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The Lay-away Ghost


I recently read a story on this site about an experience somebody had with a ghost in Wal-mart. This made me think of an experience that I have had with a ghost in a department store so I thought I would share my story.

I live in Australia, and funnily enough the chain of department stores I am referring to are very similar to Wal-Mart. In Australia the department stores are called "Big W". I worked for the company for almost 15 years and moved around various stores in that time. All stores had their own reputed ghost stories but it is from the first store that I worked in that I had my own personal experience.

Not long after starting work in this store I was assigned to the Lay-By department. I think in America (and I apologise if I am wrong, trust us Aussies to have a different name for everything!) it is referred to as Lay-Away. Basically where your goods are stored and you pay them off gradually. At the time I mostly covered the afternoon shift which meant I was responsible for locking up and turning off the lights ect. During the week I shared the role with another girl who did the morning shifts. We were the two main weekly employees, the weekends were covered by casuals.

The Lay-By area was on two levels. To reach the second level you had to climb two flights of stairs. Small parcels were stored on the first level, big items stored on the second. The only way to gain access the top level was to climb the two flights of stairs, there was no other way to gain entry. Each level had rows of metal bays where the parcels were stored.

It was the second level that was the most bothersome. From the first day I set foot into that area it basically gave me the creeps. The hairs on the back of my neck would stand up every time I had to go up there. I would constantly see black shadows out of the corner of my eye and when I would turn nothing would be there. The atmosphere just did not seem right. If I had to put away or retrieve a parcel I would literally run. The feeling to get out was overwhelming at times. I would dread having to climb the stairs when I had to close to turn off the upstairs lights because your back would be turned to the darkness.

On one occassion I turned off the lights and started to make my hasty retreat down the stairs and I felt something grab my shoulder. I actually felt a thumb digging into my shoulderblade and I yelped. I was terrified and quickly made my way out of the department. I didn't even lock up properly I was that scared.

Christmas time was soon approaching and the lay-by department was getting busier. The morning girl and I started working all day and we had another girl come in as well. On one day the two other girls stayed at the front counter serving the constant stream of customers while I stayed out the back wrapping and putting away the parcels. I was avoiding going upstairs at all costs but I soon had a big pile of large parcels that needed to be put away. I started taking a few at a time and leaving them in a pile at the top of the stairs against the wall hoping when it got a bit quieter the other girls could come up and help so I wouldn't be alone.

Upon my third trip up I was nearly at the top and I stopped dead in my tracks. The pile of parcels that was leaning against the wall only minutes before was spread out in a single line going down one of the ailses. I tried to reason that perhaps the pile had toppled over but the parcels were placed quite neatly in an almost straight line. I freaked out and went and grabbed one of the girls to come and see. She initally thought I was kidding around but saw the look on my face and realised I wasnt. It was definately only us three girls there at the time. If anyone had gone upstairs I would have seen them as I was wrapping parcels. All three of us ended up putting the parcels away later that day as none of us wanted to be up there alone.

A few weeks later it was starting to get really hectic and all three of us were at the front counter serving customers. Everybody was starting to collect their lay-bys and there was no choice but to venture onto the second level by yourself if you had to collect a large parcel. I had a large order to collect and all parcels were on the second level. One girl was on lunch, the other still serving at the counter. I went upstairs and headed towards the back bays feeling aprehensive as usual. Something caught my atention at the end of an ailse and I looked to see a little blonde girl disapearing around the corner. Her hair was in a long pony tail and I distictly saw her ponytail flick around the corner. I hastily retrieved the customers parcels and went on my lunch break scared out of my wits!

One of the casual employees came in the next Monday morning to say that over the weekend he had been upstairs on three seperate ocassions where he had found the same lay-by parcel opened and the contents (funnily enough it contained toys) spread accross the floor. He initally thought the parcel was not wrapped up properly and the sticky tape had come undone. He re-wrapped this parcel twice, on the second occasion using a heap of sticky tape and placing it on a bottom shelf so it could not fall off. When he discovered it the third time opened, he swore he saw a little blonde girl with her hair in a ponytail peeking around the corner of the bay and she quickly disappeared. I had not told any of the casual staff of my experince the week before.

Not long after Chrismas I started a new position within the store. Needless to say I was relieved that I never had to venture up those stairs again to turn off the light at the end of the day!

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, shellzy, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

geetha50 (15 stories) (986 posts)
12 years ago (2012-07-03)
My theory is that there is more than one spirit there. The blond girl who loves the toys and I don't think she is the uncomfortable one. The second is really creepy. My guess is that he or she might have been an employee and had died an horrible death or maybe a worker from the farm that stood there before and he doesn't like it that a store is there now.
creepydog (3 stories) (71 posts)
12 years ago (2012-04-27)
I really feel that this case is worth digging into. If the girl's presence seemed scary to you you should look into it. But if it was a pretty chill, yeah whatever experience you can just shrug it off. Don't ignore her though. She is more likely to bug you if you don't pay any attention to it. 😉 😉 😉
DARKNESS (3 stories) (2022 posts)
12 years ago (2012-02-01)
Shellzy: Loved the story, coming from Australia myself and knowing Big W well, I found it quite interesting. There seems to be some history in the building or the land that it is situated on, would be great to get to the bottom of it!

I gather this is located on the east coast am I correct? Great that this has been witnessed by others aswell no doubt made you feel a lot better!😊 Like Javelina has already mentioned I love hearing about workplace hauntings aswell. Look forward to hearing more from you.

Thanks for sharing

Petersspirit (4 stories) (144 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-31)
Hey shellzy,

It is kind of spooky and at the same time funny thinking that this kid is relentlessly trying to get to the toys... It seems that moving them out of the box is like a game on its own she was playing with you while you were working there and still plays with those, probely, working there today. Much tenjoyed reading your post.

aussiedaz (19 stories) (1565 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-31)
Shellzy, no imagination factors here mate, I think the validation from your co worker secured that... I sometimes wonder what they think when there around us, I feel some ghost don't fully comprehend the apprehension we feel when there in the same room... As I don't believe it was this girls intention to frighten you... A little like the movie the 6th sense and how the boy was so terrified until the end of the movie when he finally come to terms with his gift... Still, I can fully understand how this experience gave you the creeps... Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed your story... 😁
mysterPOO (63 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-31)
It was really a good time past reading your story... Thank you for posting...
Kryodrache (3 stories) (108 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-30)
Haha yup... I was the one who wrote about the Wal-Mart ghost. I find it interesting how the parcels were lined up like so, even though the ghost was apparently a young kid. Maybe there were two, and the girl was the only one you saw? She seemed to have an interest in the toys... Maybe she was out shopping! 😆
anneke8 (10 stories) (274 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-30)
Here in South Africa it's also calles a Lay-by. Shellzy, what do you mean the centre has a sordid history when being build? Was there someone killed perhaps? Interesting story!
shellzy (8 stories) (218 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-30)
Thanks for everyone's comments

Zzsgranny - you are correct! We do have Woolworths here which is a grocery chain 😊.

HappySpirit - I don't think it was the little girl either that grabbed me. I felt it was more likely to be the spirit that gave me the "get out now!" feeling!

Argette - The Shopping Center was built in 1973 and before that stood farming land. There was a department store (called Venture) that was there before Big W. I think Venture went broke and Big W moved into the store space in 1996.

Creepydog - I'm not sure exactly what toys were in the parcel, most likely whatever the current fad was at the time! I wish now that I had taken note of what was in the parcel as it could have given some more indication of her age. I felt the girl was about 5-6 years old and the casual employee thought about the same. I really only saw the back of her and distictly remember her long blonde ponytail. Funnily enough her blonde ponytail is what stood out most to the casual employee too!

Kalli_psy90 - It was quite freaky and as I said I hated being there alone at closing time! Personally I never heard much although others reported hearing footsteps at odd times. I mainly had that omnious feeling to get out. As I said I used to literally run the feeling was sometimes so intense.

Jav - Yep It is totally creepy to have stuff moved around on you when you 100% know that is not how you left it! The parcels looked like they were carefully placed in a straight line and spaced apart. If they had have fallen they would have scattered everywhere! Actually I worked in a different Big W store a few years later that also played host to some ghosties. The shopping centre itself had a sordid history while being built and the land it was built on was once an old boys orphange/school.
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-29)
First, I have to say that I am a sucker for the workplace ghost experiences. I've had a couple of my own as well.
It is creepy as heck when they move stuff, and even worse when they make it so obvious. But once you get past the creep factor you have to admit that it is preety cool. I mean, it's a shock to catch a glimpse of them running around a corner, but it's a clear validation of their presence when they move things. And to set those things up in a pattern like that is another telling sign. It isn't like someone accidentally kicked them or anything, correct? And besides, you stated that no one could have gone up there without having to go past you.
Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

Jav 😊
Kalli_psy90 (1 stories) (55 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-29)
Wow that is really scary I'm sorry you had to work in such a freaky place. I'm curious to know how old she looked as well and what kind of toys there were. I hate that feeling that literally has you running and I'm sure that made it very hard to work. Did you ever hear anything or try to tell whatever it was to stop?
Thanks for you story, ❤ Kalli
creepydog (3 stories) (71 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-29)
Oh yeah... I get it! Thats a scary one. A little blonde girl... How old did she look? She could have been playing with the toys! What toys were there?
Argette (guest)
12 years ago (2012-01-29)
I agree with Granny and Happy: What a charming story! I believe it, too, having experienced such things in the past. I have never felt any ghostly grabs or touches, though.

Shellzy, do you know anything of the building's past?
HappySpirit (187 posts)
12 years ago (2012-01-29)
What a great story! Actually I like lay-by better than lay-away. Trust the Aussie's to have a cuter name!

Anyway, it sounds like there's more than one ghost in there; I doubt the little girl dug her thumb into your shoulder blade and depending upon how young she was and/or how tall you are, probably couldn't reach it. The other ghost (s) don't sound friendly. I'd be interested to hear the history of the building or geographic area.
zzsgranny (18 stories) (3329 posts) mod
12 years ago (2012-01-29)
Shellzy: You're right, it's called lay-away here... And the chain "Big-W" I believe is owned by Woolworth, which here is a department store, but in Australia is a grocery chain?...Do I have that right? 😆...

It must have been creepy to have your experience validated by a co-worker, but a relief, too!...At least you know you're not altogether cracked! 😆

Very enjoyable read, thank you for posting! ❤

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