Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Capitol Ghost Stories: A Dedicated Worker

In the mid 70's, some security guards who patrolled the building in the evening experienced strange happenings in the Chamber Level, around the corner from where we've been having the Superferry bill hearings recently.

In the hallway leading out by the back entrance to the Senate Print Shop near the Senate Clerk's Office, some guards would hear the running of what sounded like a mechanical, belt-driven, off-set press. This was odd because there were copiers in the print shop and it was during the interim when the Legislature was not in session.

When a guard would open the door, the lights would be off and the copiers were not on. In fact, a couple of guards who touched the surface of the copiers found them to be cold. This happened on several occasions for single guards on patrol.

On one evening shift, a couple of guards got together and went on patrol after reports of hearing the running of the presses. As they heard the sounds, they split up to coordinate and enter through two separate doors, hoping to trap a prankster or perhaps someone using the copiers illegally. When they entered, the room was dark except for the light coming in from the hallway door. One guard immediately checked the copier that was cold to the touch and he caught a glimpse of what he believed to be an older Chinese woman moving away from the light. His partner didn't see the woman at all and they were both flustered by the incident. But that night was the last night the incident occurred.

A few days later, when picking up their paychecks, they saw a staff member coming out of the print shop area and told her about the incidents. She asked the guard to describe the woman that he saw that night. After he finished she said she thought that sounded like a former worker who started working from the time the legislature held sessions in 'Iolani Palace, when they had off-set presses to print bills and reports.

When pressed to find out what happened to her, the staff member explained that the woman left because of medical reasons, which made her sad because she loved her work and spending time with her co-workers. The staff member further explained that the woman recently died just over a month ago.

One of the guards, startled by her statement said that was around the time the incidents had started and told the staff member that the incidents only stopped the past week.

The staff member paused. That was an odd coincidence, she said, because that would have been around the time the woman officially retired.

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