtown, built in 1917, and I believe it was considered Tulsa’s first skyscraper, although the tower section wasn’t added until 1929.

I was working for the building management office at the time, as a shared receptionist and operator for several different businesses in the building. If I recall correctly, the management’s headquarters were on the 9th floor (it might have been the 7th; either way, it was in the oldest part of the building), and they had a big office suite with a private lounge where I would often go to grab a nap on my lunch hour. Back by the lounge was a large private bathroom. The whole area was pretty secluded.

I should point out that although Tulsa has a pretty rich paranormal history, I’ve never heard any ghost stories centered around this building, either before or after this incident. Of course, most of the people renting office space in this building are lawyers and accountants, not the sort of people who typically like to share experiences that might cause people to look at them cock-eyed. But I also worked closely with the maintenance staff, and they liked to talk about the building, so I’m sure if they’d ever encountered anything strange, I’d have heard about it.

Anyway, one day in either late December or early January, I had gone downstairs to the little convenience store on the first floor to buy some coffee, then took it up to the lounge to do some writing on my lunch break (I can’t remember if I’d already eaten lunch elsewhere or if I’d brought it from home–the important thing is, I had coffee). Afterwards, I went into the bathroom to freshen up before heading back upstairs to my reception desk.

The bathroom was the type that has a little foyer/lounge area when you first walk in, and in this area was a large, lidded trash can, the kind with the flap on the front that you push in to dump your trash. Everything about it looked normal as I paused to throw away my coffee cup before heading into the toilet area. All of the stalls were empty, and I was alone in the bathroom. As I went about my business, I suddenly felt creeped out. I told myself that I’d seen too many scary movies and didn’t obey my inexplicable urge to get the hell out of there, but as I washed my hands the feeling that I needed to hurry up and leave just got stronger. So I gathered up my things and headed out of there–and stopped in my tracks in the foyer area, staring in slack-jawed wonder at the trash can as chills ran down my spine.

I just want to make it clear that if someone had come in, I would have heard the door open. If someone had messed with the trash can, taking off the lid, rustling the bag and all the trash inside, I definitely would have heard that. But the entire time I was in there I never heard a sound that didn’t come from me.

The trash can lid had been taken off and then set back on top of the can upside down, and right in the middle of it sat my coffee cup, as if someone had just set it down there for a minute.

I got over my shock, and I ran. I ran out of the suite and hurried back up to my desk and I never went back to that lounge or used that bathroom again. I only worked there for about a month after that incident, and I never had any other unexplained occurrences in that building.