Happy Friday! I wanted to share a quick scare to get you ready for the weekend. But first...
Postal workers have always been essential figures in American society and especially so during the pandemic. Unfortunately they are threatened by more than paranormal activity. They are at risk of losing their jobs and everyone is at risk of losing access to voting and cost-effective mail services. The USPS delivers so much beyond letters: life-saving medication, paychecks, census forms, and think of all the PPE materials delivered during the pandemic. Further, USPS is the only delivery service that reaches rural, remote, low-income and Indigenous communities. This is just a small glimpse at everything Americans will lose.
After enjoying some quick scares, please check out the links at the end of this post for ways to help save the USPS as they are in danger. That's the true scare.
Englewood, Chicago, Illinois
I'm going to cut to the chase: the Englewood Post Office is built over the site of H.H. Holmes' Murder Castle.
If you are not familiar with him, H.H. Holmes is considered the first serial killer in the United States. He built a large hotel and storefront on the corner of South Wallace and 63rd Street. The house was designed to confuse and disorient guests. Atlas Obscura writes:
"The house was designed as a death trap, with gas lines he could control to asphyxiate people in their sleep (or not) and chutes he would use to dump his victims unseen into the basement, where he would dissect them, sometimes selling their bodies to medical schools, sometimes just disposing of the evidence."
During the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, he took in many guests, robbing and murdering them. He confessed to murdering 27 people, but some believe it could be up to 200 people. There is some debate on validity of some of the Murder House details, but nevertheless murder leads to ghost stories.
Maintenance workers feel unease and have seen some weird sightings in the basement, where most of the bodies were dumped.
Aiken, South Carolina
While no longer a post office, this building with beautiful Jeffersonian classicism design in downtown Aiken is haunted by past postal employees. Two particular spirits are attached to this building.
According to legend, an old postmaster had a ladder in his office closet which led to secret passageways in the rafters. He would climb up each day to spy on his employees. I guess this practice continues in the afterlife as many people have heard movement in the closet and rafters, along with moaning and groaning.
A second legend tells of a postal worker who would climb on top of the building's rotunda each morning to raise the American flag. At the end of the day, he would go back up and lower it. On one raining day, the employee slipped and fell to his death. The flag pole was eventually moved to the street level. Employees have seen a figure of a man on top of the rotunda on rainy days.
Do not go into Jellico's post office after dark. While I can only back up this warning with some questionable internet stories, you might not want to take your chances. Alleged paranormal activity includes:
- The sound of people walking and talking upstairs.
- The apparitions of a woman and a tall dark man.
- Machines turning on by themselves. One witness watched as a stamp machine turned on and started shooting out stamps.
- Someone once put their letter into the mail slot and walked away, only to turn around and find their letter on the ground.
This ghost story is dated before the actual post office building, but it does involve mail delivery via dog sled.
Back in the day, mail could only be delivered to Marquette, Michigan during the winter by dogsled. The lakes froze over, making it impossible for ships to deliver mail. A dog sled would travel 180 miles from Green Bay, Wisconsin. As you can imagine, it was not an easy mail route.
According to legend, an always punctual mailman never showed up to his scheduled delivery. Unfortunately, the mail carrier and his dogs fell victim to a horrible blizzard. The search party found him frozen to death, one hand still on the sled's handle and the other wrapped around the whip. They left the frozen dogs in the forest and, after breaking off his hands at the thumbs, dragged his body (and mail) back to Marquette.
Dog sledding as mail delivery became a thing of the past, but sled races are still held in downtown Marquette in February. Many of the participants have reported seeing the mail carrier on the course. Someone even reported a voice saying, "Can you find them? Can you see them?" Them? The thumbs, of course.
Source: Tichelaar, Tyler R., Haunted Marquette: Ghost Stories from the Queen City. Marquette Fiction, 2017.
Now that I got your attention, might you consider helping the United States Post Office today? This Oprah Magazine article has a very helpful and easy list on ways you can help, which includes buying merchandise. I recommend these spooky stamps and tote bags!
Please note content may be updated/edited after publication.