Bakersfield is a town about 80 miles north of Los Angeles in Kern County, California with a country vibe. Country Legend Merle Haggard was born here, Buck Owens frequented the town, and more recent alt-country musician Dwight Yoakam has a home here. Those deep country roots gave birth to a unique music vibe called the Bakersfield Sound which had an influence on many in the genre including Johnny Cash to some degree. The town is also known for oil production and major oil companies have offices in the town. I know this because I lived there myself for several years before relocating to the east coast. While I lived there, I heard my fair share of local lore and legends and something that popped up frequently was stories of ghosts and hauntings.
Probably the most known haunted place in Bakersfield is the Padre Hotel. It’s reported that guests often hear children giggling, and the hotel staff have reported seeing a little girl wearing 1920’s clothing with a hat and gloves staring down at them from the banister. Then there is the fact that many children died at this famous Bakersfield hotel in the 1950’s, most of them during a fire that took place on the 7th floor. Then it is said that there was an earthquake that trapped people in the basement to die, and stories of suicides from the rooftop. Most who have encountered the spirits in the hotel agree that they are mischievous but never attempt to harm the visitors.
I recently had the following story reported to me by a man named John who currently lives and works in Bakersfield, California. He makes his living as a warehouse manager in town and has experienced what he believes is a spirit of more evil intent. We communicated through a series of emails over the last several weeks as his story unfolded.
His first email was as follows:
I had a very unusual experience with a ghost or ghosts at my former place of employment.and it went on for a couple of years. What do you want to know? Regards, John
Let’s start out by telling me what you saw.
This will have to be done in several installments. Firstly because I have to work and secondly I’ve still got a connection to this paranormal entity who could very easily come back to haunt me…
I never saw a thing but I heard plenty. How long do you want this to go? I can write you plenty about my brush with the paranormal.
When was the first time you encountered something?
My very first encounter occurred shortly after I was promoted to operations manager of a moving and storage company in Bakersfield. The company occupied a 100,000 square foot warehouse that had previously been a Costco. I was a hard worker and my boss recognized my abilities and he promoted to manager. I was the first person to arrive at the building and the last person to go home for six days a week. It was during my first month as the manager that I first noticed something unusual on the property.
What was so unusual?
It was late spring/early summer and I was working late trying to catch up on paperwork and learn as much about my new position that I possibly could. I believe it was around 6 o’clock in the evening, it was still daylight outside but dusk was approaching. The building was locked up tight and the office had closed for business at 4:30 p.m…
I was in my office known as the dispatch office which sat about 30 yards from the main administration office. I was sitting at my desk finalizing the work schedule for the following day when I heard the door to main admin. office very distinctly slam. The door was on a spring loaded hinge so every time somebody walked in or out of the admin office the door shut itself with a very distinct slam. Immediately I sprang from my chair and peered out the dispatch office window in the direction of the admin office, and I was expecting to see lights on in the admin office but it was completely dark.
Were you alone in the building? Maybe someone had yet to clock out?
I was thinking another administrator with keys to the building had gone into the admin office (so) I got up out of my chair and walked over to the admin office. When I arrived at the door I found it was locked so I opened the door and walked inside. The office was dark and nobody was there, I called out, “Hello! Is anyone here?” Total silence.
Well that’s weird. What did you do?
Immediately I called the owner of the company and he answered, I asked him, “Are you here at the building? Or did you just leave?” He said, “I’m at home and I’ve been here for over an hour why?” I explained I heard a noise and thought somebody was in the building. He advised me to walk the entire building and make sure all the doors were secure and ensure somebody had not snuck inside the building while we were open and was hiding inside waiting for us to close. It was a secure facility and we stored millions of dollars worth of merchandise for our customers inside the building, so security was always a priority.
Did you think someone was in the building with you?
I honestly believed that some transient or nare do well had snuck inside during business hours and was waiting for us to leave so they could do all manner of evil virtually unopposed. I walked the entire 100,000 square foot warehouse and checked every single door and anywhere I thought someone might be hiding and I turned up nothing. This is when I began to question my own sanity, I thought perhaps the strain of my new position was wearing on my nerves and maybe my mind was playing tricks on me. I went to my office and grabbed my briefcase and headed home. Little did I know this was only the beginning of the absolute horror to come.
Wow, what happened after that?
It was approximately one week later and it was the exact same set of circumstances, I was working late, I was alone, it was early evening and I heard the exact same door slam. This time I jumped out of my chair and ran to the admin office intent on catching the culprit who was trying to mess with my head. Again, when I arrived at the admin office I found it locked and secure with all the lights out. I did an entire security check of the building and found nothing out of order, only this time I did not make any phone calls because I didn’t want people to think I was insane. I was absolutely convinced there was someone in the building with me who was playing some kind of sick joke, a prank or trying to rob the place. After the second incident, I wasn’t sure what kind of danger I was in so I placed a small handgun in my briefcase because I sincerely believed someone was attempting to rob the business or harm me.
Another week went by, and once again I was working late in the early evening all alone, it was daylight outside and I was in my office when I heard the door slam yet again. This time I grabbed my gun and I ran to the admin office, I threw the door open turned all the lights on and announced, “Police! Come out with your hands up!” And wouldn’t you know it, there was nobody there.
I searched the entire admin office and there was nothing. I searched the entire premises and found nothing. I was completely befuddled and walking from the back of the building towards my office in the front of the building when a small voice deep inside my soul said, “That gun you’re carrying cannot help you in this situation…” That’s when the hair on the back of my neck and my arms stood straight up. I am getting that same sensation right now as I write to you about this. That was the moment when I realized there wasn’t a living person inside the building without permission, but I was dealing with some kind of spirit or ghost from another dimension…this was only the beginning of my trouble with the paranormal…At some point, I really need for you to help me find some more answers about this haunting…please…do you have any thoughts on what I’ve written to you so far? I assure you this story is 100 percent true and I will never forget what happened.
Well it is strange, but there could still be a reasonable explanation. Maybe a wind or draft blows through the building. Did any one else at work experience anything?
The day after my third experience with the door slamming, I went into the admin office during business hours and asked the receptionist, “Have you ever noticed anything unusual in this building since you’ve been working here?” She very matter of factly replied, “Oh yeah, the building is haunted…you just figured that out?”
I asked her, “What do you mean haunted?”
She said, “I don’t know what it is, I just know its haunted…”
Well then, seems like we have multiple witnesses. Did she talk about anything?
That statement from this lady was a real mind blower. In hindsight, I sometimes wonder if she wasn’t the reason it was haunted because she turned out to be a real class A freak. I speculated she might have been the kind of person who used a Ouija board to try and contact her deceased brother because she was responsible for his death when they were kids after she set the house on fire accidentally. All these little tidbits of information kept coming out about her as time went on that made the case for her being at least partially responsible for the paranormal activity, but she only knows what her level in this deal really is.
So you think she might have been bringing a negative energy? Who else did you talk to?
After my conversation with the receptionist, I told the general manager what happened and said I thought the place was haunted and he laughed. I told my office mate, the long haul dispatcher, what happened and he said I was full of shit and maybe I needed to stop working such long hours.
About two weeks after I told both of those individuals about the haunting all three of us were in my office together. It was a Saturday morning about 10am during the early summer, it was a beautiful sunny day outside and we were sitting around discussing business and eating breakfast. During a break in our conversation, it was completely silent in the office and in the warehouse when all of a sudden the admin office door opened and slammed with that old distinctive noise it made. I looked at both of those guys and said, “I told you so!!!”
One of the guys said, “Well it sounds like one of the bosses just came, let’s go over there and see whose here.”
He and I got up and walked across the warehouse to the admin office in less than a minute and we saw all the lights were out. I took out my keys and opened the office door and we walked inside. The office was dead silent and completely dark, there was nobody there. The older gentleman who was with me said, “Hello is anybody here?” Again it was completely silent.
At that point, this older gentlemen became very angry and he said, “I don’t know what you two little dickheads are trying to pull on me, but I don’t believe it!”
I said, “Jim, I would never try to trick you or play this kind of a prank. I told you this fucking place is haunted!”
He said, “I don’t believe you! You guys are trying to trick me and I don’t like it.”
He and I walked back over to my office together and he said, “I’m not sticking around here for this horseshit you guys are playing I’m going home!” He gathered up his belongings and left right then and there.
I told the general manager that when we went over there the office was locked, all the lights were off and there was nobody there. I asked him, “You heard it right?”
He responded, “Oh yeah I heard it, for sure…”
We sat there in total disbelief looking at each other and he said, “Dude, I think you’re right. This place is haunted.”:
All I could say was, “I told you so…”
Well there are a couple of witnesses to what may be paranormal, but what makes you think this is a nefarious entity? and why is it after you?
From that point, the activity ramped up. This ghost was gaining energy from the people it scared and it always liked to pick on me when I was there alone working by myself. I would be in the office early or late when nobody else was there and I would hear a loud bang as if somebody threw a baseball up against one of the wooden crates where we stored the customer’s goods.
Sometimes I would hear a loud crashing sound as if a freight shipment had collapsed and fallen on the floor but when I investigated I could find no evidence of any type of incident. Every once in a while it would play the old slamming door trick, but after that Saturday it began tampering with other doors throughout the facility. The more people who became aware of the situation the more this entity manifested itself to me in bigger and more frightening ways and it only did these activities when I was alone. It usually manifested when people were alone and most vulnerable. If there was a large group of people around it never made a peep. It really enjoyed frightening people, it drew energy from our fear. This spirit was angry and it liked to cause mischief.