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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Terrifying Revelations About Hauntings in City Hall

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Feature: Arson

click to enlarge Our guide in the spookiest room in City Hall--  the Board of Supervisors main chamber!
  • Our guide in the spookiest room in City Hall-- the Board of Supervisors main chamber!
City Hall is haunted. Not just by measures that have died within its chambers, but by actual spooks -- or so claimed our robed tour guide last night. The guy with the Snuggie shepherded a large group of gawkers on a "ghost walk" of the building as part of the City Guides Walking Tour series. The fount of knowledge was decked out druid-style, and armed with a binder that read "Book of the Dead" on one side and "Kabbalah for Dummies" on the other. Perhaps the latter was left over from a previous walking tour (or maybe even a previous incarnation)?

 Attendees knew they were in for a hair-raising time when they were handed a scrap of paper with a long list of illnesses that might be exacerbated by the walk. Listed alongside maladies like angina and colic were pre- and post- menstrual syndrome. "But aren't all women either pre- or post-menstrual?" My friend shrewdly pointed out. We decided to take the risk.

City Hall, it turns out, is built on the site of an old cemetery. During its construction, the bones were disinterred and transported to Colma. All of this was done somewhat unceremoniously, according to our guide, as bones are unearthed whenever new construction projects are initiated in the area. In addition to the owners of the shafted bones, it was speculated that the ghosts of persons killed within the building also roamed the marble corridors.
click to enlarge Was Supervisor David Campos working late...or was it a GHOST???
  • Was Supervisor David Campos working late...or was it a GHOST???

Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk immediately spring to
mind, but others met their demise at City Hall as well. In 1960, a disgruntled man attended his annulment hearing while packing a gun and proceeded to shoot his wife, her lawyer, and then himself. The wife and lawyer survived; the gunman did not.

The grisly manner in which the spirits died apparently hasn't affected the nature of the hauntings. City Hall ghosts appear to be mild nuisances who bother custodians trying to go about their nighttime labor. They whisper people's names, turn lights on and off, run their fingers through people's hair (attempting this parlor trick on Mayor Gavin Newsom may result in the one instance of a ghost getting slimed) and set off metal detectors. One 1924 daytime haunting consisted of a series of "rappings" on the walls that continued for half a year. A séance was held in the month of October with no immediate results.

Well, that's City Hall for you. Perhaps the phantasms were stuck in committee?

Years ago, a visiting psychic detected an environmental disturbance outside Newsom's office. It was described as a "great void" and "emptiness" that "drained energy." While it has been suggested that this is due to the fact that Harvey Milk's office was not far off, we'll let you draw your own terrifying conclusions.

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Andy Wright

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